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Journal Entry Days 23-25

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 26 April 2009 | Views [394]

DAY 23

 

 

I thought that I lost a day but I was confused (how unusual??)

 

Up at 6am and ready to leave Jordan for Syria by taxis.

 

We managed to squeeze 12 people and all their luggage into 3 ordinary taxis & I mean SQUEEZE for the 3 hour journey ahead.

 

The border crossing is in sections and you need to pay tax here, get your passport stamped there, get your passport stamped again, and fill out the blue card , get that stamped, get your luggage checked, then your passport again.

 

Finally, we arrive in Damascus, the oldest, continually inhabited capital city in the world.

 

It is much larger and busier than I imagined.

 

Our international taxis which we caught in Jordan can not take us to the hotel so we have to stop just outside the city and get into local taxis from there.

 

There were several local taxis where we stopped and the drivers were basically surrounding us and some were even hanging in the windows of the taxis screaming for our business. There was mass confusion and how we all managed to get to the hotel, and with our luggage I will never know.

 

The hotel was quite old and interesting and in the middle of everything. We do however have wireless internet in our room YEA!!!

 

The traffic and driving is almost as crazy as Cairo (if that is at all possible??)

 

Dinner was at a local recommended restaurant with lentil soup, pita bread, hommus, etc. and fantastic salads.

 

 

DAY 24

 

Today is the Sabbath (Friday) and it is like our Sunday. Damascus is almost deserted until late afternoon.

 

Families walk together late in the day after church, dressed in their ‘Sunday best’

 

Most of the market stalls are closed and all of the outside shops including take away food.

 

We did find a fantastic restaurant for the group to do dinner with great food and loads of history and atmosphere (see photos)

 

 

 

DAY 25

 

 

A much busier day today than yesterday. People working, shopping and just out and about in general.

 

The market or souk is amazing, there are streets and alley ways leading off all the main market aisles which seem to go forever.

 

You can buy everything from soap powder to wedding dresses and all things in between.

 

There is an amazing ice cream shop included in the photos where they just slap the vanilla ice cream in a huge pile almost directly on the bench. It is sold very quickly.

 

The spices, lollies, dried fruit etc. are piled high in large open containers (again in the photos)

 

We had the best and cheapest lunch! 5 mini, fresh, homemade pizzas for a total of $1.80 Australian. They were delicious!

 

After lunch we took a 3 hour public bus ride to Palmyra (a touristy town famous for roman ruins)

 

An expensive, not particularly exciting set menu dinner at a nearby restaurant and then back to the weird, cave bar downstairs at our hotel (see photos)

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