The Sidi

All over Tunis, there are areas and monuments beginning with ‘Sidi’. Today I learned that each one of these men and women are mukarameen. They were former residents of the area, who would serve serve serve the people (without asking for monetary benefit). Basically, they did good for the sake of doing good, and they were known for so doing by the community. People today still visit their places of rest to read Al-Fati7a and to make prayers.

Sidi Bou Saïd is the most famous of such places; Sidi meaning Saint, though not meant in the same way as Sainthood in the Christian sense, but rather used as an extremely respectful way to address someone whose moral compass ain’t pointin’ South.

We began our day with a traditional Tunisian breakfast in the park surrounding the area at the foot of Sidi Bou Saïd, and here’s what I can confirm about Tunisian breakfasts – it’s all sugar based. I have a preference for savory breakfasts and so tasted a little bit of everything and then sealed my breakfast with an olive. My favourite item was the second row from the bottom, third item from the right – it is that fried flatbread you see, crumbled, mixed with butter, rose-water syrup, and nuts. A couple of fork-fulls and you’re done.

Properly watered and fuelled, we spent the rest of the day walking around Sidi Bou Saïd, where we had coffee at Café des Délices (Sidi Bou Said 2026) and I wanted to very very seriously lay down and nap. The weather today was gorgeous, and the only sound we heard (because it is a weekday and this is not tourist season) was wind in trees and birds.

By the way, I am in this photo drinking what I mentioned yesterday – Turkish coffee with a splash of rose-water. I am properly addicted. How will I ever carry this in a mug, en route to work, in Canada? I think…and I cannot believe I am about to admit to this, but I think that I am even completely on board with the smaller servings of coffee.

After walking and Turkish coffeeing, we went to the Jewish neighbourhood for dinner. Apart from serving us four different starter salads, wonderfully spicy octopus soup (tomato based, with freekah, fried onion, and chickpea), and each a brik (a thin envelope made of pastry, stuffed with an egg, parsley, onion, and potatoe, then perfectly deep fried so that every part of the egg but for the yolk is cooked), they gave us one full sea bass, and french fries to complete gluttony. All of this was served with a basket with no less than three entire baguettes inside of it. Honestly. I am measuring my waist every morning in this country. AlhamduliLah.

Note to anyone visiting Tunis – if you are looking for posh restaurants, you will find them. They will be filled with inauthentic cuisine, all flavours watered to suit a broader pallet. Do yourself a favour by just not doing it. Hit the streets, look for outdoor seats, and plastic baguette baskets (like the top left corner of the below photo); inside, it’s usually mommas cooking. You will not be disappointed. Trust.

Today, I am grateful for:
1. Returning to a land of bidets. While we have a different challenge here in public toilets – no toilet seat for you! – I am pleased to have…a…Muslim ass again. I mean. I don’t know how else to write it. Go Team!
2. Eggs whose yolk is a deep shade of orange. Because they taste so much better, and because this means that the chickens are fed plant greens rather than garbage. (Reference: The Science.)
3. Organic farming, the only kind in Tunisia. Every single thing just tastes better here, and I hope that this country remains untouched by capitalist-driven agriculture. STAY GOOD, TUNIS! ❤🤞🏼

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