23 May 2007


So a few of us were casually having beverages on the lanai the other evening when a resident here mentioned that she had a Syrian visa, but had not been and thought she might not be able to go before returning to the States. Under the spell of St. Frances, I suggested we depart the next morning.

Her and I took a taxi to Damascus. It took me 2.25 hours to get a visa (a new record!) and we were in Damascus in time for site seeing and dinner. We spent three days in the Old City. My companion, a professor at a university in the States, graciously paid for almost everything fully aware of my status as a grad student. She was a perfect traveling companion for me. I need coffee often, and I like to walk a lot, and then sit in a café a lot, and then look at lots of stuff, but not have a ridged schedule. I enjoyed every moment.

Syria is about to have another election soon, and Damascus was plastered with Assad pictures and posters. The radio had patriotic songs in both English and Arabic about how much Syrians love Bashar. Posters said things in Arabic such as, “We are with you Assad,” or “With our love.” There were posters on top of posters behind banners surrounded with portraits. Just in case you missed anything, a truck drove around the streets of Damascus with illuminated posters of Assad. Stunning. One interesting series of billboards features a picture of a western-dressed woman with an English caption: I Believe in Freedom.

So now I’ve seen the Old City in the Fall and in the Spring.

I purchased shoes sure to make K’s eyes roll. The man who sold me the shoes was watching TV when we walked into his store. On the TV was Jordanian nationalism. A woman dressed like a fire fighter was singing about Abdullah while the images shifted between her singing and Abdullah riding tanks, or watching military parades. I was prepared to pay big for these shoes. The man charged me 4 USD for them. I should have bought 10 pairs! He was very kind.

We made it back yesterday around 4 in the afternoon. It was really fun and only a little hot. I reckon this will be my last trip there for a long time, and I’m glad it was so nice. Once again the people and the food and the shopping were outstanding. Wonder how the election will turn out…


Blogger Weeping Sore said...

Your taste in shoes is as refined and understated as my red-wine-in-a-box.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Miss Carousel said...

There is an ease and loveliness to those photos, and a matched ease in your writing that is really sticking with me.

And the shoes....fantastic!! Did you get a pair for me? Ha. ;)

9:59 PM  

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