May 25, 2008
Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia - The California women's basketball team has arrived safely in Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia, after a long journey that began Saturday from San Francisco International Airport. Each member of last year's team will take turns offering thoughts on the Bears' May 24-June 3 African adventure. Sunday was reserved primarily for activities around the hotel, as the Bears didn't check in until late in the day.
Blog 1 - Shantrell Sneed
May 24, 2008, 4:40 am PT
Today marks the beginning of my 10-day vacation: five days in Tunisia and five days in Senegal. This will truly be a life-changing experience. I expect this trip will not only teach me things about myself but about life.
We were to be on the bus no later than 11:20 am. I was dropped off at school at about 10:45 a.m. to finish up some last-minute packing. All I had left to pack was my basketball stuff. As 11:08 snuck up on me, last minute paranoia set in. That inevitable gut-wrenching feeling like you've forgotten something haunted me the entire bus ride to San Francisco Airport. Although I knew I had over packed, I still felt like there was something missing.
The reality of the distance I was about to travel and the amount of time I would be away set in midway across the Bay Bridge. I began to cry as I said my final good-byes to loved ones over the phone. The last time I had been gone for an extended period of time to another continent was when I was in the sixth grade, and I went to Australia.
I had forgotten how much of a hassle international flights can be. I must have pulled out my passport 50 times. The lines were so long and people were speaking French all around me. I didn't mind at all because I could understand them and occasionally speak it with them.
I slept the first four hours of our 11-hour flight to Paris. I watched a movie called Dan in Real Life, played Cave Man Crunch and read the last lecture. It seemed like it took us forever to arrive in Paris and it did. But once we got to the airport, it was worth the wait. I felt like I had just walked into a mall. I am currently on the plane to Tunisia or Tunis as the French would call it. A two-hour bus ride and dinner awaits me upon arrival.
Facts About Tunisia
Nine million people in Tunisia (two million in Tunis)
Located in the Northern most part of Africa
Third-largest country in Africa
Arabic primary language, French secondary, and English is spoken in some areas
98 percent Islamic
There is a mosque for every 400 people.
70 million olive trees (staple crop) - olive oil is a huge export