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Lost at last


A new country with new money, personalities, language, shapes and sounds.

Not too much to report from Damascus because we spent two days just wandering around the souks and streets of the old town. the main covered souk is wide, dark and cool with quite modern shops lining the sides - at night, after ramadan fast is broken this street is heaving with interesting looking people - arabs in robes and tea towels, families, nomads, tourists. There are hunderds of tiny lights in the roof that look scattered and random just like stars, a very pretty sight that looks like a design feature until you read that they are bullet holes made by french fighters in the 1925 war. After walking along this long arcade you are greeted by crumbling roman arches, an enormous marble floored mosque and the entrance to the old town via streets shaded by overhead vines.

The streets in most places look to me like medieval english cottages straight out of shakespeare's day or the old streets of York with their narrow streets of plastered mud walls and overhanging first floors supported by diagonal wooden struts. I was always on the look out for a washer woman throwing dirty water out of the top window. Other architecture in the old town looked to me like spanish or italian design with ornate balconies and decorated window arches. Many of the cafes and hotels, and the tranquil little art gallery we stopped in at, had cool central courtyards with fountains and vines. This is the first time we've been able to get tea during the day! and we had our first beer in a month!

After being properly lost in the streets (this made us very happy, after failing to ever get lost in venice, morocco or yazd - those places that tell you to get lost in their streets but somehow you never really can) we rewarded ourselves for this achievement by sitting for a few hours on the streets of the old town listening to the old story teller inside banging his stick on his table of tea (apparently he was telling a story about an Arab champion who was captured and fought bravely to escape...we have to await tomorrow to find out the end and start the next tale) while we drank lemonade, tea and smoked our ever-replenishing shisha and chatting to shock-of-all-shocks *actual* tourists. We havent seen any of those in a long while. It's very nice to talk at last to other travelers and exchange stories and tips for onward countries, yet at the same time we all seem to look and act the same and it has actually felt very, erm, exclusive(?) to be in a country where you cant spot the travelers a mile off.

Although we both loved Damascus we have decided not to spend too much time in Syria because we'd rather spend more time in Lebanon and Jordan so we're in Beirut now, although it's pretty quiet on the streets because it's Eid today so imagine walking the streets on Christmas day and that's what it feels like. I like the feel of this city though, and there's supposed to be a music festival in the university district over the next few days so maybe things will pick up tonight. I'll report back later.

Posted by rachndave 05:15 Archived in Syria Tagged walking travelers Comments (1)

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