But it is unlike most touristy shopping places in the world in that it is a crazy maze of century old alleyways. You feel like your in an Indian Jones movie and a Wal-mart all at the same time. There's people everywhere and merchandise filling every available space and it's colors and sounds and dozens of different languages being spoken. It's pretty cool. My new friend Denny (she's in my wee teeny tiny church unit. There are 10 of us - six adults and 4 kids - and we meet in the living room. It is awesome.) volunteered to come with me so we took the metro in (it just goes from the sea to downtown and back. Very small and rickety and old timey but it gets the job done.) and then we walk about a mile down the main avenue in Tunis, made a pit stop at this lovely old cathedral then made our way into the Medina.
(That's a bad picture, but just be grateful I remembered to pull my camera out. I had a bit of sensory overload)
The shopkeepers all sit outside their stores and try to lure you in. They call out hello in several different languages and one guy even started calling out English sounding names, "Hey, Elizabeth. Hello Sarah!" They will all tell you how beautiful your eyes are. It must work because every shop keeper said it, normally as I was walking away from a sale.
Speaking of which, I LOVE to bargain. Oh, it's fun. I love giving outrageously low offers and then the shopkeepers would roll their eyes and sigh and look slightly offended only to call out another offer as I'm walking out the door. I didn't buy anything because it's just my first week and I wanted to get a feel for what things are going for but it was great practice. Here's what I've learned about Tunisian shopkeepers - they're handsy. Oh, they love to touch you. They'll put their arm around you and grab your hand and kiss it and gently shove you in the direction of their shop and say, "You're eyes are beautiful. I love America! For America I give a special price. Everyone else - full price. But America, I give it away!" It took a little bit of time to get used to it and to work out a few evasive tactics but I managed. I could have used my nunchucks on a few of them and been completely justified.