The marabout (a burial place of a holyman) of Sidi Jemour was used for the Anchorhead (Toshi Station) and Mos Eisley Outskirts scenes. The famous "Lost Biggs Scenes" were delved into by that famous Lucasfilm archaeologist and adventurer Dr David West Reynolds (I'm sorry that it couldn't be Dr Indianna Jones) in Star Wars Insider #35.

Sidi Jemour was visible for a short time in both the original 1976 release and the 20th anniversary Special Editions. The only screen appearance of Sidi Jemour is when Luke's landspeeder flashes past the right-hand side of the building as he enters Mos Eisley with Ben and the droids. Though the Toshi Station footage was eventually cut from the theatrical release (and sadly never included in A New Hope SE) the scenes can be found on LucasArts' Behind the Magic CD-ROM.

From our first sighting of it from the corniche track we could see that things had changed. Twenty years of growth had transported it from an arid desert to a verdant jungle. But what else would differ?

Compare these pictures:

"Something made her look up, tired eyes squinting into the distance. The sound suddenly leaped in volume as a shining rectangular shape came roaring around a far corner. Her eyes popped as the vehicle bore down on her, showing no signs of altering its path. She had to scramble to get out of its way.

Panting and waving an angry fist after the landspeeder, she raised her voice over the sound if its passage. 'Won't you kids ever learn to slow down!'"

As you can see the main complex and the right hand domed side building is separated by one of the roads that leads to Mos Eisley. (Here I can tell you that it actually leads to more palms and scrub.) The jazzed up Special Edition picture still matches up closely with the top right photo (from Geographic Star Wars Sites in Tunisia). The side building in the top picture was also seen when Luke visited Toshi Station. The only surviving evidence of this scene is in the occasional still (see right) and George Lucas' original novel:

Aside from missing vaporators and power droids, and extra palm trees the marabout hadn't changed much since 1976. Much of this continuity is due to the remoteness of the site and the nature of the buildings. And what of that famous balcony where Biggs made his farewell to Luke? Sadly with the tide in we couldn't get down onto the beach to get the right camera angle but the shots we took we worth it. Had it changed much? Look below and judge for yourself...

By the time we reached Sidi Jemour the sun had nearly set competely and we had to limit our visit to 10 minutes exploring. Because the marabout was empty and we were being watched by a large dog I imagined that Fixer had shut up shop for the night and left his trusty hound to watch over the place (and why not?). Sadly we only got time for one more photo and some video footage before the sun set and we couldn't see our hands in front of our face.

Our biggest priority at this point was getting off the coast road and into Houmt Souk, the islands main town, to find a hotel. All my planning hadn't taken into account flooding and we found ourselves cut off from the main airport road (and safety). Deciding that it would be wiser to head back down to Ajim, a mere 17 km down a dark sandy track, rather than risk getting stuck in the mud we turned around. Roaring down the palm-lined track we eventually came upon another car. Flashing my headlights to get their attention they stopped to see what we wanted. On foot I approached to find that it was the taxi that had pulled up to Ben's house as we'd left it. Star Wars fans they were not, but a friendly group of German tourists who were happy to help us out. Translating the taxi drivers instruction they told us that it was safe to carry on the road and to drive slowly across the flooded section.

Fifteen minutes later saw us back with the Germans, explaining that the road was flooded for at least 300 metres. The taxi driver scoffed at this so we followed him back to the high tide line (!). To our pleasure he deemed the road impassable and led us off another track, only to stop 20 metres later because it too was flooded.

By this time we were all beginning to get worried. I mean, what if a wandering Krayt dragon had found us? They're nocturnal predators, don't you know? The others didn't share my fears, but my wife gave me a sypathetic giggle. (Either that or she was beginning to crack up.) And it was back off down the road to Sidi Jemour again. There the taxi driver asked the young boy who took care of the place for help. In a flash he was off on his 50cc moped; roaring down the lane without a helmet and a headlight that a birthday candle could outshine. This boy rocked - he was setting a terrific pace that would have shown Biggs, Fixer and Luke a thing or two. Hell, even Sebulba would have thrown in the towel if faced with racing this kid!! Ten minutes later we were back on tarmac and being given a guided tour of Houmt Souk at night.

We quickly found a cheap and comfortable hotel for the night. After a bath and a bite to eat we settled down. Just before we dozed off we recounted the day and the problems we'd had. I'll admit that we came very close to giving the trip up in favour the comfort of our resort. However we both agreed to wait until the morning and see what Ajim brought us.

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