You try your darnedest not to stereotype but are then presented with a scene that is categorically undeniable: a small army of camera-wielding Japanese tourists hell bent on getting the perfect shot. Upon arriving at the viewing area the only significant sound was a relentless barrage of shutter clicks. I had all I could do not to turn around and begin photographing them. I was unable to stifle a smile as we crossed the front line between the assault squad and their subject: Two Tunisian men leading a line of camels back and forth for the sole purpose of providing an iconic 'sunset camel silhouette' image for Team Japan. If my estimate is correct I believe each member of the team took 1.7 million photos on cameras worth more than my life. If that is not enough the Dutch fellows informed us that the day before this same group committed blatant acts of cultural insensitivity by chasing locals (notably women) down the street in order to get a picture…sans permission. Can you say 'Go F yourselves' in Arabic?
Deciding that we missed out on a worthwhile experience Leslie and I made our way back to the area overlooking Mos Espa the following evening to check out the sunset. It turned out to be an endurance test for the Punto. There is a road leading to the Star Wars set that was built by the movie crew strictly for the convenience of the enterprise. It is in a state of disrepair but I thought it was smooth enough to unleash Punto Power. What I had not accounted for was the superior suspension and handling of the Landcruiser we'd arrived in the previous day. The road is a basically a sand version of corrugated metal. I came close to turning around as I thought the Punto (and my testicles) might rattle apart. My balls persevered. So did the Punto. I think our Punto is the limited Mutha Fucka edition. You want one. Do not underestimate the power of the Punto....or the Dark Side of The Force.
After engaging in a bit of sandbox acrobatics (and filling every crevice of my body with grit) we relaxed upon a dune to sip Tunisian wine, curse our driver from the previous evening for depriving us of this moment, and sing the Punto's praises. This may have been a bit premature as we had yet to return, however, we did manage to arrive in Tozeur intact. It was a good day. No, it was a great day.
|Apparently, exploding buses are a real and present danger in Tozeur.|