This is my second visit to this two trident adult village ( first Sept 2006). This is located in the Djerba Island in Tunisia, close to the Libyan border. The island is familiar with the tourists, the airport, Zerzis is modern. No visa is required for US passport. I flew to Paris, I stayed there two nights, and I took the first CM charter, Air France, from Orly departing at 8:05 AM ( the second charter left from CDG around noon). The luggage limit was one,and 20 kg; mine was 25 kg but it went through.These charters feed CM La Fidele and La Douce ( 7-10 min walk from La Fidele). The CM wellcome at the airport and at the village were flat and slightly disorganized (I was mentally prepared for all the CM glitches). Waka Waka by Shakira was the nonstop 'upbeat' song for arrival and departure, although the GO team could not perform good choreograpy for this song during the crazy signs. I went to this village to live the classical CM vibe. I was well aware of the limitations of the bar and the accomodations, which did not bother me. I stayed alone in my bungalow at the price of sharing it ( season end special). There is no TV, no telephone, no radio /alarm clock, no iron, no window in the room. There is a ceiling fan, which I sometimes used, a lock on the door, two safe deposit boxes, a shower, a toilet, and decent amount of space. Some of the walls are laced, there is no sound isolation. The bungalows and the most of the village are on sand. Some GMs, who were new to this village, complained about the noise from the disco. But one is not supposed to go to bed ( alone)(that) early: this is the whole point of coming to La Fidele. The neighboring La Douce was full, so they could not transfer. The GO buildings behind the 300's had AC, telephone, true walls and windows. I was recognized as a silver member by a note left in my room. My present was a ceramic plate with local design. This year the activity schedule in my envelope was in English, in 2006 only schedule in Itallian was available. Many GOs at the reception spoke English. One reception GO was from Honduras, the only person I met from the Western hemisphere. The bar had very basic liquor selection. Few GMs bought better quality liquor from the bar. I brought in my duty free whiskey. I indulged myself in the local drink, bukha, like grappa, but based on fig. The two Itallian female bar GOs were neutral, the Tunisian GOs &GEs were not friendly. The service quality was poor during peak hours, and during closing time (3 AM. The music stopped at 3:40 AM). They served on 6 oz plastic cups almost always, but I received flute glass for local muscat (a tasty drink) and tulip glass for Tunisian brandy. More bartenders spoke English this year. There was food and separate 'special coctail' stand on most nights. Plenty of peanut and olive was available during lunch and dinner; I must say this ambiance was better than Turkoise or Sandpiper, but similar to Kemer. There were two shows, Amazonia on Monday ( part of which is on youtube), and 'Love in La Fidele' on Friday ( parts of which I had seen before) A group from La Douce arrived by bus for the Pink Paradise party on Tuesday. On Wednesday the theme was Angel& Demon, on Saturday, the famous white party ( dinner was aroud the pool). On Wednesday, there was the roller blade show at a tennis court, performed by 'CM artists' ( This is on youtube). The Thursday beach part was very lively, by that time most GMs had warmed up (and embraced) the party atmosphere. The bar service at the beach was unexpectedly efficient ( three spots, each serving with two bartenders), shorter waiting line. Of course we had the glow bracelets ( and also at white party), this made the Turkoise beach party look like a Saturday afternoon birthday party at Gymboree! The Friday Nurse Party was unique due to GM participation with costumes dressed as 'sexy' nurses. The decoration was nice at these theme nights. The disco music was very nice throughout the week. The 'champaign' tower was done twice; the serving was a local peach flavored wine drink, 6.9% alcohol. The preceding week some GMs had offered a 'chippendale show' for the female GMs at the unused covered disco space next to the bar. I saw a few pictures on the camera of a GM. The dress codes were : Sun Sept 12 black&white, Mon cappucino, Tue jeans &pink, Wed all black, Thu 45 t-shirt, short, flip-flops, Fri jeans and white, sat Sept 18 all white. Tennis was the most favorite sport. Kiting was available at la Douce. I attended the fitness, and I received a medal for my participation. There was plenty of step, but no body combat nor dance lessons. A visitor had offered a zumba class one day during the preceding week. I had the CM fitness schedule signed by both fitness instructors as a souvenir for this week.
The atmosphere was somewhat slower than I had expected, and also compared to my previous visit. The crazy signs were reduced ( may be CM wants to get rid of them); no more than six in the evenings, three-four at sundance. The CDV had worked at Coral Beach before, and he was going to Phuket ( both of them 'slow' villages), may be he was not a good choice for La Fidele. The animation team was weak. The six member team had eight people resigned since the begining of the season. They were determined to play the same crazy signs every day ( Li Tourne, Soleil des Tropiques, Freed from Desire, Hey Baby). I did not see them socializing much. I had to twist the arm of one member of the team, nicknamed 'Mao'( whom I would unfortunately describe as a 'sphinx with a smile') to extract one more crazy sign at sundance. The GO coordination was poor during the evening crazy signs, some of them did not give the full attention. Wege Wege was the new CM 'Madison'. Surprisingly there was no sundace or fitness on Sunday, so my taking the first charter was futile. Before leaving, I checked the sister site www.macase.net
, and I noticed a thread about this week: a group of GMs were coming. I posted at that site, I met a bunch of macasiens at the village ( this was great for network). We had lunch and dinner, and we partied together ( one macasienne was an x-GO). The count-down at this thread reminded me the Turkoise trips, but with a wider contribution base. There were many first time GOs, who were not a 'GO' in the classical sence. One person had posted at macase.net that GOs were not saying 'good morning'. I paid attention, and only one GO routinely said 'good morning' to me while crossing on the road. There was persistent lack of flags of spoken languages on the GO badges. I inquired, they were fallen, CM was not providing more. One reception GO had her name written on the badge by pen. One bright spot, there was now Tunisian flag for the local GOs.
Loss of personal property was a problem. I heard stories of theft from the rooms ( even from safe deposit box). Somebody took my T-shirt while I was at the pool at 4AM (I am glad I was wearing my swimsuit). Similar stories are posted at macase.net . There was no towel card nor deposit. The food was mediocre, the choices were few. I knew that the desserts were not good, so I stuck with the fresh fruits and the dates. The restaurant service was mediocre at best, the coffee cups were in short supply, the spoons were invisible, the wait staff was not nice. The local wine 'Hannibal' tasted somewhat better than four years ago. The GMs were predominantly French, with a large froup of Belgians ( due to the availability of charters). I met Itallians, Germans, one from UK, one from Luxemburg, I was the only one from the US. There was one Itallian GM whom I had met and partied at the season opening week Otranto 2008 - a nice surprise. There was a wide age spectrum. There were quite a lot of young GMs. There was minimal rowdiness during the early hours of the morning, but the very visible security most likely curtailed its progression. There was one foam party, with limited amount of foam. There was one scheduled, one unscheduled 'shower party' next to the pool. These activities are characteristic of this village, however they were lower in quality that 2006. The return charter was by XL Airlines. We were offered sandwich snacks, free wine and beer ( hint the Spirit charter from Columbus Isle). The beach, the sea and the weather were beatiful.
Despite shortcomings, many of which are management-CDV-animation team realted, this is a much livelier village than those in the Carribean/ Mexican/American zone. I would most likely go back, as long as the CDV and the animation team are different. Now I am heading to Cancun for the x-GO reunion to dissipate more energy: I want to see how this group exceeds the La Fidele parties.