Sousse, Tunisia

Sousse is a short taxi journey from the airport. Travelling with a friend, the two of us got a room at the Hotel de Paris without an advanced booking, as the peak season had ended. The Hotel de Paris was inside Sousse's medina. Most of the main towns in Tunisia have a medina: a walled, historic, old town, still occupied by locals, alive with markets, shops and mosques. The streets in a medina are often narrow and meandering, and you'll see packs of skinny, stray cats wandering and lounging in the dusty alleyways.

A walk along the beach in late evening seemed pleasant until a drinks vendor managed to lift thirty dinar out of my wallet. Be very careful around the vendors and market traders in Tunisia. Anyone who relies on tourists for an income in Tunisia has become very skilled at confusing, pressuring or tricking tourists into releasing money. You quickly learn that being blunt is the only way to shake them off. Politeness will only lead you into trouble. I imagine it's the same in most tourist areas in the world.

The seafront at Sousse is crammed full of hotels and what appeared to be garish, noisy bars or clubs. It was not what I'd been expecting of a north-African country. The town was full of shops selling tourist souvenirs and what looked like pirated CDs.

Back at the hotel in the medina, the coastal humidity and the seemingly twenty-four hour noise from the town and railway made sleep a serious challenge for me. A trip to the bathroom on the other side of the hotel was made more exciting by the almost total lack of light and by a stray cat that came flying down the corridor, shrieking wildly at me.