My name is Alexis and I’m a photographer.

So my story with this turtle, I was at my best friend’s home in La Marsa, Tunisia. It’s a coastal town in northern Tunisia near the capital Tunis. We decided to visit the Souk, which is a large, well-known market in Tunis.

We were walking trough the vender stalls and went by a cage with some forty turtles piled on top of each other. I felt sorry for this one turtle and was so sad to see her there that I bought her- it was three, four Euros at the time, nothing.

For that week it was just funny to have her in his apartment but I decided I wanted to keep her. My friend was returning with me to France and he really wanted us to leave her in Tunisia, because he said it was forbidden to bring turtles into the country. I didn’t believe it was forbidden and even if it was I didn’t think the fines would be a lot so I decided to bring her back. I couldn’t abandon her over there.

On the day we left Tunisia I hid her in my camera bag and she went through the scanners. Even I saw her on the screen but at the exact same time my bag was going through the x-ray machine an alarm rang and the security officers became distracted and started shouting at everyone. The alarm was triggered because of a piece of luggage right before me, some guy had hidden a knife in his bag.The distracted officers never saw the turtle on the scanner.

So okay, but after getting through security my friend tells me again that the turtle on the plane, it’s very dangerous. And on the internet we read the fine can be forty thousand Euros if I get caught. So I’m like, oh shit but it’s too late, I can’t leave the turtle in the Tunisia airport. We boarded the plane with the turtle still in my bag. When we arrive in France I’m very afraid to smuggle in the turtle and ask my friend to take all the bags. I just wanted to go through immigration myself but I still didn’t know what I was has going to do with my turtle. I was really nervous about getting caught so just before I reached the control area I dropped the turtle into my trunks, looked down an told her be careful. But when I arrived at immigration, the stations were empty- there was nobody! I passed through and just started running with the turtle still in my pants. When I was about hundred 100 meters from the station the turtle was still in my trunks and I slowed to a walk. I looked back I see officers returning to theirs stations and they were talking to all the people that came from Tunisia.

My friend got out of the airport an hour later. The customs officers had searched him and all the luggage. I was very lucky.

And now, this turtle, her name is Spinoza, is alive and well and four years old.

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