After much discussion, we've decided to part ways with our Motobecane Mobylette 88, Habib. The appearance of our long awaited bicycle wheels in Sfax played a big role in this decision. Sadly, our separation does not involve sending him home to the USA. This costly affair would require more logistical juggling than either of us is willing to deal with.
Other ideas, like further touring on the island of Djerba, have been discarded due to the amount of time they would take. We even talked about heading into the mountains of northwestern Tunisia… until we remembered that chugging up even the smallest of hills is already a huge, hilarious feat for our aged companion!
Though our time with Habib has been short, the memories are sure to last forever. Once we came to terms with the fact that we weren't going to send him home, it quickly became clear he would be exceedingly easy to sell in Douz. Everyone in town seems to know us and our story. The man who sold us the scooter, Ahmed, would have bought him back but unfortunately he had just purchased a different moped for 330 TND. He reported sadly that he did not like it nearly as much as Habib. We scolded him teasingly when we discovered this news; he had told us he was going to purchase a bicycle, or nothing at all in order to get into shape!
Sure enough, after less than an hour of poking around, we secured a buyer at the perhaps too low price of 240 TND. Taking into account the fact that the interested party was a friend of Ahmed's, and that they'd all been so friendly and helpful with our crazy idea, we agreed. A quick exchange of money followed by a big round of hand shaking, laughs, and smiles, and we were on our way.
Only moments after the sale we'd reached the local louage station, intent on getting to Gabes and then catching the train to Sfax (some 250 kilometers away), the very same day. On to the next adventure!
The rest of the afternoon and the miles we covered flew by uneventfully, though we were acutely aware of each and every mechanic's shop we passed along the way, as well as every rusty blue Motobecane parked outside. I'd be lying if I said we didn't have second thoughts a few times as we wistfully looked out of our speeding louage at the scooters slowly plodding along the shoulder, dutifully carrying their owners from one small village to the next.
Though our memories with Habib are only over a week old, here are some highlights: