We woke in our ksar, and I walked down to the main street in search of bread and a few other bits and pieces — I ended up with three crisp, fresh baguettes, which we set upon eagerly with Saïd chocolate spread, honey and jam.
I filled up our freshwater tank and said farewell to our friend who showed us around the other day, and who suggested a petrol station towards Medenine for emptying our grey water tank. We drove out and proceeded to get many, many blank looks while trying to explain that we were looking for somewhere to empty our grey water. We descended into absurdity for half an hour before we gave it up as a lost cause and decided to drive on towards Douz.
Our drive took us up through a rather spectacular mountain range with some great views over the surrounding lowlands; the horizontal marks on the lower hills made the surrounding countryside look like a topological map of itself. We passed through some ancient villages, clinging to the hillsides and after passing through the town of Matmata, down onto the plains again.
The low scrubby countryside became increasingly sandy and we had to pull over to take some pictures of the awesome ripple patterns in the sand.
Just a little further down the road, we passed these guys:
We pulled over for lunch just outside of Douz, just to hang around in the tranquil desert for a while before we hit the town. We were surprised by a knock at the door — I opened it to reveal a very strange young man staring up blankly. He murmured something incomprehensible, which turned out to be a request for cigarettes, then whiskey when I announced that we didn’t smoke. When I told him all we drank was water, coffee and tea, he stood in silence for a long moment, not responding when I asked how I could help — very odd. Then, after a minute or two he asked for water (we obliged), and wandered off into the desert.
Our strange new friend returned a few minutes later, to stand once again staring up at me for a while. He invited me over to see his donkey when I gestured towards it and asked if it was his, and I shrugged and joined him. Katherine rolled her eyes in exasperation that I would follow a weird stranger who asks for whiskey into the desert, and proceeded to regularly cast nervous glances outside to see if he’d stabbed me yet. Instead, he indicated a desire to exchange phone numbers, which we did (that will be an interesting phone conversation…), before he wandered off once more.
So, we drove on into Douz, and found the Douz Camping Club by guesswork, among a quite pretty stand of palm trees.
I asked if they had a place to empty grey water, and managed to be understood on the second attempt (phew!), only to be told there were no such facilities and to just let it out on the road outside! That was a long way to transport 100 litres of grey water for no reason…I guess Tunisia has a different attitude towards waste disposal!
We met a very lovely German couple, Birgit and Dieter, who remarked that we had been following them — apparently, they had stayed a night in Hammamet while we were there too, and were in fact the ones who were parked right behind us when the place was completely full!
So, we settled in amongst the palm trees, planning a “day off” tomorrow.