Saturday, April 26, 2008

Did you hear? Jesus has died...


Street kids, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Here we are back in Syria, having arrived early yesterday morning on a BMI flight through London, which is giving us a bit of jet-lag. That and the heat. It is about 36 during the day and a little humid, making it feel warmer than it did when we were hear in late July in 2005.

We managed to direct the taxi driver from the airport to our hotel, the Grand Syria, but it was full, so we were sent across the road to the Republique Grand, or something like that. A smallish room, facing the busy street, no air-co, just a fan and no sheets (Fred knew he should have brought our light Egyptian sheets with us). Still, it is less than ten pounds a night, it is central, away from the backpackers and has hot and cold water and a fridge. Unlike Vietnam, no internet connection, so quite a trek to find a place.

Yesterday was Friday and a holiday and the streets were disappointingly empty, just as they were bustling today. We spent both days wandering around the streets, souks, mosques and alleyways, stopping every now and then for a refreshing drink (the best are the fresh fruit juices, or later in the day, a nice cold beer).

Nothing too much has changed, although the place is getting a bit smarter, at least in the Old City and this is the height of the (western) tourist season, so a few groups of French, Italians and Spanish to be seen, as well as reli-freaks.

Our restaurant has changed however and the old git has been sacked to be replaced by a younger charming Christian man. He was very serious when we came back for dinner, having reserved a table earlier in the day as he asked us we had heard the news that Jesus had died... Jesus, really? When? ... well, it turned out that for the Syrian Orthodox people it was Good Friday yesterday, which means that tomorrow is Easter!

Anyway, can't stay here too long as running out of my alloted time and Fred will be waiting for me back at the hotel. Tomorrow, we go to Bosra. At least, Inshallah, as our taxi driver kept telling us. Indeed, God willing... Bosra was the main tourist destination which we missed out on last time, an old Roman city built in black volcanic rock. We are making a day trip of it before moving up to Homs and Hama. This is the plan...

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