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Melantrys’ Page » Blog Archive » Trip to Damascus - pt. 2

Trip to Damascus - pt. 2


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Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

The maze here seems to amaze everyone. (Well, I guess the more likely explanation is that Amer has friends staying at the house when it’s not being rented to anyone.) During the night someone was hammering at my door, calling “Ahmad?!!” repeatedly. I resisted the temptation to shout back “No, Melantrys. Will you push off, you loud annoying person, you?!” and turned over in bed instead.

Apart from that I had a lovely night. Finally I had gotten used to the noise level outside. Good.
Hence I crawled out of bed at a sensible time of around 11am. That morning a mild drizzle was falling outside - the only rain I witnessed during the course of my holiday there.
By the time I had finished washing a few clothes the rain had already stopped again, so I could take ‘em up to the roof to dry.

Around noon I decided to face my inner demons and fry some lunch. I started off small by cleaning and cutting some veggies.
While I was doing that Caesar called me from work to check that everything was all right. Yes, of course it was.
I finished chopping the veggies, tore off a piece of old newspaper and twirled it into a taper. It doesn’t really help one to overcome one’s fear of gas if one has to light said gas with - basically - a piece of burning paper. I turned on the gas and lit it anyway. I am so proud of myself.

(Please note the hole with the burn mark above it where one of the gas switches should have been and the way the stove swayed when I turned on the gas as something was obviously wrong with its rear right leg.)

Something made me check the tap in the corridor again. It coughed and wheezed and spit, then it was working again. Ghosts.

Caesar called me after work and told me he’d be here in 30 minutes. So when someone knocked - twice - half an hour later I was wondering why he didn’t give my phone a ring as well, but went to open the door.
It was a boy, maybe 6 years old, who looked at me with big eyes while I told him in English that he must have the wrong house. “Baba?” (daddy) he asked, and I shook my head, pointing at me and then upstairs. Reluctantly he turned to go and didn’t yet see the man hurrying towards him from the left… ;)
(Baba = Ahmad???)

The next knocker thankfully was indeed Caesar. And he let my phone ring before knocking.

When he had cooled down a bit in my air conditioned living-room (sitting in one room with me, without me ever having breastfed him, oh! the scandal! :rofl: ) we went and bought some salt and black pepper (which I’d definitely need now that I had overcome my fear of using the stove) and dishwashing liquid.
A man with two kids came into the store, the eldest of whom was the boy who had been knocking at my door. I’d say he recognized me as well, for he kept hiding behind daddy from me.
Then we went to another store and bought a few bottles of coke and brought it all back to the flat. Fascinating, yeah, I know, that’s why I’m telling you.

We wandered about some more, and after having received an SMS from my sister, complaining about the father calling her cos he got no reply from me in the morning, we made the long overdue purchase of a 1000-unit phone card.
In a handy square we sat down on a bench to recharge my phone’s account and send off some SMSs, then moved on.

To the embarrassment of my guide we kept getting lost, so he decided to take a taxi to Bab Touma.
They either wanted to charge a ridiculously high amount of money or wouldn’t go there at all. We stayed lost for a while longer until a police officer was kind enough to point us in the right direction. It had been just around the corner, basically….

We ambled about a bit, admired the alcohol on sale and had a dinner of pizza and shwarma respectively.
Caesar took me to the square at which we had gotten off the taxi on the night of my arrival to see if I’d recognize it. Evil man, testing a senile old woman that way…
But I remembered it all right.

As my poor host had to work the next day we returned to the flat rather early’ish.

By the way, on one of our many rounds across the suq someone said “nice tattoo” in Arabic in passing. *grins manically*

The ants in my flat turned out to be a weird migrating bunch. They mostly stayed out of my bedroom that day and populated the living-room and kitchen instead. Did they somehow take notice of the large number of them that I had squashed? Did they hear me mention ant poison on the phone the other night? Or were they just weird??
Either way, the sofa had stayed ants free (except for a few dead ones, *cough, cough*), but I didn’t trust that state of affairs enough to put my stuff back on yet.

Furthermore I was starting to think that the bed was killing my back…

.

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Got up, showered, dressed.

Cut up two more potatoes, the last zucchini and an onion and bravely lit the stove and heated up some oil. Although I singed my overly heat sensitive hands a bit, I equally as bravely kept stirring the new veggies and the leftovers I had added a while later until they were partially crisp. Now I remembered what I also hate about cooking with gas: the heat.
I also added some of the newly-bought salt and pepper. It’s amazing what this most primitive spice mix can do to the flavour of a meal you have been eating without any spices a day earlier. Tasted like the food of the gods…

cooking
the tools & some leftovers

While I was eating Caesar called to check on me. I padded into the kitchen to escape the noisy air conditioning and saw a piece of zucchini peel I must have dropped. It was covered in ants.

ants invasion
ants invasion

When I had hung up I quickly poured some poison on them and on the kitchen main trail and finished eating.
After doing a bit of laundry, the washing-up and spreading some poison in the living-room, I sat pondering the idea of venturing out into the warren outside on my own. Asking my travel diary to wish me luck, I set out…

I managed to find the suq which made me hope I’d also be able to backtrack later on. This was when I found out the suq was larger than I first thought, as I explored the streets branching off on the right and left.

At around teatime I was sitting on a bench (in the shade, yay) in a square in front of the Agricultural Cooperative Bank, which, incidentally, was the same square we had stopped at the day before to recharge my phone credits. I was quite confident I’d be able to find my way back to the flat.

I decided I had to take back what I had said to Caesar earlier. If a half-naked tourist lady is walking the streets alone the vendors are more persistent and she does attract the odd stare.
Apart from that I was feeling dizzy and short of breath. Ozone or just a mix of rather high temperature and a high humidity level? Guess I’ll never know. (Although my guess’d be on the ozone as that is my usual reaction to it. You may call me the Walking Ozone-o-Meter. :shifty: )
A girl in hijab on the next bench flashed me a friendly smile while I was looking up pondering what next to write. :)
I discovered that I was running out of book, so I decided to use both sides of the pages after all, even though the book consisted of some rather cheap see-through paper. (Don’t buy at our store, even if the note-book cover looks cool, lol.)
When I was done writing I continued my stroll.

I spent ages getting flat feet and working up an honest sweat walking the suq and its side alleys. I even purchased something. A sponge with a rough side to scrub my cooking pot. For… ta-da-da-dum… 5 SP.1

I SMSed some with my friend C. back home and with Caesar. After telling the latter that I was heading home I saw a street I had not walked through yet (If you are about to leave the suq in the direction of the Omayyad Mosque it’s the last side alley to the right.), so I walked into it of course. A guy in an olive-green shirt looked at me and stopped at a stall and let me pass. A while later I noticed he was walking half behind me, which was kind of annoying, so I slowed and let him pass in turn. Shortly after that the main merchandise seemed to have been reduced to old ladies’ panties and huge ugly bras so I turned back and left the suq. When I had crossed the square and was talking a left turn into the alley behind the mosque Green Shirt was suddenly beside me, asking “How are you?” As this meant he must have been dogging my steps for between 10 and 15 minutes by then, I was feeling anything but polite and simply walked on, ignoring him. Unfortunately he kept pace, and it was dawning on me that I should not go home if I didn’t want him to see where I was staying. After a few more paces and some desperate thinking I stopped in my tracks and headed back to the highly frequented square. Right enough, he turned as well…

At one of the Roman arches a couple of men were sitting, two of them in what looked like some kind of uniform. I half-approached them, stopped, crossed my arms and glowered at Green Shirt who was keeping some distance now and staying on the street right in front of the mosque. Either he didn’t quite get the message I was trying to send or he was simply reluctant to leave as he kept hovering. So I approached the guys. Like so many people there they spoke no English. After having verified that I spoke no Arabic and that the gibberish I was urgently addressing them in was English they referred me to the bearded old man sitting in the hintermost corner of the arch. I explained my problem to him, he said something the the young men, and they all shuffled their bums aside to make room for me to sit with them for a while. As my exchange with the men had taken quite some time this wasn’t necessary anymore though. When I scanned the crowd for Green Shirt he was gone. Apparently me really turning to other people for help had spooked him after all. I thanked the men profusely, pointing out that my stalker had disappeared, and headed home, stopping behind corners and watching out for Green Shirt, feeling like someone had dropped me into a silly spy movie. More fun to watch than to star…
I made it home without further incident though.

By the time Caesar arrived I was already pretty hungry, so we stopped at a stall close to the mosque and ordered falafel and mango juice (Germany should be sued for not having mango juice on sale…). While we were sitting and eating the guy from the stall was getting into a heated discussion with an older man sitting at another table. Caesar said it was something about the rent.
A while later an Iraqi couple ordered food and sat down across from us under an awning to wait. Suddenly a cockroach dropped onto the woman from somewhere, and she squirmed and hastily shook it off. They kept waiting for their food, but at an outside table.
After bravely finishing our meal we did some more ambling about which included ambling through the Christian quarter Bab Touma again.
At the square at Bab Touma (the gate) we ran into B. (some American spending a lot of time in the Middle East whom Caesar vaguely knew; ask him about B. if you need to know more) and his local guide O. who wanted to invite us to some huge party with DJs that they were going to by bus, but we declined. We had already been on the way back home anyway.
Not much further on I couldn’t walk anymore, thanks to some evil blister I had developed at the front of one toe, so I peeled off the offending shoes and my socks and continued barefooted. Poor Caesar was constantly being afraid I’d step into pieces of glass or - later at the suq - pins.
We arrived at the square I had been sitting at earlier in the day, and Caesar wanted to turn into the street to the left of the one leading to the suq. So the tourist said to the guide: “Actually, this is a short cut. It leads to the suq.”
We rested a bit on a bench, then continued on our way home.

Shortly behind the mosque we had to wait a bit and then wind our way through a wedding party taking place in the street.
But somehow we made it home.

.

Friday, June 1st, 2007

I needed new food, so I bought a few tomatoes and three sorry peppers at the store next to my lodgings. Payment was achieved by the guy in the store indicating I should show him the contents of my wallet. When I timidly showed him a 50 SP note that seemed to make him happy, so I handed it over and got a few coins back.
On I went to try and find shops with fresher vegetables, exploring side alleys, but not finding any.
Upon returning from one of those alleys one of the many vendors there accosted me. I told him I had no time as I was hungry and looking for some place that sold vegetables, preferably fresh ones. He described how to get to the daily vegetable market (but not without handing me his business card): up the street I had just come from, then to the left, and right into the next street. And indeed there was a vegetable market where I bought eggplants, onions, parsley and garlic (a monstrously huge bunch of parsley for 5 SP, the garlic for 10 SP, evil, half-naked tourist lady cheating garlic vendor…).
On my way up the street to the market an older man kept pace with me for a while, smiling and saying hello. “Just to say hello, be friendly,” he labouriously brought across. I said marhaba, and soon had to add that that was about the only Arabic I knew. He smiled again, increased his speed and said good-bye.
The two young men closer to the veggie suq on the other hand were a major nuisance. One kept doing stuff like indicating the shape of breasts with his hands, saying “I love you” and adding god knows what in Arabic.
They re-emerged after I had finished my shopping and only pushed off when I stopped and threatened violence.

On my way back I thanked the vendor who had sent me to that suq and - once home - set about making some food. Even if I say so myself, it was really good.

food
food

Caesar wanted to take me to the cinema but was somewhat late, so he called me and asked me to meet him at the square in front of the mosque.
The carpet, etc. vendor accepted that I was - again - in a hurry but said that I had to drop in at some time. Yes. Definitely. *cough, cough* :whistle:
I already met Caesar at the steps leading up to the path around the mosque, where he was standing and talking to Amer. We arranged for him to come by Saturday evening to fix the satellite tv.
On we went through the closed suq and grabbed a taxi.

The cinema was showing Spiderman 3 and the Mr Bean movie, the latter of which poor deluded Caesar would have liked to see, but we went into Spiderman anyway.
The cinema was a bit chilly, so we walked out after the movie in happy anticipation of the balmy air soon warming us up again - only to walk into a rather cool and stormy evening. I sure was glad I had brought my long-sleeved hoodie along.
We got lost a bit, had a burger and hommus respectively at a restaurant, then headed back home, making a stop at an internet café.

.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

I didn’t hear the alarm…. again. Nevertheless I woke up around 11, showered and warmed up some breakfast.
Shortly after that Caesar arrived. After hanging around a bit at the flat we headed to the Omayyad Mosque.
I had a long-sleeved shirt and a scarf in my bag, but female tourists had to pay an entry fee of 50 SP2, presumably for the rent of the dreadful, stifling cloaks they have to put on. Don’t let the seemingly low price fool you, 50 SP is what we paid for most inner city taxi rides.
I duely took pictures of paintings, arches, minaret towers and Caesar in the inner court of the mosque.

Omayyad Mosque 1
one of the many famous wall paintings

Omayyad Mosque 2
anti-gravity drive girl in court

Omayyad Mosque 3
one of the minarets peeking over the roof

Caesar (hopping around in a short-sleeved t-shirt) seemed to consider my getup amusing and worthy of a picture, so here it is:

Omayyad Mosque 4
me in fashionable garb & kids playing on ancient cannon cart

Yup, this thing was as warm as it looks.

As my friend J. pointed out upon seeing the kids on another picture, “You can clearly see that this picture was not taken in Germany. German children would not have climbed over that chain to play on that cart.”

What was even less amusing than the heaviness and warmth of the cloak’s fabric was that I am suffering from a mild hypothyroidism. As long as I eat loads of iodized salt that’s no problem, except for me feeling like I am getting strangled if I’m wearing shirts with tight collars. That cloak thingy was way too tight around the throat, and I could not follow Caesar’s advice of simply undoing the uppermost Velcro fastener because the next one was at lower chest level, and I of course had not put on the decent t-shirt over my summer clothing before donning the cloak. I was starting to simmer anyway…

Omayyad Mosque 5
nicely shaded place for making wudu

Omayyad Mosque 6
Tourist woman getting stifled to death by rental cloak?

We sat down in the shade for a bit, then went inside. The mosque is very beautiful, but there was some serious renovation going on, so we didn’t stay for long.
Having been born a Christian I felt I should take a picture of the shrine inside, which is said to contain the head of John, the Baptist.
Funnily enough, only women were allowed to enter the roped off area you can see on the right, to approach the shrine and take pictures. When Caesar tried to follow me he was politely but firmly denied access.

Omayyad Mosque 7
Shrine of John, the Baptist’s head

Afterwards I only felt like getting out of that cloak and getting the hell out of there, so we (sadly) skipped paying a visit to the shrine of Saladin.

Saladin's Shrine
Saladin’s Shrine

At one of the souvenir shops around the square I bought a bunch of postcards for the relatives, friends and colleagues.
Caesar was feeling lazy but said I could show him the vegetable market on the way home. After maybe a third of the way though he got (presumably) kidney pains and - understandably - wished to go back.
He rested a bit at my place before going home for further, in-depth resting.

Shortly after he had left I dozed off on the sofa (yeah, old people tend to do that ;) ), which was not a clever thing to do, as the armrest tried to establish a symbiosis with my head, even with the cushion in between.

Caesar felt better after some rest and a shower and came back over. He didn’t feel like walking around though, so we stayed at the flat, waiting for Amer to see to the fixing of the satellite tv, but the half hour he had promised on the phone stretched into two hours, so we went to an internet café.
It was a wise move to leave the flat as the idleness of waiting for Amer had driven Caesar to trying the contents of several of the mysterious spice and tea jars under the sink. No wonder the man is having weird pain attacks…

At the net café I chatted some with Khalid who only then realized that I was already in Damascus. :heehee: How did he think I had been able to SMS him from a Syrian phone number then…? Poor confused man.
When the connection broke down we left. They tried to cheat me by 10 SP, the buggers, shame on them. Thanks to Caesar I only paid the 70 SP that I really owed them.

.

  1. Which is € 0.075. Go figure it out in your currency of choice yourself. :P Ok, I’ll be nice. At that time that was about $ 0.10. [back]
  2. € 0.75 = $ 1.00 at that time [back]

41 Responses to “Trip to Damascus - pt. 2”

  1. David Says:

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    Mmmm, the food looks delicious! What is that?

    I’ll be back again later for extended commenting. :)

  2. Mafdet Says:

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    Of course the food looks delicious. My sister is a great cook!

  3. Melantrys Says:

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    @ David: That’s fried eggplants, peppers, onions, tomatoes, parsley and garlic.
    Only been looking at the pictures, have you…?

    @ Mafdet: Hm, not always. But that food was yum.

  4. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    Okay, Mel, that food does look delicious!
    *whispers softly* Despite the eggplant. ;)

    And the pictures were great! The mosque and the shrines are beautiful. You look a bit like a monk in that outfit, though. :heehee: And really the color doesn’t suit you. I see you more in forest green or a nice turquoise. :)

    It seems you have become an expert at dodging the advances of Arab men too! :lol: :lol: Smart move going back to the square rather then going home.

    The prices are right, even for the wilted dollar. Sounds like a good place to pick up souvenirs. What can I say, I’m a sucker for that kind of thing when traveling. :roll:

    I hope Caesar didn’t suffer any lasting ill effect from whatever he was eating there! :(

    An interesting adventure, so far. :)

    P.S. You were lucky those ants didn’t carry you away when you were napping. They seemed rather large… :bigeyes:

  5. Melantrys Says:

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    *whispers back* Especially with the eggplant. :)

    Ooooh, the pictures! I had such a hard time choosing which ones to leave out cos I could not possibly post them all.
    *mumblemumblemumblecloak*

    Yeah, evil Arabs… ;)

    Indeed, Syria is cheap for western tourists - except if you want to live on Pringles (same price as in Germany) or send too many SMSs.

    Well, some of the stuff looked rather ancient, but it seems he survived trying it, lol.

    Hope it’s truly interesting. I started to really come down with a cold during the writing process, so I hope it’s as good a read as I think it might be with my muddled brain… *sneezes*

    Nah, those ants only look so weird that you imagine them to be big. The ones with the huge head are normal sized ants, dunno, 2 or 3 mm maybe, and the normal looking ones are rather tiny.

  6. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    A cold? A cold you say? Ahhhhh, I know just the remedy…chamomille tea! ;) Lots and lots of chamomille tea!

    (Yes, I know, you don’t like chamomille tea. That was for that eggplant thingy you wrote. :) )

    Anyway, I hope you feel better.

  7. Melantrys Says:

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    But… but… but… I throw up from tea! :sick: ;(

    Not really yet. Hopefully soon.

  8. Frenzie Says:

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    That… thing looks really bad on you.

    Maybe I’ll comment on the rest of the text after I’m over the shock. :P

  9. David Says:

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    I finished reading May 30th! :) Did you see any nice tattoos in Damascus? I had no idea that you could be so cruel to ants! ;)

    Are you drinking a lot of juice with Vitamin C? It might help your cold to make a faster exit.

  10. bb-aisha Says:

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    ooh, i can’t wait to go to syria & explore. i was there last nov just for half a day en-route from lebanon to jordan. hopefully,i’ll be in jordan n february, & am definitely planning at least 3 days in syria (not enough i know, but all i have) u didn’t mention clothes shopping-i heard the shopping is awesome!

    arab men: i lived in egypt last year but had no problems as i wear hijab. but when my 3 sisters visited, none of whom wear hijab, it was madness. we were followed everywhere, men passed comments, sometimes crude. and only a few heeded my “3yb keda” which means “shame on you” and is apparently guaranteed to deflect attention. I couldn’t believe the same men who treated me with such respect could be so disrespectful by insisting on making unwanted overtures to my sisters.

    about the mosque cloak-on the day i took my sisters to the citadel with mohammed ali mosque attached, my youngest sister had on 3/4 length linen cargo-ish trousers wh a cap-sleeved shirt. she refused to wear the cloak, but eventually had to. I had warned her to cover up that morn-she didn’t listen..

    enjoy reading ur posts

  11. Melantrys Says:

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    @ Frenzie: It does indeed, it does indeed. By now you should be over the shock, so what’s your further comment(s)?

    @ David: One down, three to go, lol.
    Actually….. I don’t think I saw any tattoos there…

    I don’t do juice. I bought Vitamin C powder on Friday though and have been merrily overdosing. Didn’t help so far.
    Am home sick now and hope the antibiotics will be more useful. ;)
    *sneezes*

    @ bb-aisha: Welcome. Well, I had a lot more days than three, and only saw Damascus, so there. You should definitely go and see the Old City; it’s nice there.
    No, I wasn’t clothes shopping; does that un-make me a woman?

    Well, I guess I was wearing a bit less than just not hijab. It is very difficult to compromise between the brain/heart telling you “You’re a guest here: behave yourself” and the rest of the body telling you “Aargh, heatstroke!!!!”
    But then again, if the infamous Caesar of Pentra can keep himself from ravishing me, others should too… ;)

    On the day we went to see the mosque I wore an ankle length pair of jeans (and socks and shoes, so no exposed skin there) and intended to put on a long-sleeved shirt and hijab. But the white woman had to pay the 50SP for the dreadful cloak and a lousy pamphlet about the mosque….
    I think it was as much about making money from tourists as it was about appropriate dress.

    *sneezes*

    Hm, your sister’s cargo pants make me think of the dude we once went to Turkey with. That Ahmed dude who had attached himself to us had told him the day before, “No shorts, wear long pants”. We told him in the morning, “Um, don’t you think you should put on something other than shorts?” He didn’t. And the “gatekeepers” are very liberal in Istanbul. They didn’t mind at all that my sis and me were too silly back then to cover our hair or wear long-sleeves. But they held very strong views about men in shorts. He had to tie a blanket around his legs.

  12. Mafdet Says:

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    And a very nice blanket it was. He looked very fetching wearing it… NOT. ;)

  13. Melantrys Says:

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    :rofl:

  14. Frenzie Says:

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    I’m not quite over the shock yet. You simply look so horrible in it.

  15. Melantrys Says:

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    ;(

  16. David Says:

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    You somehow managed to produce the fabled Ambrosia by adding salt and pepper to zucchini and onion? You need to audition for The Iron Chef Show! ;) Somewhere I read that fried ants are a low fat, low calorie snack that have a lemony flavor. :)

    Scary green shirted story! So, what was up with the old bearded man? How did he come to learn English?

    I ate a mango once. It was pretty good. :) Did you have any pomegranate juice there? I am drinking some of that these days. Its supposed to be the best juice for one’s health.

    Too bad you missed the DJ party. That sounds like a fun time! :)

    Wow! I feel exhausted after this long chapter. ;)

    You are on antibiotics now? That sounds serious! Hope you don’t have to call that horrible doctor with the huge syringe!

  17. Melantrys Says:

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    Potatoes, zucchini and onion. And I don’t even like potatoes…
    Trust me, if you have eaten that without any seasonings, and then add salt and pepper, it does taste like Manna from heaven.

    Ants, hm.
    Sis, who was that, the turtle research dude or one of the other weird ppl you and the guys met on your Turkey trip? Anyway, one of my sister’s holiday acquaintances found an ant in his breakfast honey and pointed that out to the hotel’s waiter - who of course rushed off with the offending honey jar to fetch a new one. Which led to the guy hollering after the waiter “Hey, he’s taking my protein away!!” He never meant to actually eat the ant (I hope), he just wanted to gamely inform the waiter and go on eating that honey.

    I was a bit scared while experiencing the “green shirted story” indeed, yup.
    I didn’t see him doing that but Caesar said that old man was painting portraits of tourists. So being able to communicate other than in Arabic would sure help business.
    It’s amazing so few ppl seemed to be speaking English though; there certainly was no lack of tourists…

    Ok, you can eat mangos here as well. But you can’t buy any juice anywhere. While you can get it everywhere in Amman or Damascus. Not fair.

    Well, I’m not so much into DJs anyway…

    Oh, poor you, shall I write another one? :bat:

    Eh? Doctor? Syringe? Oh, do you mean the asshole who gave me that tranquilizer while I was suffering from food poisoning? That dude is not allowed in my house anymore…
    Antibiotics is good. That means I’ll be getting better now instead of worse. ;)

  18. Mafdet Says:

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    Yep. It was that turtle research dude.

  19. Melantrys Says:

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    Ah, good. Brain rot isn’t complete yet. :shifty:

  20. David Says:

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    Aren’t Syrian men used to European tourist women that don’t dress conservatively? Why were so many men acting rude toward you? Did Caesar have any explanation for that?

    I saw Spidey 3 recently. It was reasonably entertaining. I cracked up when he did the Saturday Night Fever Travolta imitation. ;)

  21. Melantrys Says:

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    Actually, Syria was calmer than Jordan. Caesar felt that - although morals might even be stricter among Syrians than Jordanians - Syrians have more of a “What ppl do is their own business” kind of attitude and will thus stare less at moral-less half-naked tourist women.
    And they did, truly they did.
    Ok, I neither had a stalker nor “pantomime artists” in Jordan, but I got way more stares in Jordan.
    Of course I wouldn’t even be able to tell whether the starers were natives, or - say - Saudi Arabian tourists…

  22. David Says:

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    I have finally reached the last chapter of this post! :D

    How did you get that girl to float?! ;)

    What is that small two story structure supported by columns and arches (in pics 1 and 3 of this chapter)? Is there a well under it? Ok, you have another pic: the “nicely shaded place for making wudu”. There it looks like a fountain. Say, what’s a wudu?

    You look rather like a Vulcan diplomat in your fashionable garb. ;)

    How are German children taught such amazing self control? Did I tell you that I reached under The Liberty Bell (the most famous and historic bell in the U.S.) and moved it when I was a kid? The park ranger lady was quite upset when her bell moved as she was relating its history while standing right next to it!

    Did you see an actual head in John’s Shrine?

    I heard today on the radio that 1.5 Euro is now equal to $1.00. They interviewed some Irish lady who was having a great time buying stuff here. :)

    So, you could take a taxi there for only 50 cents? That’s amazing! Here a short taxi ride costs at least $10.00.

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