The little town is quite charming and the architecture quite unique. Most of the buildings in Houmt Souq have that Mediterranean whitewashed look, but are square and somewhat formidable looking. I was told that this was because of the location of Djerba there used to be a constant fear of attack.
The alleyways and distinct vibe made us wish that we had stayed here instead of on one of the resorts on the island.
Houmt Souq literally means "the marketplace" in Arabic....so of course that would be Marche Central (the Central Market).
By now, Ben understood that we were interested in the food and cuisine of Tunisia. He led us through a small portal and into a courtyard. At the end stood the fish market.
Here amongst the fish stands one can witness the daily fish auction.....no it's not the havoc and craziness of Tsukiji Fishmarket, but rather something on the other end of the spectrum....very relaxed, casual, and amazingly laidback.
As you milled amongst the booths you noticed that chairs were being hoisted up upon the very counters that held the fish....this happened in a very subtle way, without any fanfare. Older gentleman then climbed up, sometimes with a bit of help and sat at their mighty fish "throne". A person to the left would then "show" a string of fish, octopus, or other type of seafood, then hand it up to the person who is auctioning the fish off.
The folks who had been milling around then suddenly all come together......some I guess to bid, other maybe just to watch?
The process seemed fairly quiet and calm......
And after the highest bidder got his prize, the crowd would slightly disperse and the whole thing started over again.
In the case of something that there was something no one wanted, the crowd would simply thin out....folks losing interest.
Until the next "juicy" item came up for bid.......
There was something mesmerizing about the whole thing. We decided to stay and watch for a little while longer and let Ben off the hook. This was where we parted ways, we'd catch a cab back to the Green Palm.
After watching for a few more minutes we decided to move on.....we found a coffee shop in the middle of Marche Central and sat down to just take in the whole place with a cup of "cafe express" - espresso.
Aah.....now we were really doing things at our pace.....
Of course, there was the question of "what's for lunch?"