Thursday, February 14, 2008
After knotting the carpets, we were invited to sit on low carved benches, and were served sweet mint tea. The shop owner then taught us all about the carpets, the different qualities, etc with the help and two assistants that rolled out the carpets, rolled one in a ball, stamped on it, and rolled it out again to demonstrate how it didn't crease. I was so very tempted to buy a carpet for
my non-existent house, but bravely resisted and walked out.
These carpets are the most amazing things. Each tiny little part is handknotted by these girls who work for up to two years for one 20x20 carpet, with memory to guide them for patterns. Their skill, patience, and dedication is really admirable. They invited each of the ladies to learn to make a knot in the carpet, which was really neat. One loom had a silk carpet, the other a wool carpet.
The hotel offered excursions throughout the week, and one day I went to visit the Nabeul marketplace and see how the famous carpets were made. First they took us to the rooftop to have a look down on the city...By the way, this is pretty much one of the only picture I have of myself in Tunisia, as the guide insisted on taking each person's picture(which was nice).
The resort I stayed at was right on the beach, just in between the towns of Hammamet and Nabeul, about an hour from the capital, Tunis. They sent a big bus to the airport, and greeted us at the hotel with sugary cocktails and live music. It was such a cool change from dreary, gray Paris, all sun, palm trees, and cool, high, white buildings. I loved my room, as it had a view of the ocean, a big balcony, and a big deep tub. The pictures don't really do it justice, but anyways, it was a nice place to stay.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I counted down to the new year with thousands of others on the Champs d'Elysees, then walked down to the Place de la Concorde(where Marie Antoinette and many others were executed during the Revolution)which was jammed with people. nicely lit up, and littered with empty Champagne bottles.
I had an amazing trip up the Eiffel Tower on New Years Eve. I arrived at 6ish and stood at the base along with thousands of others hoping to go up that night. The line was so long(in December! I hate to imagine the high season) and I waited at least 45 minutes in line without getting more than a few feet ahead. A couple comes up and asks if I'm alone, and then offer me a free ticket to the top, as they had won free passes and had an extra, and asked me to come along with them. Very cool. Being a VIP ticket, we cut the lines and went straight up. Made for a nice suprise. Sorry about the same shots above...