A Visit to Hammamat
Hammamat is a beautiful town on Cap Bon of Tunis, about an hour south of Tunis. Hammamat has a reputation as the "resort town" of Tunis, so we thought that it would be a lovely trip to see some beaches and see an old Kasbah (fort).
To be honest, Hammamat in November is a bit like the deserted New Jersey shore in winter -- it felt a bit deserted when we visited and stayed in the resorts, which were clearly meant to be filled up with tourists.
One of the most interesting things I noticed about Hammamat was simply the ubiquity of "tourist culture" -- why is tourist culture always involve straw umbrella huts? I just don't think that a thatched umbrella hut has anything to do with "traditional" Tunisian culture -- but they were all over the resorts in Hammamat. As were tourist guides, trying to get you to ride a camel or horse on the beach.
Hammamat has a lovely, though small, old medina, which reminds me very much of my time in the Oudayas in Rabat, which is where I lived more than a year in 2007-2008. I loved my experience in Morocco, so it was so interesting to walk through a little town that reminded me so much of the same place, but in a completely different country. There is something very interesting and somewhat strange about the fact that parts of Tunisia and Morocco look so similar, even though when you think about it, there are vast differences as well -- most of Morocco is on the Atlantic after all, while the best parts of Tunisia are on the Mediterranean. Also, the whole Ottoman empire really left its effect on Tunisia, while the Ottomans never made it to Morocco. French colonization means that both have these old medina cum nouvelle ville looks in major cities, which is just so lovely.
Tunisia is also a spectactularly beautiful country for photographers. Hammamat did not disappoint -- walking on the beach at sunset was really delightful, as I captured some beautiful shots of fishing boats (these are still in use in the daytime!), as fishermen go out to catch their fish for the day.