Sam woke up feeling a bit more fresh this morning and less land leggy – always a good thing! Whilst waking up we made a conscious decision to try and sort out how to cross Libya and get up to date with the on goings. At breakky and during packing up the bike we made a few calls and manage to speak to a family friend based in Tripoli. The news seemed fairly grim from Benghazi onwards but they were confident that we could easily enter Tripoli without any issues and then perhaps conceive a plan from there. We also discovered that our friend has a cousin (Nabil) based in Sfax and we were told to hang fire as he would come meet with us.
We meet with Nabil (an incredibly jolly taxi driver) and a few hours later find ourselves in his home with his wife (Hazar) and family, in their traditional arabic seating room eating arabic and tunisian sweets and fresh fruit from their garden. Nabil speaks limited English but is fluent in both Arabic and French, meaning Sam and I managed to communicate with not too much problem! Nabil’s family live on the outskirts of the main city within a beautiful one story Mediterranean home. We were shown outside their garden full of fruit trees, jasmine bushes, chickens (all the way from Germany… they were GIGANTIC and came up to my waist! No joking!), canaries and a stunning American Mastiff guard dog. With the sun beaming it was absolutely gorgeous. Next door is his Brother and family, a pet shop owner in town, and within half a mile is his other immediate family (Sister and Mother). As the afternoon drew in and the schools emptied we met more and more of his family (nieces, nephews, Brothers and sons) until the house was bustling with family all chatting, joking and eating!
Come evening time we were kindly taken to a restaurant in town where we were treated to a traditional beef tomato dish and mutton chops as well as a Tunisian beer or two! It was all delicious! We chatted and laughed all evening, particularly cracking up when it was explained to us in a rather hilarious form of charades that Nabil’s niece (Fatma) and her husband (Saleem) wanted me to have a white baby for them! Haha! The funny thing too is that Saleem has seen us the day before riding around with the police and had wondered who we were and what we were doing! It seems we made quite an impact!
The next day Sam and I prepared ourselves for a trip to Tozeur. Sam filled up the bikes and to do so took one of Nabil’s motorbike crazy sons (Monji) on the back of the bike as a personal guide to the bank and petrol station. Naturally, this meant a detour round the whole city to many of Monji’s friends who all had rides and also his Uncles pet shop! Comically, we dressed Monji in all my motorbike gear so he was safe but he looked like a mini incredible hulk! So sweet! Hazar kindly gave me a beautiful headscarf for Libya and Nabil took me on a mini tour of Sfax when going to pick up his son! Such a loving and generous family!
Eventually though we had to get on our way and after many thanks and a wonderful lunch we hopped on our bikes and made our way.
We would like to thank Nabil, Hazar and family for being such wonderful generous people! We really hope they can one day visit us so we can repay their kindness but understand that a visa to UK for Tunisian people is almost impossible to get. Still, we have our fingers crossed and hope to see them in England on our return!