The camera opens on our guide as he introduces himself and the city he is set to take us through. His name is Doug Bernard and the city is Tunis. Filmed mostly on selfie mode – personalizing the narrative and experience, what you can call the first-person narrative – the video starts right in the centre of Tunis, a few walks away from the Catholic Cathedrale Saint-Vincent-de-Paul de Tunis right across from the French Embassy. Doug takes his viewers on a short but absorbing tour of Tunis, the capital city of the North African country of Tunisia.
He walks us through the main road: the historical scene from which the 2011 Arab Spring took off and spread across the rest of the Arab world. Now we get a hint of why there are military tanks and armed men in the city centre. He arrives at the landmark Bab el Bhar ‘the sea gate’, also known as Porte de France ‘the gate of France’, a gate separating the ancient Tunis from the ‘new’ and ‘modern’ one built by the French colonial government.
Now on the other side of the city, we enter into the bustling Medina market where he meets Mohammed and Jamal, craft traders who are excited to show him around the market. Their personality and warmth shine through in the brief encounter. Also, it seems it is easier to make acquaintances in this old Tunis and Doug’s walk from the new part of the city to the old might be symbolic of a city trying to make a friend with its former self.
Finally, whether you are still held back by Covid-19 travel concerns or simply just can’t afford to go on a journey at the moment, Doug’s video log is a delightful virtual substitute. Even if you are not planning to embark on any trip soon, still, this short video can open up another world to you. It doesn’t claim to collapse the whole of Tunis in fifteen minutes but instead attempts just to show a slice enough to arouse curiosity, interest and fascination.
So, press play and enjoy.
Doug Barnard is an American videographer and content creator. Doug travels full-time and shares his adventures on his YouTube channel, a channel that has thousands of subscribers. Some of the countries he has travelled to include Egypt, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bangladesh. He has been featured on the Middle East Eye, NAS News, and Esquire Middle East, amongst others.
Cover image credit: Anthony International