Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Checked out the Quneitra now a Ghost Town in the Golan Heights area of Syria after the 1973 War!

So checked into the Al Rabie Hotel cus it cost about $2 less to stay on the Terrace than in this other Al Hamain hotel in a dorm. Yeah it wasn’t a big saving but the thing I liked was the nice commanon area courtyard in the hotel. I could use the courtyard to meet people or do my blog on my computer and then take it to update it to the internet later on. Staying on the terrace was different cus shit they had 17 beds on there but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
I find it more interesting to see the recent history of the Israeli wars than the Roman ruins, etc. So since I went to Qana in Lebanon to see some results of the war. I also wanted to go to the Golan Heights in the southwest part bordering Syria, Israel and the Palestian Territory. The Golan Height was originally part of Syria but they lost it to Israel during the Six Day war of 1967. Then after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 a delicate truce was made where by Syria got back a portion of the lost territory. A demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was also set up from a few hundred meters to a couple Km. No one is allowed to travel thru the Golan Heights we can visit the ghost town of Quneitra. So hey I was all for checking out the place.
Then met this German dude, who I had met before in Beruit, who was also heading to Quneitra. So we decided to go together to save on taxi fare, etc. We split a taxi to get to the Ministry of the Interior to get a permit to go into the DMZ zone. Then we took a mini bus to just outside the Golan Heights and negotiated a taxi to take us to Qunietra as there were no buses there.
Then we had to take a guide cus we weren’t allowed thru there without one. He could speak passable English but he was basically along to ensure we didn’t go into places we shouldn’t go or take pics we shouldn’t. I took a pic of the checkpoint into the town and another of a soldier in the blown up hospital. The guy told me to remove the pics so I gather they didn’t want pics of Syrian s oldiers in Quneitra.
I realize that this dude was there also to make sure we stopped to see the destroyed hospital, church and mosque. Cus I figure they want ppl to take pics of buildings like these as they make better propaganda pics. I’m basically neutral in my views of the dispute so propaganda doesn’t sway me. Hell I’ve been to Israel and found the country interesting but didn’t think the people were as welcomng or friendly as the people in Syria! But I can’t judge them from that one visit as I’ve met many Israelis travelling who were very friendly and warm.
We saw the barb wire fence that’s separates Qunietra and the Israeli side. When we were there they were having a picnic celebration for some women and children so we weren’t allowed in one area of the blue line as it’s called. We were also told by other people that once a year some elderly people are allowed to meet relatives in the DMZ area.
I found all the disputes between the Israelis and Palestians plus Syrians and Lebanonese very interesting. I learned a lot from my visits in Syria and Lebanon plus talking to other travelers about the history of the disputes. But feel that I would like to know some more so when I get home I plan to read some books on the history of the war.
So now it’s off to see some Roman ruins and a stay at a monestary!

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