ISSUE 14, July 2005

The King and the Craft
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Grand Master and Speech of the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech of the Pro First Grand Principle and Report of the Committee of General Purposes Grand Lodge dues: Message from the President of the Board of General Purposes
    Masonic Housing: Major changes Finance: Choosing an investment manager Travel: Tantalising Tunisia Goose and Gridiron: Historic Masonic unveiling Extravaganza: Hollywood comes to Grand Lodge Masonic Events: Day of Fun and Medical, University and Legal Lodges' Festival Education: Sheffield Masonic Library and Forthcoming events and The Entered Apprentice Specialist Lodges: Revving up to success and where eagles dare International: The horror of Phuket and Grand Charity team visit disaster area Library and Museum: Fraternal societies Masonic Charities: NMSF and RMBI and RMTGB and Grand Charity
Obituaries, Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Relaxing at a Thalassatherapy spa
Boats in the harbour at Port El Kantaoui


Tantalising Tunisia

Tunisia makes an ideal short break destination as it is only a two and a half hours flight from the South of England. While being very hot in the summer, it offers sunbathing weather in the spring and autumn, and several hours of sunshine in the winter.
    Its biggest drawback is that Arabic and French are their main languages, and outside the hotels people may only speak a smattering of English. However, the people are nice and friendly, and crime is taken quite seriously by the authorities so it is a comparatively safe place to visit.
    We stayed in Gammarth, one of the smarter suburbs in the north of Tunis, the capital, which is by the sea, and only a 30-minute taxi ride from the centre. Many of the hotels in this area provide a free shuttle service into town for their guests. However, if the times are not to your liking, then taking a taxi is really cheap, costing just a few pounds to get you into the centre of town.
    There is only one main street, with a rather grand mosque and the Medina, the old walled city originally built around 700 ad, at the end of it. Even if you are not a Muslim, you are permitted to enter the courtyard of the mosque.
    Within the old city are the covered markets (souks), a labyrinth of winding streets which have been designated a unesco World Heritage site. The souks – and there is usually one in every town you visit – are an ideal place to hunt for souvenirs and presents, although the quality of the merchandise is questionable.
    Bargaining is a ‘must’ as there is no set price for anything. The asking price is always loaded, so if you like haggling, this is the place to do it. Hannah, who was with me, managed to bargain down a silver-looking bangle from 30 dinar to just 10, equivalent to about £5. Martin was very pleased with his cloak, which he had bartered down from 60 dinar to just 20, but was then rather disappointed when offered the same garment for just 15 at another little shop.
    It can, however, become very annoying when you are continually pestered to come inside to see what they have to sell, particularly as a lot of the merchandise is the same wherever you go.
    The food market is worth a visit, if just to admire the mountains of fresh vegetables. However, we couldn’t help feeling sorry for the live chickens in their coop, who must know that their time will soon be up after seeing some of their friends’ heads chopped off when chosen by a customer.

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