THE CORNICHE
OBI-WAN KENOBI'S HERMITAGE

It was nearly 4 o'clock in the afternoon when we finally made it onto the "Island of the Lotus Eaters". We drove off the ferry and followed our fellow passengers onto the jetty and into town. Soon enough we were stopped by a policeman. Whilst we were rooting around for our passports he asked us where we were staying. Because I was still thinking along the lines of our original timetable I told him that we were going to drive back to Medenine. A surprised and doubtful look passed across his face, but he let us carry on regardless.

Once into the town we found the turning we needed to get to our first location. Heading north up the west side of the island of Jerba, along a sandy road known as a corniche, we sped along hugging the beaches and rocky promontories. About a kilometer from the edge of Ajim I spotted a small, white building on the tip of a small spit. As we drew closer we saw that this building, with its double humped roof, was indeed the one we wanted.

Once we had pulled up in front of the building (purpose: unknown - but I'm pretty definate that it's not a mosque) a small tingle ran down my back. After the horrific journey that we'd had .getting .to .Jerba .it .amazed me to be at

at our first .bona-fide Star Wars .location. And what better .place to start than Obi-Wan Kenobi's .hermitage? It was strange to stand here and look out at the fishing boats bobbing idly as the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea. There wasn't a sand dune or bantha track to be seen!

Sitting outside the building was a local reading his book. I quietly asked him if he minded us taking pictures, to which he indicated that he didn't. He nonchalantly leaned back against the world and immersed himself in his book, as if two Westerners taking photos and videoing an abandoned building was nothing to be surprised about. I hope that I'd be as cool if someone started paying loads of attention to my garden shed!

Taking a moment to investigate the inside of the building I was surprised to find how small it was. Roughly 15 foot deep and 30 foot wide, the building was seperated into two equal halves by a thick wall. There were only two very small windows, and on one wall an alcove was set. Imagine that you could take off the front wall - this would be the camera angle that we viewed Ben's house at in A New Hope. The alcove was supposedly where Ben slept but I doubt that so old a man (even a Jedi) could curl up like a cat, for the alcove is only 3 foot across. The house also doesn't have the depth of the set, and no where near as much light gets in there either.

It is the alcove that has led some to mistake the building for a mosque. In a mosque the mullah (prayer leader) would sit in this alcove and face the congregation in the call to prayer. Traditionally the alcove would be in the east wall so that the congregation faced Mecca; since it is actually in the south-west wall the building can not be a mosque. It also lacks a minaret, wash basins and room for any more than 4 people. I expect that it was just a simple fishermans hut. Nowadays it is used as a bike shed.

With the sun on the verge of dipping below the horizon (what a view Ben must have had!) we decided that our first stop was complete. Once we were all packed up we headed north to Toshi Station (a.k.a. Sidi Jemour). Just as we were pulling away from old Ben's place a taxi full of tourists drove up, "Ah-ha," I thought to myself, "more Star Wars fans. I'm not so alone."

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