Hmmm, you might ask, why write a blog segment on sidewalks? I know I would be asking myself the same question. It’s because Mahdia has crazy sidewalks…actually, Mahdia does have sidewalks, but no two stretches of sidewalks are alike. This is because in Mahdia, every store and house owner is responsible for the sidewalks in front of his/her store and/or house. So you can be walking merrily along, and suddenly – no sidewalk – or you have to step way up or way down and/or cross bare pavement that’s often broken and/or more often than not, littered with discarded construction material just to reach the next stretch of sidewalk. Literally every second step is a new adventure!
Some sidewalks are elegant and clean, some are broken and barely passable, some are covered with a sprawling cat, some are partially covered by rotisserie ovens whose mouth-watering smells leave you drooling all over the clearly-already-drooled-upon sidewalks, and some are covered with dirty water that someone has just tossed out the door, barely missing getting a poor innocent tourist soaking wet. How we escaped three weeks of Mahdian sidewalks unscathed is beyond me!
But we did live to tell the tales, and here are some pictures of some of the Mahdian sidewalks that we encountered in our three weeks of meandering. One thing I would add is that Mahdian sidewalks are not knee-friendly…all of that constant stepping up and down and over and across left my right knee aching well into the night. By the third week, I learned that the pain was lessened if I gently side-stepped up and down instead of taking the steps straight on. That left me straggling behind at times, but it was worth it. Maybe a brace would have helped as well…if we ever go back, I’ll look into useful options. A useful tidbit for any other knee-challenged tourists out there.
So here are pictures of some of those Mahdian sidewalks. (If you want to go straight to the pictures of the Cats, feel free to do so.) I’m not captioning all of them because I can’t remember where in Mahdia each sidewalk is. But each stretch of sidewalk is only as long and/or wide as the respective storefront. And as you can see in the two pictures with the horse and wagon, the sidewalk design can change significantly in the blink of an eye, or the click of a camera. I included the last photo to show how discarded piles of construction material are often left on the sidewalks for pedestrians to have to walk around, or sometimes through and/or over….sidenote…this is a baffling phenomenon in Mahdia, how so many piles of discarded construction materials can be left anywhere and everywhere and not ever be picked up. At any given moment in our walks, even in the most elegant parts of Mahdia, we would come across piles of doors and windows, or car parts (including doors, mufflers and wheels), or enormous piles of bricks. How we wished we could have gathered many of those discards and take them to our friends in Cuba who would be happy to put these piles of stuff to good use! Sigh.
Okay, I know that the moment I mentioned “cats” in my first instalment of this series, many of you “purrrked” right up and have been eagerly waiting for those pictures. Unfortunately I’m sure I don’t have enough to satisfy your hunger for cute-Mahdian-cat photos, but I’ll post the seven that turned out….and the one that didn’t. Part of the problem was that hubby got a bit too close to some of the best potential photo-ops and scared the cats away before I could take the picture.
It didn’t take us long to notice the glaring absence of dogs in Mahdia…and the spectacular proliferation of cats in Mahdia. Occasionally we could hear dogs barking off in the distance at night, but rarely saw any during our daily walks. But there were cats everywhere we walked. Cats sleeping in the windows, cats napping on doorsteps, cats clearly at home inside many stores we walked into, cats perched on the high walls surrounding many of the houses, cats prowling along the shore looking for fresh treasures from the sea…I admit to not being quick with the camera at first, so missed many great shots. But here are the few that I did manage to take…
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
This could possibly have been the absolute best photo I’ve ever taken in all of my travels. The perfect cat sitting on the perfect doorstep. It was the most perfect cat photo of all time. The cat was stretched all along the doorstep, an absolutely gorgeous cat in the cutest position ever. I had my camera out, all set up, was ready to click the button – then hubby took one step too many and scared the cat away. Ugh. All I got was the empty doorstep. But use your imagination…imagine the most gorgeous cat you can and just see it leaning languidly against that most beautiful doorway. There. That’s the one that got away. No Nobel prize for best cat photo of 2018 for me. Drats.