July 07, 2005

The Cultural Mixing Pot

Tunisia is a clear mix of Arab and French influences. Most people can speak fluent French with you, and the boulangerie is an omnipresent institution. The country is a true cultural mixing pot. Basically any style of clothing you might see people wearing in America, Europe, or anywhere the Middle East, you’ll see people wearing here.

But there are definitely areas of life in which one or the other cultural heritage dominates. For instance, in an office or restaurant, people will always address you in French; food is a mixture of the two cultures, but the music people listen to is only Arabic.

The architecture in our neighborhood seems to be basically Mediterranean Colonial, by which I mean that there are only minor details that distinguish it from what I’m used to seeing in Central America. It’s the little details, though, that are interesting, like the four-fingered hand symbol engraved on a neighbor’s garage (many Mediterranean cultures believe it offers protection from the Evil Eye).

This is a view of our neighborhood from the bedroom window...


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