Coming to France to learn about Tunisia

Well I’ve decided that Karim needs a blog All Of His Own. I started jotting a few notes on him last night, and in fact I believe they speak for themselves:

  • Karim and the performances
  • Karim and the fiancée off the Internet
  • Karim and the friends who get off with much older women for money and visas
  • Karim and religion
  • Karim and the reported ‘loads of copines’ (girlfriends)
  • Karim and the five Facebook accounts
  • Karim the adviser

So this happy chappy, as I said, deserves probably more than a blog -possibly a biography. But he’s only 24, so we’ll give him a bit more time before we start officially documenting his life and times. He is a man of great confidence, our Karim, and he can be no better explained than through his work history in Tunisia. If you have ever gone on an all inclusive package holiday, and met the very charming divils who flirt with you by the pool and try to drink with you at night, working for the hotel all the hours god gives them -one of those was Karim. He arranged the pool games, did PLENTY of flirting, and even performed in the ‘spectacles’ -the singing and dancing performances shown each night. He had no training in singing or dancing, but he explained that he had started in the back, with great fear, but petit à petit, he got better, and he demonstrated an impressive twirl in the kitchen to prove his point! Honestly he’s gas. Unfortunately, his ex girlfriend maliciously deleted all the videos of him from YouTube, and he has only one or two pictures left. He showed me these, and they are definitely legit.

That brings me onto Karim and his copines, his girlfriends. Of which he assures me, he has had many. Apparently the hotel in Tunisia was quite the hunting ground, and he has had a French girlfriend too. However, most interestingly, he had a FIANCÉE, which he casually dropped into conversation when we were sharing photos the other night. I will pursue this story in more detail in the future, but from what I understood, she is Tunisian, they seem to have gotten engaged over the Internet, and known each other for a year, but when they met, it didn’t work out. There is definitely something I have missed here, but I will attune my spidey senses and get more out of him, the next time I can stop him from mocking my French and ask a few questions. He is very self-assured, this pup, and regularly warns me against being too timid in the restaurant. I am often tired by the time I get to talk to him, and admittedly I can trail off mid sentence and lapse into defeated mumbling, but Karim disapproves strongly of such behaviour, and is keen to set me straight. A great man for the advice he is. Especially now that I have found work as a waitress -his particular area of expertise. He likes telling me to smile and pay attention to what people say, and he was most shocked that they let me take orders on my first day in the crêperie. (Admittedly they didn’t exactly let me, they had kind of said not to, but when the opportunity arose organically and I leapt in with my notebook and stilo, they didn’t stop me, so I took that as a positive..).

But I have digressed. Karim’s many copines, he tells me, are not forbidden by Islam. Now he takes a moderate approach to practicing Islam at best, and rarely shies at the opportunity to have a beer, but he does not eat pork and eats only Halal meat. He practices more rigorously in Tunisia (when his father is watching him), but here, he relaxes things. However, he says that it is fine to go out with non-Muslims, and maybe they will convert just for the wedding if it gets that far, but they don’t have to practice after that. He is genuine about being a Muslim though, and I think his religion is important to him. For example, he explained to me with some justifiable pride that Ramadan is about having a month to experience life like a poor person, to increase solidarity and encourage you to give 10% of your income to people less fortunate than you. He seems to take a lot of good from it. Karim also explained to me that because he was brought up in Tunisia, he is different from a lot of the Tunisian guys here, who were raised here in an unhealthy culture, where they are involved in all sorts of illegal activities. In Tunisia, he explained, he was brought up to be respectful of others, and I think he hopes to go back to Tunisia when he is older.

He has been lucky, because I think he had family in France before he came here, and therefore had dual citizenship of both countries from when he was fourteen. However, it is not always that easy, and he explained that he has a friend who would like to come to France, but it will cost him €4,000 just for a three month tourist visa! For a real visa, apparently the easiest way is to pay a French woman €10,000 to marry you, and divorce her after two years. Karim tells me with great conviction that this is easy, but I am not sold. Literally or figuratively. He has other friends who, in Tunisia, go out with much older women -lads of 22 and 23, with sugar mamas in their sixties. They are genuine relationships, but with a clear financial element. Karim was offered such arrangement when he worked in the hotel, but he politely passed the offer on to his friend, who is now driving a BMW.

Finally -although I am sure there will be much more to come -the man has not one, but FIVE different Facebook accounts.. He explained that this was for pirating. “WHAT??????” I said???? WHAT are you pirating??? But no, it was other people that had pirated his accounts, he meant. In fairness, this seems to be pretty common here, and a number of people I’ve met have had their accounts hacked, so it seems plausible. I only added one of his accounts, and he advised me (yup, mad for the advice) that I should hide my list of friends. Why, I asked? Well in case a new acquaintance like himself saw some of the jolies filles (pretty girls) who are my friends, and started adding them. I told him in no uncertain terms that if he tried any such thing with my jolies filles that I would bloque him without hesitation! I haven’t got any complaints yet….

Ah, life in apartment 1b will never be dull I fear, but now he’s behind me spraying copious amounts of man perfume around the sitting room, so I’d better be doing my maquillage and getting ready for work.