Tunisia--please don't cancel plans!

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Oct 3rd, 2001, 07:39 PM
  #1
Gina
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Tunisia--please don't cancel plans!

Hi all,

I was in Tunisia during the attack on the US (arrived on 9/10, scheduled to return on the 19th, which I did as planned), and having heard so many people comment on fears for my safety having been in an Islamic country, I thought I'd post here to assure anyone planning upcoming visits to Tunisia that they should GO!!!

Tunisia is one of the most welcoming countries I've ever visited. I've frequently said that if you spend a week in Tunisia and someone *doesn't* invite you into their home and feed you like you're the Prodigal Son, then you're obviously doing something wrong. Hospitality is hugely important to the Tunisians, and they are the most gracious hosts I've ever met.

Yes, Tunisia is almost 100% Islamic. (There are pockets of Jewish residents, primarily on the island of Djerba, and some Christian groups, but Islam is by far the predominant religion.) It is, however, also very moderate in its approach (the role of women, for example, while limited by U.S. standards is much more "modern" and emancipated than in most other Islamic countries), and the government sees itself as an ally of the U.S.

In the wake of 9/11, everyone I met was so kind to me when they found out I was from the U.S. (It's not immediately obvious to most--just as we couldn't tell different accents in Arabic, most Tunisians can't tell if my English is U.S. or British or Aussie accented.) They consoled me, asked if my family was all right, and universally talked about family and friends they had in the U.S. "My brother lives in New York...My sister is in Boston..." One hotel manager in Tabarka struggled to find words to express his sorrow, and finally said "Tell Americans...we are together." A young woman who worked in an Internet cafe in Bizerte begged me to help her find her American best friend, a young woman Air Force pilot who lived near NYC and who hadn't been responding to e-mails. (We found her, she's all right.)

Tunisia is a beautiful, fascinating country, full of kind and cultured and gracious people. If I had to be away from my loved ones during this time, I'm glad I was there...I couldn't have been treated better. So if anyone has upcoming trips to Tunisia planned, please, I urge you not to cancel. You'll have a wonderful time. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me--that's my real address up there.
 
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Oct 14th, 2001, 10:55 AM
  #2
Ursula
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Returned last night from Djerba Island, South Tunisia after a two weeks holiday. Everything went fine. Flew with Tunis Air from Zurich. No problem, but extended security checks. Same at Djerba Airport on way home.
People were great, friendly and did welcome tourists with all their kindness.
Sorry, for my being so short, but I am still there with my body and my heart. I am missing the people, the sun, the sandy beaches....

Gina, good to hear, you had a wonderful time as well.
 
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Oct 14th, 2001, 09:57 PM
  #3
chris
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Ursula,
Welcome home, I'm glad to hear your trip went well. But you did miss 2 really wonderful beautiful Fall sunny weeks here in Switzerland! We leave next Friday for Kenya.
 
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Oct 16th, 2001, 02:26 AM
  #4
Ursula
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Chris hello!

Yes, I heard the weather here was gorgeous too. But how should one really know when to go on holiday to avoid bad weather is one's own country. Anyway, I am happy to hear the sun in Switzerland has not disappeared... and it is still here!

Have a wonderful and safe trip to Kenya!
 
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Oct 27th, 2001, 03:04 PM
  #5
linnie
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I couldn't agree more with Gina.We visited Tunisia last March enjoying a desert tour and beach vacation at Hammamet.The country and people are all Gina said and more.The price of the vacation was extremely affordable and one can go from Canada for as little as $1299(Cdn.) for 21 days inc.meals,air and hotel with "World of Vacations".Enjoy something different!
 
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