Fall in (love with) La Marsa

It’s not hard to be charmed by this place. Not least because, up until just three weeks ago, we have avoided the worst of the coronavirus cases. Now, we’re just like everyone else – running up the numbers and shaking in our boots. But it’s fall, and I refuse to allow my favorite season to be a giant bummer.

Moon and clouds, Abdel Aziz mosque.

I am certain I wouldn’t be so crazy about the place if it weren’t for the cats, but fall shows off some of the other charms of the place. It’s very green (and in fact is nicknamed “Green Tunisia” by Arabic-speakers the world over) with pepperings of flowers everywhere. Even the fall is not a time of plant death – just a rejiggering of the color wheel.

Today we saw kids heading Back to School. Ooooh, I love fall!

Where are their MASKS?!?!?!

The Sea

We’ve been in and out of the sea all summer, along with the rest of the nearby population. Our apartment is just up above the best public beach around, with nice clean sand and water. Each year when summer starts someone erects perfectly aligned umbrellas in the sand overnight. This year, the umbrellas were further apart from each other, but still just like graph paper in their precision. All summer, from well before I wake up to well after midnight, the beach is packed with folk. The water is packed too – standing paddlers, snorklers, swimmers, kayakers, the occasional jerko jetskiers, fishing dinghies, yachts, sailboats, and people just letting the gentle waves lift them and drop them softly back down.

That’s me on the balcony. Behind me there is just a handful of people on the beach.

Now, the beach is nearly empty, the umbrellas are gone, stacks of clouds come in and change the temperature in the blink of an eye. Still, it rains very little, and it’s not very humid most of the year, for such a green place.

Quilted for extra comfort

A friend has stand up paddle boards and today we got up early to try them out. Unfortunately with 15-knot winds, it was too choppy. We’ll try again. In the fall you have to be persistent! And the water is still plenty warm for it.


Fall entertainment

We’re keeping busy, both of us – though the exact content varies and is thrown around tumultuously as the COVID rates climb. Ramon is working more from home again, and my fall work schedule is threatening to double. No complaints, but then we also need plenty of diversion to balance it out.

Like seeing weird patterns in household items.

Finally cleaned the silverware drawer

Also, some cooler-weather cooking. I regret not getting a pic of Ramon’s excellent Ziti Bolognese, but we scarfed it down like we’d been on a desert island. I do, however, have these:

For all of August and much of September, having the oven on was like pouring chili pepper on a cut. Just too hot. Now it feels so… right!

And there’s also this little eggplant number, with pine nuts, fresh sheep’s ricotta, green olives (supposed to be capers), spicety-spices, and (!) golden raisins. I was genuinely worried how all that would taste together but, Enthusiastic Thumbs Up is the verdict.

What else have you made, Keri? Well, how kind of you to ask! Here’s a selection of fall specialties you might have missed. Deliciousness is my diversion.

And going to the gym. And playing cards. (!) Ramon rarely wants to do that but we’ve had very wobbly wifi lately. Rummy, Cribbage, Crazy Eights, and – when I can overcome his natural shyness (ahem), Spit. He’s a born competitor.

Predicting the face-off between our all-natural mosquito enemies: who’s going to take the prize? And who will live longest, now that our mosquito population is dying fall-related deaths (HURRAH!)?

As much perfect-weather fall tennis as we can get away with.

When we’re not playing tennis, we’re often taking long walks. It’s such a joy to come out of the heat-induced summer stupor, though, maybe it’s just me, but it feels like there was no transition! Anyway, more walking means for me (and, later, for you) more cat pictures. Ramon, by contrast, will be daydreaming about future transport acquisitions.

That Other Pastime

I’ve been trying to avoid Facebook and read the news just once a day. My heart rate swings up, my throat gets dry. I’m scared about the wingnuts that say they’ll revolt if their wretched disgusting hero doesn’t win. It is a horrible, scary fall election season and I hope we vote out the Orange Menace on November 3rd. (Yep, I already voted – following my ballot online presently!) But I gotta keep myself outta the rabbit hole.

I’m also heartened by the takeover of the #ProudBoys hashtag by out, happy, healthy, funny people; and by the fly that landed on Evangelical Ken ‘s man-coif during the VP debate.

We absolutely need relief from 45’s dangerous nonsense. I offer here, then, just a positive: a genuine look at what liberals are actually hoping for!

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