Posts Tagged “blue”
Posted by: Lydia in Tunisia, World Heritage, tags: Africa, Baby, beach, blue, markets, sand, white, winter, world heritage
When searching for a winter getaway, we had four main criteria:
- New Country
- Kid’s club for toddlers
Looking at our options, it appeared that Sousse, Tunisia was our best choice. It also had the following perks:
- Direct flight under 3 hours
- Within 90 minutes of 5 world-heritage sites
The day before we left, I quickly scanned the web to make sure that I had everything covered. Smartraveller.gov.au had given the country a yellow light (the same level as Mexico, Costa Rica, and India), no major incidents in the news, and Brussels airport was looking snow free. Though when I checked that no visa was required for UK and Australian citizens, I started to panic. I couldn’t believe that I had been so cavalier as to not check this earlier.
Having previously teased JT about not checking if he needed visa to Australia, and Adrian for Romania, I was now facing the same crisis myself. The Tunisian embassy was already closed for the week, so I had to do some quick googling to try to come up with a last minute solution. Most official websites stated that a visa must be obtained well in advance, but someone called BigBurp claimed in a 2010 web forum that Australians and South Africans were able to get a visa on arrival at Tunis airport, as long as they were able to pay in Tunisian Dinar. It wasn’t much to go on, but I exchanged some cash in Brussels and the next day boarded the plane with my fingers crossed. I had visions of Adrian using his UK passport to spend a week in our pre-paid hotel room by the beach, while Hayden and I were cooped up in our small apartment in rainy Brussels. However, a very friendly team of officials at Tunis airport happily created tourist visas on the spot, and we passed smoothly through immigration before our luggage trundled down the conveyor belt. I was so grateful for this stroke of luck that I promised myself I wasn’t allowed to complain about anything for the rest of the trip, and I would be much more careful about checking visa requirements in the future.
Indeed, it was a terrific holiday. For the first couple of days I did very little apart from send Hayden to the kids club and then nap, read, and relax at the spa. Mid way through our break I had regained some vigor, so we spent the remainder of our time visiting the World Heritage Medina of Sousse, city of Kairouan, Amphitheatre of El Jem, Archeological Site of Carthage, and the Medina of Tunis.
Hayden seemed to enjoy his first time in Africa – playing soccer, climbing up the stairs, eating sand, throwing food off the balcony (“uh oh”), waving to everyone, refusing vegetables, and indulging in the many treats brought to him by the waiters. Having a kids club made things so much easier for us; it was fantastic to be able to take a complete break for a few hours each day and then spend some quality time together. It was a fitting way to end the year and return to Brussels filled with sunshine and renewed energy for 2013.
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We have now had over a week to adjust to living with our new kittens. When we visited the breeder, we noticed that the kittens did not like to be held, hid as soon as they were placed on the floor, and that the mother cat hissed when approached. It seems that the breeder did not handle or socialise her kittens at all, which meant that we have had to start from scratch.
At the beginning of the week, the kittens would hiss at us and flee whenever we approached. They spent all their time hiding underneath the filing cabinet or inside the mop bucket. They would not eat in front of us, and would only come out at night.
After a week of attention, they will now creep out from underneath the couches and approach us to eat or to play with a toy on a wire. They are still terrified of human hands, and will hiss and back away if any fingers come close. Every day they are getting braver, but it is going to take them a long time to learn that hands bring joy and not distress. Still, they are already a delight to watch. When they are sleepy they curl up with each other, and when they are playful they chase each other around the room, and up and down the cat tree.
Pepper is the darker, sleeker and larger of the two sisters. She is generally braver, and spends most of her time watching us from the top of the cat tree. She can manage to get up, but she has difficulties climbing down again, and once even fell on her head. She really likes to play, and to catch toys that are dangled up in the air.
Mint is lighter, smaller, and fluffier – the runt of the litter. She has a rounded face with big eyes that often look surprised and alarmed. She is constantly finding new hiding places and I never know where I am going to find her. She is the more agile of the two, and may sometimes run after toys if we move them across the floor. Despite her cautious nature, she is usually the first one to the food in the mornings.
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Over the weekend we brought home our little 12-week-old Chartreux kittens. Two sisters, although one is darker with pale tabby stripes, and the other is a lighter grey. They are still very timid, and spent most of the weekend hiding underneath the filing cabinet. They will now eat in front of me (they go crazy for sachets of Hill’s tender tuna), and nervously sniff us, but are still very shy. At night we hear them exploring the apartment, and this morning I saw one of them on the cat tree before I scared her off.
Names? The shortlist is getting shorter, but no final decisions yet.
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Even though Adrian would love a couple of Saint Bernards or Dachshunds he has compromised by giving me exactly what I want – two little kittens. I am super excited. I now have four large boxes from the ever-generous Internet that contain all the food and equipment to make our house cat friendly, including a kitty back-pack to bring them home on the train. As they will be living on the 11th floor, they will not have access to any actual trees, but I hope that this structure will suffice:
Image from zooplus
I am in contact with a Chartreux breeder near Charleroi using Google Translate as my intermediary. If Google is correct, the breeder has two female kittens who are currently nine weeks old, and we can go and pick them up in three weeks and bring them home. I may be visiting them this weekend to make my reservation. So now Adrian and I are currently working on potential cat names. He has vetoed names derived from television or movies, and technically Chartreux kittens born in 2009 should start their names with ‘E’. The naming of cats is a difficult matter. This is my current list:
Blauwe Kat and Kattebelletje
Pepper and Mint
Socks and Mittens
Misha-Penguin and Misha-non-Penguin
Hopscotch and Peppermint Whiskers
Moppet and Mittens
Smudge and Sage
Pickles and Pattycakes
Dot and Dash
Hocus and Pocus
Buttercup and Daisy
Midge and Middles
Medley and Mopsy
Bubbles and Buttons
Puddles and Pumpkin
Stardust and Teapot
We haven’t seen our little ones yet, but they should look something like this:
Images from annonces-animalieres
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