Unfortunately, Morocco had to take the blunt of our first experience of North African habits, but with the horrible abrasiveness of Marrakech behind us, we can pretty much handle anything that comes our way (until Egypt's relentlessness comes).

Bring on Tunis, Tunisia. Immediately off the plane, I was less intimidated than when we first entered Casablanca, and thankfully the people here seem much more mellow (or I am looking with new Moroccan-experienced eyes). Jake and I have also gotten a lot better with hagglers and know how to firmly stand our ground rather than feel bad and give in (they're very good at feigning a saddened outrage that you're offering such a low price and the sentimental in me just wants to give them anything they ask knowing my lot in life is probably a lot better on the average). So after figuring out the cheapo busses had stopped running for the evening, we had to bargain a taxi but in the end got exactly the price we meant to pay, which felt like a small victory and I'll take any at this point.

One reason for happiness in small victories was that Jake and I goofed on our way out of Morocco and really had it in our heads we were leaving on August 6th but our "eh, things will work out how they will" attitude prevented us from even checking our travel itinerary once since we made it and we had no idea which airline we were flying. We went to the airport the night before because Chef is a 6+ hr bus-ride and we would not have made it in the morning, so sleeping at the airport was our only option. On our way there Jake checked his saved screenshot of our ticket purchase and lo and behold, our flight was actually August 5th in the morning! We tried to fix the problem at 10pm when we got in the terminal, but we were just waved on to the next person every time we asked what to do and reassured we could just check in like usual the following morning. Morning came and we were not able to check in like we were told and instead had to pay 100 Euros EACH to change our flight. Not a price we were willing to fork over. My weak attempt at tears and frustration did nothing to sway them. So we're stuck hoping our travel insurance covers it, but I'm not hopeful for such luck.
Basically at this point, realizing more of these unwarranted surprises lurk ahead, I am willing to accept a plane ticket back home for mid december from Ethiopia if anyone is willing. I DO have a birthday approaching and I'll gladly take it as a birthday advance for several others if you want to combine it as a "This is your late 20's birthday gift and you'll get no more until you're the big 3-0." and then I'll accept getting my skydiving license paid for on my 30th bday. Sound like a plan friends and family? You can combine efforts...
Enough selling my soul for money... That can come later when I really do run out my last cent and have to whore myself out for a little bread and rice.


We like it here. We found the cheapest hostel lonely planet described and I'm sure there are others, but we feel safe and happy here, though the hot still air in the common room is enough to make us buy a fan for the next 3 nights we plan on staying here. Holy fucking hell. Lit'rilly. I've learned not to care much though, because if I can't change my predicament, I'm going to be miserable thinking about it and I've coped most of my life in that fashion. So here I sit, sweat pouring off me in buckets even though it's barely 90 degrees and I'm doing NOTHING and wearing the skimpiest dress I've ever adorned. It's alright though, I'm sure the staff appreciates the view, the host has been considerably nicer since....
The streets of the Medina are barren due to Ramadan and that has been a blessing. I wonder if we'd like it as much had we been here before Ramadan started and while the answer is most obviously no, I think having Morocco under our belt allows us to still enjoy our time here much more regardless of the lack of people or not. The people just seem better with haggling (see below for the Saffron we prized) and not so abusive with your time and patience. The few people who have not let us be with a simple word really just talked to us for a few minutes then left on their business. In morocco those few minutes meant leading you to their store. Here, they just seem nice. It's very refreshing. 
Today, we decided to try more deep-fried sugar since they look slightly less gross than Morocco's version, and got a little carried away and ended up getting a small box with an assortment of them. The seller we chose viewed my exposed tattoos and proceeded to lure me inside the shop with a crinkle-cut french fry shaped sugar piece so he could look me all over. We started with my map and pointed to where Tunisia was and then was asked where we're from, then he pointed to all the places he "wished" to go, though without any English spoken, it remains open where that was my body part or the actual place in the world. After being shown off to all the surrounding shops (and embarrassed laughter from me and Jake), he let us go with a few extra sugar pieces as freebies.

Then we came across tubs of Saffron and wondered what their price was in the land of all things cheap. We meant to browse and think on it, but the man there, too, was a precious haggler and after getting the price down less than a third just from saying "no" (because we really didn't have money!) we gave in. I'll let you guess the price we paid, and if you're a saffron lover like myself, humor me with U.S. prices. 

So yeah, first impressions are positive. We're much more relaxed here. People don't bug us nearly as much. We're getting into the swing of Ramadan. And we're a lot better at immersing ourself into middle-east/north-african culture in general. The town isn't so pretty so far, but we're further than walking distance from the beach, so when we get our bearings and our schedule for our time here, we'll make that trip and I can update you on our findings. After my cousin's category medal ceremony in the olympics, we'll be heading south and hopefully to some couch surfing hookups. If not, we're scoping out a peninsula/island to spend the remainder of our time, hopefully reading books on the beach and getting some work done (the work part is mostly Jake, but I guess this blog counts as mine! Plus I get to play with all the best photo-manipulation programs on Jake's computer, fairly addictive).

Au revoir!
As a reminder, Amanda will be competing in the hammer throw which according to my schedule is 10am London time on August 8th (tomorrow!!) so keep an eye out. The medal ceremony takes place August 10th. 
**I didn't get to publish this in time for the above, but I did find her results and stuff online. I also found a Daily Press article with quotes from my grandma Trish in Hesperia. Pretty exciting!**

Also, how is everyone's August shaping up? It's my birthday month, so I'm always fairly fond of this time of year, even though I've never cared much about my birthday, I think it's a pretty cool month. Probably because I like heat so much... Whew got enough of that here that's for sure!
We'll get them in 2016!

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