‘privileged’

privileged, dictionary:
+ having advantages and opportunities that other people do not have
or
+ able or allowed to do things that other people have no opportunity to do

Visiting Downtown Bizerte, Tunisia

September 19, 2020

Sailing the world, living on a boat by choice, being where we want to be makes us sometimes feel privileged. This feeling evaporates over time, hence the word ‘sometimes’ and is ungrateful to our actual daily experience. Visiting the emerging country Tunisia reminded us, we were and are living privileged. It became even more tangible after visiting the town center and the old port of Bizerte. The night before we had our first dinner out since January (see picture below) in Bizerte. During the dinner we were thinking about how privileged our life is. We could always choose what we do and when.

Big Contrasts

Superyacht “Bold”

Shortly before we wandered out of the marina, a large luxury yacht docks in the marina. The military styled vessel named ‘Bold’ is 85 meters long and owned by a german entrepreneur. You can charter the yacht for 1 million a week. The vessel’s builder and designer dubbed it ‘fuel efficient’. This might be the case when compared to similar sized vessels. Soon 4 tanker trucks with 31,000 liter diesel each drove onto the pier to fill her up. Totaling 124,000 liters and still not full. (124000L equal 33000 US gallons). After that I felt a tad misled by the term ‘fuel efficient’. 
The contrast to the poor downtown soon after couldn’t be illustrated in a bigger way then by walking by a $100,000,000 luxury yacht.

Four trucks with 31000 liter each came to fill ‘er up

Market in downtown Bizerte

I like to photograph people. I like to make them look good on pictures and hope they like the outcome afterwards. This is a miserable combination for a real world photo representing life’s harsher realities. I really don’t like to hold a lens into the face of people in adverse situations – adverse for me, I must add. Bizerte’s market was so exotic, I couldn’t resist making photos. It didn’t matter what my subjective judgement of a good photo represents. Unhappy or happy, poor or good life, this was worth recording.

Offering local produce
Some are not so fortunate and cannot offer very much.

Bizerte Town

Bizerte Tunisia Downtown
Going by the buildings, the layout, the riverfront park, Bizerte must have had better times not so long ago

Let’s start the walk to the ‘Vieux Port’ (Old Harbor).

(Since we have seen only the Vieux Port ourselves, here is a good link to all the other interesting sites in Bizerte)

Yes, Tunisia is low income. GDP per capita is only $3500 per year. Don’t let this fool you away from visiting. The people here are welcoming you. They leave you space. They greet you friendly on the streets – unconditionally. There is no follow-up begging or that they know the best restaurant in town, a must visit specially for you. You know what I mean.

We went into the indoor fish market. Noisy, smelly, overwhelming. You don’t want to miss it. It was exotic for us. I have only one simple photo:

I made many photos, so I thought. I pressed the shutter button many times on the iPhone. But……., I held the phone the other way this time and pressed the ‘Off’ button probably 100 times 🙁
One photo only!

Phoenician styled Restaurant ship. Looked pretty cool.
Simple and good life on the old port pier.

Everyday Life

Bizerte Market Day

Selling Most Things You Can Imagine

Mopeds, my old love

Private transport is predominantly a bicycle, or a Moped. Since being a teenager I love Mopeds and ‘MoFas’ (slower Moped). They were our first freedom, allowing us to venture further without exhaustion and in comfort. MoFas needed no driver’s license. The minimum age was 15 and they had a top speed of 25km/h (16mph) had pedals which doubled as a starter and theoretically you could pedal them forward. They were cheap to run. I miss them.

Most Mopeds I saw here looked like they were from the 60s and 70s. 500cc bikes are king. I saw one!

Things which can be repaired are the right stuff

Around Old Port Bizerte

The blankets on the boats are for overnight fishing. We saw the smallest of boats going out overnight, having no engine and a very low freeboard.

The challenges of crossing the street. 

Practically all drivers ignore crosswalks, though they exist. If you are fully on the crosswalk and do not look at the driver, they stop. We guess the driver’s thinking must be ‘the person doesn’t see me, I better brake’. If you look, you better run.
Under no circumstances shall I be liable for any damages arising out of construing this statement  as useful information for crossing streets in Tunisia or anywhere else 🙂

She made it! Crossing the Straits of Gibraltar seemed less perilous.

Back at the boat. A night with thunderstorms. Feels good to be in port.