TUNISIA ARRIVAL

We have anchored in Tunis city 1,5 hours ahead of schedule. We were so happy that we will be able to leave the harbor before sunset. Well, we were so wrong. Already ship off-loading took some time, then we went through smooth passport control (they took our arrival cards and stamped car and scooter registrations) and then the problems have started. First, some ununiformed man invited us into the immigration office, where they asked us again, why we want to enter Tunisia. After some friendly chat with another 4 officers, we were released to the customs area. There they forced us into the wrong lane so we did hit the lights under the roof and damaged a few of them – well, their mistake! Then a group of customs officers, some uniformed and some ununiformed, did the first search of the truck (not really deep search, they just wanted to open a few doors and cabinets). Same time another group of ununiformed officers was filling some declaration forms. They were doing it repeatedly several times without any reason. They always took our passports and truck documents, then they have released us and then the other officers stopped us. Some were saying that we could not enter Tunisia, others were saying it is ok to enter. Some offered us to leave the truck there and use our scooter to go around Tunisia (crazy right?). Some higher officers occasionally showed up for some little search and chat. Then we were usually again filling up the same papers. To make the story short, we were busy like that for 4 hours without any break, in the end, they did accept our Carnets du Passage and other documents and we have got all stamps and declarations. At the exit gate, they charged us also penalty 140 TND for breaking the lights (funny to pay for their fault). We did not have any local currency, but luckily there are 3 banks located just next to custom offices. We have changed 100 USD (1 USD = 2,815 TND), paid the penalty, and left these horrible buildings behind. That time was already dark and of course, all shops closed, so we could not change money or buy a sim card or fill up our tank with diesel (later we found out, that many gasoline stations do accept only cash). And on top of that after a few minutes of driving, we got hit from the back by some speedy Porsche car (of course he did not stop). Since our damages were little, we have left also and after another 15 minutes of drive we have arrived totally exhausted in quiet and safe Sidi Bou Said marina (toilet in the marina, 24/7, 1 TND). We took dinner and few beers in nice El Pirate restaurant (huge selection of meats and salad for two – 80 TND, a half-liter of draught Celtia beer – 5 TND).

Sidi Bou Said – parking location: 36.867469N 10.349877E