Are you getting a little tired of all these ancient ruins? I've almost exhausted all of them in the neighborhood so it may be the last of them until I actually go to Rome. Yep. I'm going to Rome! In November! With my BFF Cynde!!!!!!!! We're meeting up there and spending 6 days reenacting scenes from Roman Holiday.
Enough squealing. Back to the old stuff.
You have to pay to get into all the sites in Carthage but you just pay once and that gets you into all of them but just for one day. Well, I went yesterday to Byrsa and then the Great Flood of '010 happened and I couldn't go to any others so today I had to charm and pantomime my way in. Every time I got up to a new site and handed the guy my ticket with yesterday's date on it he would start speaking in Arabic and shaking his head and I would smile and act out the rain (spirit fingers in a downward motion) and the flooding (panicked face, hands going up to indicate water rising, swimming to safety) and then point to my watch wrist like, can you believe it, I didn't make it before that darn rain! and then shrug and smile again. They let me in everytime. I would reward their kindness with a jovial laugh and pat on the shoulder and a promise to behave and not pee on any ancient relics.
All that hard work got me into the Roman Theater.
Where I'm sure Ye Olde Roman High School Drama Department put on productions of Our Town and Grease. But today they were setting up for a different event.
Nope. Still don't want to see it. Even in such a cool place. I can't justify giving James Cameron my dollars or my dinars.
Next up was Tophet.
This is where the Phoenicians sacraficed thousands of wee babies. Oh, Days of Yore. You're so charming. With all your killing and stuff.
When you go to these places there are always a handful of tour guides trying to get you to pay them to take you around. I suppose it's worth it, if you like guided tours. I can't handle them. It goes back to the 4th grade when I went to the Natural History Museum on a field trip and all I wanted to do was see the dinosaur bones but the guide made us look at old pottery and arrowheads and even at the age of 9 I knew this was some sort of sick joke. I mean, the dinosaur was RIGHT THERE! And we're looking at ancient kitchen junk? I'm clearly not over this. Anyway. Guided tours. Lame. Especially when I can barely understand what they're saying to me. So I tend to ignore them. But this one guide would not be ignored. He kept following me around and telling me about dead babies and crushing up sprigs of lavendar and rubbing it on my hands and telling me, "This is the plant of the Emperor. You are now the Emperess!" Yes, I get it. Now either show me the dinosaur or shoo.
I got out of there with my a sprig of lavendar tucked behind my ear and enough Punic mud on my flip-flops (thanks, flood) to start my very own ancient ruins site and headed on over to the Punic Port.
This place is actually really cool. It's a man made port and circular canal that was used by the Phoenians and later the Romans for all the war and trade ships. There's an island in the middle with just a few ruins on it. But for some reason this water way geeks me out. My sister Gina's 6th grade class studies Carthage every year and when I found out about this place I got super excited to tell them about it. (I get to g-chat with them next month and be the expert on the ground. I'm a dork.)
The island was a muddy mess but it didn't stop me from roaming and checking out the ruins. And amid the ruins were no less than 50,000,000,000,000 giant black beetles that were easily twice the size of my big toe. EEEEK! I won't tell you what they were doing. Okay, I will. They were mating. Knights of Columbus! I wish I knew how to say, "Cover your eyes, kids! We've got some frisky beetles around here," in French to warn all the school children present. And the ones who weren't making babies were scuttling around at lighting speed. I was wearing capris (who says they're just for men?) with ties around the cuff and one of them was undone and it kept flopping against my ankle and it would give me a heart attack everytime because I thought for sure a beetle, or 30, had latched on to me. And I didn't want to stop to tie it for fear of that actually happening. So I just walked as fast as I could across the mud and made it out alive. Barely.
And now for a visual from your Dork on the Street in Carthage. Because I love a good map.