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

Hey figure Damascus is a cool city to hang out like in the Old City, was allowed to visit a Mosque & hiked the high hill north of the city!

Poor fısh ın lıttle water ın 30 C

Yeah Damascus really like the city cus it’s easy to get around for a city of approx 4.5 m. which has a combination of mini buses and taxis. But what I like most were the regular sized buses u see in most cities that were on about 25 cents and were convenient to take. It was especially good to take in either direction to get to a so called bus station to go either south or north of the country.

I stayed in this Al Rabie Hotel which is in the center of Damascus close to the Old City. In the Old City we could pay about $1 and enter the Umayyad Mosque. This Shiite Mosque is an awesome structure which is an equivalent of the Dome of the Rock in Jersualem. It has an inner courtyard and the actual mosque itself and I could enter both places. Hey I always wear shorts so I had to wear a kind of a skirt to enter the mosque but other than looking a bit weird (which I always do anyways) it was no big deal. The women entering have to wear a cover over their shoulders and head which they supply. I found the Mosque very nice to enter cus it was so cool inside the courtyard and the mosque even more so. Hell there was this German dude who would go to the mosque to chill and read his book in the heat of the day. But like a lot of the people there he would end up napping. The real cool thing about the mosque is that we could take pictures inside. It seems that there are a lot of people from other cities and countries like lran on bus trips.

The Old City is pretty large and takes a while to walk around the place. But to me it was like one big souk and to me unless you’re looking for something in particular. If you’ve seen one souk you’ve seen them all! But I could remember when I lived in Jeddah in Saudi Arabi there were specialty souks. Like there was the leather souk, the carpet souk, the clothing souk, the shoe souk, furniture souk, etc. We used to joke about the various souks and even invent the names for souks if we found a number of different items in a particular souk! So in most case it narrowed down the souk you visited to get what u wanted.

I did a lot of walking around Damascus and must say I never got lost. No I take that back cus one day I took a bus to the Iranian Embassy and decided to walk back. Well they have these massive traffic circles with about 5 or 6 streets converging. So when you’re walking and dodging traffic to get across the streets, well sometimes you end up on the wrong street. So that day I ended up going down the wrong street but hey got to see a new part of the city and eventually cut over to the correct street.

Check out the cool skırt I had to wear to the Mosque cus I was wearıng shorts (what else?) but hey just tryıng to set a new fashıon trend to go pray!! ha ha

Damascus has a couple of high hills on the north end of the city. So thought shit it would be a great view of the city from the top. So talked 2 French & an Aussie guy to walk up one afternoon. Heck a lot of houses built half way up these hills. So we could walk up these narrow steep streets which u would think are too narrow for cars. But shit these people would drive their cars or trucks down hese narrow streets. We figured they did this cus they were too lazy to walk. We were at about the last street when this Syrian guy yells hello to us and invites us into his house. Well it was a building but it was like he was a squatter. Hell he had bare floors and of course a tv with a satellite dish like 90% of the Syrians. His place was a bit of a shit hole but he was really friendly and wanted to give us tea as he had only the one beer he was drinking. But we had to continue our hike up the hill so we passed on it. But shit the guy had a million dollar view of Damascus.

The hike up the actual hill was not too bad except for the little thorny bushes that really pricked your feet or legs. Shit the 2 French guys wore sandals up the hill while the Aussie and I at least wore hiking shoes or shoes! But the one French dude worked in a National Park in France so he was like a mountain goat. The Aussie was at home on a surf but was no hiker and called the hills mountains but shit he was making a mountain out a molehill, ha ha! It got kind of steep in places and over rocks and I don’t do rock climbing very well. But we all made it and it was a cool view of Damascus. What amazed us in the view of the large city was the amount of green space they had in the city.

It was kind of nice to get out and hike up a hill and get out of the city. I really liked Damascus and I have to say the people of Syria are all friendly and nice. They are honest as on the way back we stop for some pastry. One of the French guys dropped the equivalent of $3 and this guy comes running after us to return it. They are also helpful as they go out of their way to show you places if you ask them for directions. The only thing that bothers me about the people are they all stare at me and wonder where I’m from. But that’s no different than the people in Africa. But hell I keep saying shit haven’t they ever seen a short, bald, stubby, older, guy of Japanese descent with piercings and tattoos wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts travelling their countries before! But some can speak some English and they can’t wait to come and ask me questions. Another thing is I don’t understand why we have to show our passports to use a computer at Internet Cafes?

The Al Rabie hotel is a cool place to stay cus it’s easy to meet other travelers in the courtyard common area. I slept on the covered terrace dorm which has 17 beds all about 1 foot apart. It’s not for anyone who likes their privacy and space. It still costs 400 Syrian lira or about $9 but that includes breakfast. The last night I stayed there this American guy asked a bunch of us if we wanted to go out for a drink. I was waking up early the next day to leave early so I turned down the offer plus I haven’t been doing a lot of drinking as I want to just travel. So guess this Iranian guy was one of the only guys to take up his offer. I don’t think this guy had ever drank cus he came back around 230 am and barfed all over the floor. I was told he only had a couple drinks and got really sick. I slept thru all of it but they had to move a bed near the barf over to the otherside of the terrace by me during the night! I figure this set the US – Iranian relations back 50 years! Ha. But the hotel and the travelers I met there were not Partiers who travel but are like me Travellers who will party! Sort of got tired of the Partiers in South and Central America, Barcelona , etc who travel and who are out to meet people of the opposite sex! I haven’t really seen those types in Africa and the Middle East but hey each to their own. I just don’t have any time for these English Gap year kids and certain Israelis who travel in packs after finishing high school, a year of college or finished their army service. They’re fuckin noisy when they come back to a dorm late at night and the English Gap year kids act like they’ve never been away from their parents before. Got no use for the fucking noisy kids as it makes it a shitty experience for people who like to do serious travelling! Met a lot of weekend partiers in the Barcelona Kabul hostel and tho I enjoyed myself there well must say these kids turned me off the hostel and city! In fact it turned me off travelling thru Europe completely but have a short trip to do to Amsterdam at the end of July so hope that isn’t like that!! But if it wasn’t for my German friend who wants to do a trip together well I wouldn’t do it! But I like doing things for and with good friends!!

But all in all I’ve been really impressed with Syria and if people back home have any negative thoughts about Syrians or Arabs then they should visit Syria!!!!1

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