Dublin, July 2004
Roger used to point out, that he was a bear of 3 continents, but
going to Tunisia in Africa this summer meant that McBear in fact would
become a bear of 4 continents. This caused Roger major concern.
"You simply can't leave Dublin," he told McBear. "It would leave TARF without proper care and management."
Having considered the situation, McBear decided to stay at home. But then Bamse offered to take over the presidency while McBear was in Africa. Boy, was McBear relieved...
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We stayed at the lovely Hotel Kanta in Port El Kantaoui. Roger's only concern was that it was only a 4 star hotel. McBear had surfed the Internet and found a brilliant bargain, however, Roger would have preferred 5 stars. Roger also kept mentioning the safety deposit box: If it hadn't been for the uncomfortable conditions, he would have preferred to sleep in the safety box. After all, he was the most valuable item in the group...
Sousse, July 2004
Next morning we went to the nearby major city, Sousse. There were
flags everywhere. Roger of course believed this was due to his visit,
however, it turned out that the president of Tunisia had made a visit
to Sousse the same day as our arrival. Roger got very upset.
"This was the president's only chance to meet with me, and he missed it! Typical! Just typical!"
As usual, Tom saw a chance to add yet another destination to his list of places of which he wanted to become tour guide. He knew he could make a huge success establishing his own tour guide company, Tom Teddy Tours!
Port El Kantaoui, July 2004
Olivia loves flowers, and arriving at this subtropical place, gave her an opportunity to sit and enjoy all the exotic flowers.
We went to the beach at the Kanta Hotel. Lots of people were doing
"I bet Roger will be the first TB to do paragliding," Barnaby said.
"We had those roundy thingies in World War I too," Irving remembered.
"But they never worked!" he added.
A lot of people support TARF, and a very generous project manager, Joe Hickey,
contributed with this fine deckchair. McBear was delighted and immediately
tried it out at the beach, however, the only one to sit comfortable on it,
"Pity it's a bit too small," McBear said.
"Nonsense!" Roger pointed out. "Your bum is simply too big! You spend too much time in front of the computer!"
Port El Kantaoui, August 2004
We went on a safari to explore the great Sahara Desert. Roger felt
obliged to travel dressed in proper Tunisian clothes, so he had got
a suit, he told us. He entered the tent. When he came out, he looked
like a rich sheik. All tailored and hand made. He drew his sabre into
the sand and dramatically declared:
"I am Sheik El Roger! I have come to liberate the Tunisian people from the threat of tourism: budget travelling! From this day all hotels must convert to 5 stars!"
The rest of us were speechless, until Roger put on a big grin. Then we burst into laughter!
We went to Matmata, where many people still live in caves in the ground.
Matmata was also the place for many of the scenes from Star Wars in 1976.
Blissfull, Roger walked around, enjoying the dust, heat and desert. Now
and then we could hear him announce:
"Laurence of Arabia was yesterday! Today, the time has come for Roger of Sahara!"
Olivia got herself some nice clothes to dress up like the locals.
Douz, August 2004
After a long drive through dusty deserts we arrived Douz, an oasis with a large Date orchard. Roger got held up, so we went on by ourselves to have our photo taken.
Next morning we got up very, very early - 3.45 - in order to reach the great salt desert, Chott El Jerid, for the sunrise. Tom and Barnaby had bought proper hats to wear for the occasion.
Chebika, August 2004
Next stop was at an oasis at Chebika near the Algerian border. At this stage Roger was getting severely grumpy: Due to his fine suit, special care had to be taken, and that meant that often he didn't make it for the camera, before we had to move on! Even Olivia had problems with her fine clothes.
One evening, Roger and McBear went out for a walk. Roger wanted to
demonstrate his great skills as a caravan commander, so he went over
to one of these huge caravan animals. After a while he returned to
"I told the silly camel to get up - but it refused!"
"But Roger, first of all: You didn't try in arabic, and second... it's not a camel: It's a dromedary!"
Roger got silent.
Dublin, August 2004
Returning from all his inspiring experiences in Tunisia, Roger felt like
taking up fiction. After his documentary books, "Following my star" and
"Before I was a viking", Roger wanted to write about a sea bear, who once
lived peaceful and quiet alone, but one morning woke up among 16 other bears.
After travelling in a desert, the sea bear felt a true desert bear in his
blood, and now the bear wanted to become a desert bear.
"There once was a little sea bear," Roger began...
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