Senior Rat Expert
As a general rule, there are only a few exeptions:
The problem with a tourist walking along the road with a tunisian is this: You do not know the history of the other, eg. if the police once caught him for something else (or even only suspected him of having done something, like drugs, which is quite common). And you also do not know about the relations between him and police - maybe they share money that they have extorted from a tourist, or the money is used as a bribe for not being booked.
Tunisians who have not done anything, even they are being pestered by the police, however, if they have, in fact, done nothing, the police can't do anything and if they refuse to pay, nothing will happen (see what Aisha wrote). Of course, they can make you wait until they have checked your papers (and while doing so, they allegedly have a lot of other things to do, so it will take half an hour...), but that is it: they can cause inconvenience, but they can't extort money. If they can, then there is something wrong with the tunisian you are with at that moment.
What can, btw, also happen is that the police is telling you that you should not be with someone, without going into close details - in this case, it might be a wise decision to follow that advice.
Well this takes me back and made me think. When I first came I lived with my rat in a small town which was outside the tourist area. We often got stopped by the police and ratty would have heated discussions with them and then ask me for 20 or 30 dinar for a bribe. His explanation was that they were corrupt and I shouldn't trust them.
However, 3 or 4 times while he was arguing with them another policeman came closer to me and asked if I was ok, told me to careful and one gave me a number to call if I needed help and another one once told me he was a bad man.
Of course I believed ratty when he said it was because they were jealous blahblahblah.
But strangely when, at my insistence and expense. we moved closer to a tourist area I don't recall ever being stopped by the police and now i understand why - he was well known in his local are but not in a town some 30 miles away.
Also, a couple of guys working in local shops gave me the same warnings "why are you with him?" And "Be careful" or "hes a bad man" etc. Always said quietly and surreptitously because ratty did not like me going out alone because apparently it was dangerous
Sadly, because the rat is so wonderful and kind to you in the early stages these warnings fell on deaf ears and I barely thought about them until now
In the years that I have lived here, since my ratty relationship, I have only been stopped twice when with trusted Tunisian friends and the conversations were relatuvely calm and no bribes were made.
So if you are in a similar situation please do pay attention to these warnings and, as Etoyoc said, if you are stopped by the police any more than a 'one off' situation and bribes take place thats a big red flag.
This issue came up in another thread (see above) and I thought it important enough to have its own thread.
I was warned early on in my rat relationship and there was a particularlt huge red flag, as you will read above, but I was too naive and trusting of my rat and generally lacked understanding of their culture at the time. So the red flags and warnings fell on deaf ears.
Now, looking back, I know how serious these warnings were.
When you look back now are there any warnings or red flags that you didn't recognise or think important at the time?
This could be hugely helpful to anyone having doubts about their relationship, particularly those who don't yet understand the culture differences.