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Melantrys’ Page » Blog Archive » Trip to Damascus - pt. 3

Trip to Damascus - pt. 3


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Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

On Sunday I finally showed Caesar the vegetable market.
That way I had an interpreter and a bag carrier all in one person, hehe.
Apart from that, I seemed to be paying less for the vegetables than I had when I had been on my own. Not that it mattered much to me with Syria’s tourist-friendly prices, but nevertheless…

When we had returned to the house, my guide took off until I was done cooking and eating. (Especially the cooking can take quite some time with me…)

He ran into Amer, who promised that the “cleaning lady” would come at 9:30 to fix the tv problems. When he hadn’t shown up by 9:40 we thought of Saturday and left.
Shortly after that Caesar got a call from the dude, and we walked back. Fortunately it didn’t take him very long to fix what had been wrong, whatever exactly that had been. Seemed to have been some problem with the wiring.
Soooo we shopped for some coke and a phone card and watched some tv. :)

What a boring day, eh? Here’s a pic to darken brighten it up:

Al-Gharbiye (western) minaret
the Omayyad Mosque’s Qad Bey minaret by night

.

Monday, June 4th, 2007

On Monday I changed another € 100 at an exchange office, then we bought some drinks and grabbed a taxi up to Jebel Qassioun (Mount Qassioun), which sits just north of Damascus.

Well…… actually…… before that I forgot to pocket my cell phone, realized it while we were just about to leave “my” house, hastened back up the stairs and around the corner leading to the first floor… and ran face first - smack! - into the metal stairs that are leading up to the next floor. Ouch…
The impact of bone on metal sounded rather loud to me. Come to think of it, I never asked Caesar if it had been as loud for him. He did enquire about my well-being from around the corner though, so he must’ve heard something.

At a huge roundabout our taxi driver got stopped and harassed a bit by the police. Can’t they at least stop empty taxis for that…?
There we were, sitting in the back of the cab, with no fresh air getting inside, slowly starting to boil…. and wondering: “Should we get out and flag down a new taxi…?”
When I was just about to suggest that, our driver returned, and we continued the trip up the mountain.

Once there, we walked up and down a bit until we found some nice spots to gaze out over Damascus and snap a few photos from.
Caesar tch’ed me for taking the first picture below, but the view from the mountain is the view from the mountain, and that was the direct view down over the little wall we were standing behind. Besides, it is kind of a hobby, nay, duty of mine to take un-tourist pictures wherever I go. See the famed “Broom behind Pillar in Umayyad Palace” photo I took last year in Jordan.

view from Jebel Qassioun 1
View from Jebel Qassioun…

view from Jebel Qassioun 2
… from left to right…

view from Jebel Qassioun 3
… all across Damascus…

view from Jebel Qassioun 4
… the sprawling capital city of Syria.

view from Jebel Qassioun 5
the roundabout

A close-up of the roundabout our taxi got stopped at. (You can also spot it on the second panorama view of Damascus, not counting the first picture. ;) )
To the left of it one of the ever-present huge pictures of Bashar that can be found all over the city.

eye
the eye is harder than metal

My - thankfully - not-black eye with the bruise from the impact neatly hiding in the eyebrow. I was equally thankful for not having suffered the mother of all headaches for my carelessness.

Back to the storyline.
Taking the above pictures - and a few more - exhausted us so much that we had to sit down on a bench and gaze out across the city while having an occasional sip of the soft drinks we had brought along.
It can get quite windy up there, and I was glad I had a hair ribbon in my pocket, or else I wouldn’t have had much of an undisturbed view. Well, ok, I was habitually carrying that hair ribbon around, for the taxi rides.
Anyway, a lot of people come up Jebel Qassioun, so all of the buildings along the road at the top are cafés and suchlike of course. Not surprisingly there also were some pedlar kids around, trying to sell us chewing gum and the like and doing their best to entice Caesar into buying from them by wishing him that our relationship may be endlessly beautiful - or was it beautifully endless? - and similar things.

When we had sat and gazed enough we took a taxi back down again.

We walked around a bit in the modern city, then tried to find a restaurant. Eventually, we found a take-away one, even one that made excellent falafel sandwiches, which we ate in some park around the corner. The good food made me greedy, so we went back and got another falafel sandwich for me to eat and some falafel (about 20 for 25 SP1…) and hommus to take away.
We met up with B. and O. at an internet café because they had offered to take us or me along on one of their sight-seeing trips. But their plans for Tuesday and the following days were so vague that - despite their solemn promise that they’d put me on a bus back to Damascus should our ways part for some reason - I really didn’t feel like travelling with and relying on them. Hell, even Caesar hardly knew those guys!
We made up some excuses and left again.
Were I blessed with Second Sight I think I’d still have made the same choice.

While browsing on the internet just now to research some facts I came across a picture that helped me locate a rather important landmark in one of the above pictures. You might still remember it.

Omayyad Mosque from Jebel Qassioun
Spot the mosque!!

See? I circled the Omayyad Mosque. My lodgings were aaallllll the way over there! :D *beams at you*

.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

I breakfasted on the hommus and falafel and some bread, did some laundry and caught up on my diary. (Yes, I know, you’re starting to curse the day I bought it, dear audience, as keeping that diary sure is making the posts about this year’s holiday way longer than last year’s. Mwahahahaha.)

Caesar had to take his brother, who had suffered a sunstroke, to the doctor and then go and fix a pc at work (he had taken some days off, but grrrr…), so he was naturally being rather late.
He had some of my lunch (peppers, zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions - for those who are interested), then we went to the spice market, where I bought some curry and sweets.
On our way back we were overtaken by two garbage collectors2 who - instead of sweeping up and collecting the garbage - seemed to be racing one another. Ohhhhhhkay….
We dumped my purchases at the flat, then Caesar took me to another old city gate marking the outer border of Bab Touma (the quarter), the Eastern Gate or - in Arabic - Bab Sharqi.

For some unknown reason I only took pictures from outside of the old city wall, thus - this being the eastern gate after all - looking from east to west. Early evening was slowly approaching, which might explain some of the shadows… ;)

Bab Sharqi with 13th century minaret
Bab Sharqi with 13th century minaret

To the left of the minaret you can see the main gate (for wagons or - these days - cars), through which you can spy a bit of the street beyond.
To the right is one of the two pedestrians’ gates; a bit hard to make out much of it in this lighting though, my apologies.

Bab Sharqi and view into Straight Street
Bab Sharqi and view into Straight Street

On this picture you get a better view of the main gate and Straight Street (Via Recta, or Shari Mustaqim3, depending on which century you are currently being in)

To the left you can see one of the city’s feral kittens demonstrating the correct use of the second pedestrians’ gate.

My dear children! Let us pause a while, close our eyes, take a deep breath and reflect on the Bible.
In Acts 9:10-19 it says:

And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

The above mentioned “street which is called Straight” is indeed Straight Street. A very humbling thought concerning the history and age of the city of Damascus.
I did not go and seek the house of Judas. It is said that the church that had been built there to commemorate this important biblical event has long since been replaced by a small mosque.
Commemoration these days takes place in the alleged former cellar of St. Ananias’ house - the Chapel of Ananias (more about that later).

St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church
St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church

Just a bit further to the left you can see the Armenian Apostolic Church peeking over the old city wall.
We kept on walking in that direction along the wall until a bird4 shat onto my head. :bigeyes: Then we headed back again and begged the use of the sink in their toilet off the people at a restaurant just outside the gate. Damn crapping animal.
Caesar claimed that it’s lucky to get shat upon. :shifty:

On the way home I bought some vegetables - including fresh okras - and a couple of bottles of coke and Fanta. I ended up carrying all the veggies while Caesar insisted on carrying the drinks. You could watch his arms getting longer and longer and starting to drag on the floor, poor man.

Later, we tried going to the closest internet café but their connection was down. They claimed it was an overall problem but another one around the corner was online. Voice chat was impossible though, as the volume and sound/connection quality was just too bad for that.

hommus, falafel & bread
a late dinner of hommus, falafel & bread

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Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Caesar arrived surprisingly early. I was still lying on my bed, wrapped in my bathing towel, and reading while drying off, when he gave my phone a few rings and knocked at my door.
:bigeyes: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I jumped into my clothes and let him in.
After a quick - ahem - breakfast of warmed up leftovers from yesterday :) we left the house.
We had not walked far yet when we had a very shocking experience.

no white car
WTF! OMG!! The white car is gone!!!!!

The white car was gone.

It had been sitting on that little hill - day in, day out.
And then it was gone.

Anyway, we finally mailed off my postcards back home, then took a taxi to the National Museum.
The taxi driver apparently dropped us off at the backdoor of backdoors. Confused and slightly lost, we wandered around until we found an entrance, but that was a back entrance, and they sent us to the front entrance halfway around the building.
At the front entrance they sent us away as well to first get a ticket from the ticket booth at the front street entrance. Mwah.
Things would have been so much easier if the taxi had dropped us off at the right side of the building…
Well, at least we got to see a lot of the park belonging to the museum.

Unfortunately, it was forbidden to take any photos, and there seems to be no official English language website for the museum. The best I could find is this link with information and this one with at least a few pictures.

Some of the exhibits had no plaques at all, some only Arabic or Arabic and French ones. Most had English plaques as well though, although quite a few consisted of some funny English.

Caesar seemed to particularly be taken in by fertility goddesses (clutching their breasts) and statues and statuettes of naked men. ;)

During our tour of the museum I urgently had to - ahem - powder my nose, for which task we got sent outside to a café on the grounds, behind which the toilets were hidden.
The…. down-to-earth kind of course. But at least they were clean. w00t.

We must’ve spent about three hours at the museum.
When we were done looking at the exhibits - and worrying the guards who occasionally came peering around the corners at us when we seemed to be having altogether too much fun - we bought a few more drinks for thirsty me and ambled back home.

Suddenly, we were starving, so I cooked the bamya with onion, tomato, zucchini, parsley and garlic. For a while I was sweating and trembling while preparing lunch. One of these days I shall have to have a few very strong words with my capricious blood pressure about it ganging up with the rest of my body against me and going into shock for no reason at all. At least this time it only was a very mild one, probably brought on by low blood sugar as well.

dinner
dinner

Caesar must’ve been really hungry, as he got himself a second helping. Well, so did I.
After lunch Caesar wandered into the kitchen, sadly (I guess) eyed the sink that was filled with pots and other stuff that had been needed for cooking and asked if he should just put his stuff in there as well. I said yes, but for some reason he washed his plate and fork anyway. Good boy.

We settled down in the living-room and watched some weird movie about a vitual actress. Very, very weird movie. It was called “S1m0ne”.
Then it was soccer time. :-|
Iraq versus North Korea in the second round of the qualifications for the 2008 Summer Olympics. They even won 1:0. Yay. I suppose.
From halftime on we mostly watched “Meet the Parents” on another channel though. A double yay for that.
After Caesar had left, I updated my diary in front of the tv until it was past midnight and “24″ had ended. I was tired, so I dragged myself downstairs to bed.

.

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

That morning Khalid called me to tell me - again - that he’d arrive on the 12th. He asked - again - when I’d leave Syria and then threatened to shoot me should he not like me. :eh:
Good old Khalid. You just gotta love his charm…
I immediately SMSed 13 and demanded that he protect me, but he just messaged something vague about Khalid being harmless back to me. No, really?

Baaaad Caesar was late again this day and arrived long after I had eaten my lunch.
We went and photocopied my passport for Amer in one of the side alleys of the Suq Al Hamadiyya.
Then we wandered around the city looking for travel agencies and book stores with English language books

The travel agencies there didn’t seem to be much into Syrian historic places and more into trips to the seaside or other countries.
We did manage to buy tickets for a trip to Palmyra though at one of them. Ancient ruins in the desert - that sure sounded interesting.

Out of desperation I bought “The Da Vinci Code” in one of the bookstores we had entered.
A bigger store someone had pointed us to was already closed, so we decided to check that store out some other time when it was hopefully open.
Why out of desperation, you ask? Easy. The book had been praised just a bit too much. I mean, seriously, most stuff that gets such a lot of praise turns out to be rubbish.
In the case of this particular book though I was positively surprised.

cool water 1
Hm, looks like someone left his water…

cool water 2
… in the freezer section of the fridge for too long…

It wasn’t me!!!

.

  1. € 0.375 - or $ 0.50 - at that time. [back]
  2. I suspect it is because of the narrow streets here that garbage in the Old City gets collected by men pushing around metal trash bins on wheels. They can make quite a lot of noise early in the morning.
    People just throw their garbage bags (or their garbage) into the streets, and those guys come and pick it up. Not a job I’d like to be doing. [back]
  3. or more commonly known as Suq et-Tawil (the long market) and called Suq Madhat Pasha from the monumental Roman arch on anyway… [back]
  4. Or an early bat? [back]

79 Responses to “Trip to Damascus - pt. 3”

  1. ph Says:

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    By the time I finished reading the post I had totally forgotten what I wanted to comment about :oops: the only thing that stuck in my head was the falafel :heehee: never seen onion ring shaped falfels before they must be hard to make ? Sharp eyes by the way I had to zoom into the photos to see the roundabout and the mosque ;).

    salaam

  2. David Says:

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    Too tired to read this one at the moment. Wow, Damascus really sprawls! Back again tomorrow. :)

    I have every confidence that I have been promoted to the exalted second comment position, the previous second and third having been deleted forever and the author banned for life!

  3. Melantrys Says:

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    @ PH: Senile, hm?

    I don’t know, maybe there’re special fancy falafel moulds. Don’t forget that I already had heart-shaped ones on my first real day there..

    @ David: I knew you wouldn’t just sit down and read it. :P

    Yes, indeed. The author has not been banned (yet - if I get called bitch again, he sure will), as I felt I should give this person the chance to probably read my post first (which I don’t think he did) before leaving another rant against western tourists.

  4. eamonn macfuckgeez Says:

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    lady, if you dont wish to be called bitch. I have the power to throw you out of this country like a rat. and i dont need to continue reading your post after that hideous picture of the mosque and how it was to darken (sorry) brighten your day. because that mosque caused your day to darken, i will give ten thousands reason why it should be darkened again and again. you are not a friend of this country, we are very hospitable to friends.

  5. eamonn macfuckgeez Says:

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    crusader alert, this person should deported

  6. Mafdet Says:

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    @eamonn macfuckgeez: It was a word-play. It was DARK, she took the pic at NIGHT so she wrote darken/brighten.
    God, some people are so stupid!

  7. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, maybe you should have read more to see what kind of person I actually am instead of just assuming.
    Like my sister just explained, it was a word-play.
    Actually, at first I only had written “brighten”. I had not much to write about that day, the picture was taken on the evening of the day, so I included it to increase the passage’s worth: it is a beautiful picture!
    But as it was night, and it is dark in the picture, I saw the clash between my choice of the term “brighten” and the dark picture, so I thought it would be funny to include the crossed out “darken” - as a simple reference to time of day and resulting darkness of picture. An author’s little game on words.

    It never even crossed my mind that the sentence could be interpreted in a sinister way. And that is because I would never think that way.

    I repeat: read before you spew insults against ppl.

  8. eamonn macfuckgeez Says:

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    this is a country where you are not given the benefit of the doubt. obviously we have so many enemies: the last this we want to sleep with the enemy inside this house that we love so much.

  9. eamonn Says:

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    (not much to write about that day) in syria, at day does not end at 00 midnight. it ends somewhere in the unforeseen future. Now I bet you can write more about that day.

  10. eamonn Says:

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    why dont go and learn hebrew in israel and see how nice the people are there and how clean the streets are, reck your our rede the passage from the holy bible is fraught with meaning… if you just can read between the lines. I am the best of readers.

  11. Melantrys Says:

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    *sighs*
    Well, if you do care to read more, you will find that I’m not much of a fan of your political system. But I wasn’t much of a fan of the political system of the former Democratic Republic of Germany either, so I guess that makes it ok. ;)
    But I don’t give a damn about all that Axis of Evil crap, cos that is precisely what it is: crap.

    Quite apart from that, political systems seldom reflect their ppl. Ppl in the Middle East generally are very hospitable. I did not set out to insult Syrians.

    You might consider that lashing out at ppl for all the wrong reasons will cause you to have more enemies though, while giving someone the benefit of the doubt might eventually lead to a beautiful new friendship….

    Well, “sorry”, I did not always have time to sit down and jot down notes about every day, and I am rather senile. For that particular day that is all I remember. Maybe we were lazy and didn’t really do more. Could be.

    Not quite clear about your Israel reference.
    If I encounter dirty streets, or funny or freaky incidents, I will write about that, be that in Damascus, Tel Aviv, New York or Berlin.
    Actually, the house I rented in Damascus was much cleaner than some of the cheap places I have been renting in Germany at times.
    And if someone spooky stalks me at the suq I will write about that too. And you know what? With a huge capital city full of Middle Eastern tourists and refugees, I don’t even have a clue whether that guy was Syrian or not. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. Cos spooky assholes can be found in every country.

    I am just a cynic.

    I was quoting the Bible, not discussing if every word inside is absolute truth or not.
    Fact is, the Bible was written a very long time ago, and it does mention a particular street in Damascus.
    The conversion of Saul was a very important part of and for the New Testament.
    And it is written. Doesn’t matter if it just said “Straight Street in Damascus” cos that sounded better than, say, “in a sorry old hut in a ditch on the way from X to Damascus”. It is written, and it is what ppl believe.
    And it was written almost 2000 years ago.
    That alone is awe-inspiring. That Damascus is so old and was so important even back then.

  12. eamonn Says:

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    I am just tired of israelis coming here with a german passport and taking intelligence from the country (like the ynet reporter who came here not so long ago and went to deir ezzour) this is not the only thing i am worried about. I love lattakia very much, and i had a chance to see photoes of latakia in travelpod by some crazy lunatic who posted 29 pics of beduins. there are no bedouins in latakia. but this is exactly what he came here for: to take pics of beduins in an arab country. nothing i will make will change that orientalist image of the country i love. we have been under constant pressure for years now. we have had enough. there are people here. real people, intelligent people, not just goddamn mosques and beduins.

  13. eamonn Says:

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    it has become a very tiring experience to google syria: lots of hatred in the world, and for what? at some point damn the road you just have to say enough is enough. i am not a beduin, i am not a muslim-fascist, there is much more in syria to offer than those two categories. and we recieve you well ppl. we love you for coming here while there is such great pressure, everyday talk of war. if you really love this country or at least not hate it, you can do a bit more than what you are doing. this is not the result of what we have been doing, but rather world politics which made two disticnt categories: either with us or against us, there is no mid way. now in a couple years there could be a war on syria, more devastating than the war on iraq, and what do you care. i have to care about that. i have to live here. and who is going to recieve syrian refugees like we recieved iraqi refugees: none. like we recieved armenian refugees: none: like we recived st paul: none. and all you could post is picture after picture after picture of this mosque or that: in fact i had an impression you came here to take photoes of mosques and falafel goddmn it-and falafel.

  14. eamonn Says:

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    though i have to admit that the mere act of coming here under such circumstances demands counrage. but i am not going to be sorry for anything. i am just tired of seeing pics of mosques by people who in thier own souls would rather have these mosques demolished.

  15. eamonn Says:

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    Außerdem, liebe Dame, ich kann es sich nicht leisten nicht ein Fan von
    unseren aktuellen politischen Systems. Und Sie wissen es

  16. Mafdet Says:

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    Um… Now that’s a bit rich: “i am just tired of seeing pics of mosques by people who in thier own souls would rather have these mosques demolished.”
    Hello?
    You don’t KNOW my sister. She would not want mosques demolished.
    Why should she? She doesn’t hate you or Syria or Syrian people or any other Arab people, for that matter.
    She went there to visit a friend.
    During her holiday.
    She enjoyed her stay and she took pics of mosques.
    Tourists do, you know.
    If you visit a foreign country you see lots of things that are very different from all the boring things back home.
    So you take pics of them.
    Because they’re interesting.

    You say you are no fanatic. You know what? I believe you, but I wish you would stop acting like one.
    Save your hatred for people who want to harm your country, not for people who visited it and enjoyed their stay, ok?

  17. eamonn Says:

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    dont get me wrong, but i would like to see a couple mosques demolished, thing is i just dont like it when these ideas are placed within a eurocentric discourse, or a colonial discourse. we would rather look for similarities not differences when touring, especially in this cynical age. and i bet your sister’s friend is christian, in the suburb of bab touma. but in any case i am also getting tired of this conversation. i was once in the uk and was told to bugger off to where i came from. the people who told me this did not have to take pains to spend a god gieven day explaining themselves to me. its high time we showed some national solidarity and stopped acting friendly with people who betray our hospitality. is your sister a friend, i dont care, we are 20 millions here in syria we can do without a charity. the best a german can do is ‘protest’ in a christian like manner when there is a war to be waged. but what will tht help for? its high time all syrians stopped being nice.

  18. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, Eamonn, if that matters, I am a true German passport holder.
    The thing is, every Israeli who wants to go to Syria would have to resort to deceit like that, I assume (considering that an Israeli visa would have rendered my Syrian visa null and void…), no matter whether he simply wished to go an a holiday, report positively or report negatively on Syria. Just saying.

    Hm, a beduin in Latakia, preferably on the beach…. ;)
    Well, if I had seen Beduins I’d have taken pictures as well. Putting them into context might be a good idea then though. (And 29 sounds rather a lot as well.)

    But like my sister said, if you travel to far places, you take pictures of the things you do not see at home. Like, say, Beduins and mosques. There aren’t any true mosques in Germany. Oh, there are apartment buildings with “Camii” signs hanging outside. But a “true” mosque is an impressive building with a minaret, just like churches are impressive buildings with bell/clock towers.
    So of course I took pictures of the Omayyad Mosque!
    And pictures of falafel. I’ll have to wait till August again to actually go and buy falafel when there’ll be a booth selling them at the medieval market a town in the vicinity has. Or I would have to make my own again, but that was quite some work (although they tasted very good, even if I say so myself).

    And don’t forget that these Damascus posts are about a holiday I made. No matter the reasons why I chose Syria for that, in the end I was there to hang out with a friend, have fun and gather new experiences.
    That is what I am writing about.
    I’m a bit quirky, so my posts will be quirky. They’re just there to tell my online (and indeed real life) friends (and possibly the odd stranger) about what I saw and experienced there. Hopefully while doing that they’ll also be somewhat entertaining.

    Oh, today’s hate doesn’t only focus on Syria, ppl have become rather paranoid towards Muslims in general, no matter where they live. Ppl can be so short-sighted and prejudiced.

    “either with us or against us” - now you’re starting to sound like Mr Bush. Just my little joke. You see, before the Iraq war that is exactly what he told the German (and French) politicians when they refused to support him.

    Well, no, I am living in a rather safe little country, but please don’t presume what I care about or not.

    I don’t think a war on Syrian soil is that imminent though (if you mean from the direction of the US). Bush won’t be president for long anymore, and I doubt the next one will even want to keep the troups in Iraq for long. Bush really got burned with his war on Iraq, and a huge group of the American public wants their troops to come home, no matter how many Iraqi lives that might cost in the end.
    So I don’t think anyone will feel the urge to launch an attack against Syria. The president who did that would really piss off the American public for good.

    Yeeees, Syria let a lot of Iraqi refugees in, just like Jordan. And these countries were left alone to deal with the flood of refugees by all the rich western countries, I am ashamed to say, my own country amongst them.
    But Iraqis are not always getting treated well in neither Syria nor Jordan, if truth be told. And these days a lot of them get forced to go back to Iraq.

    You see, the Caesar that gets mentioned in my posts is not the resurrected Roman Emperor but an Iraqi blogger whom I came to meet in Damascus, as we had become rather close friends over the net.

    And - believe it or not - I was already caring about what was happening in Iraq and to Iraqis before I came to personally know some through blogging.
    I just do care if bad things happen somewhere on this world.

    You are presuming again. I do not want to see mosques abolished, quite on the contrary, I wish my fellow countrymen would stop spinning Islamist conspiracy theories every time someone wants to build a real mosque (with minaret and all the trimmings) in one of our major cities. It’s pathetic, the mud-slinging they will stoop to.

    I don’t know about the courage of going to Syria. Returning and passing German customs sure took some more courage. ;) They seemed to be highly suspicious of a lone traveller returning from the Axil of Evil.

    Well, it would be polite if you at least regretted the names you called me.

  19. eamonn Says:

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    and why did she have to delete my german post, was a linguistic approach to a possible friendship too good to be true. i have learned you are so keen on using german, and i did at least attempt using the langauge. if you think what makes us special is mosques and beduins you are so mistaken, for even i when i see a moment of truth, even i can speak with tongues like the disciples after the destruction of babylon. some people just need to learn how to listen, and i read your whole of your sisters blog, and i can say it is not bad as other blogs in which people claim to be our friends, and if i had known she was a woman from the beginning i would not have said a word. because you see post-colonial discourse should be coupled with gender discourse.

  20. Melantrys Says:

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    Ah, you’re presuming again.

    Yes, the “go back to where you came from” approach sadly seems to be a universal flaw of “western hospitality”. It is especially “clever” if it’s being used on some Arab looking person that has been born in the country he or she gets told to leave.

    And, no, my Iraqi friends are all Muslims, some of them rather devout.

    Ah, so your new email address wasn’t genuine either. I explained why I deleted the comment. It was meant as a favour to you!

  21. eamonn Says:

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    you are killing me with your niceness but yes my email is true

  22. eamonn Says:

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    and yes i do a regret i called you names, i wont say its not me, iam an occassional bugger

  23. eamonn Says:

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    i will refer you to a paper by perle dating back to 1996, called “clean break”, if you dont think syria is going to be attacked. and a later paper by neocons thinktanks asking to destabliise syria through lebanon. and what did detlev mehlis do?

  24. eamonn Says:

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    i am sorry though i pryed on your privacy, since both mossad and your “real life” friends have access to what you have to say. let them now read what i have to say.

  25. eamonn Says:

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    this wraps up my comments.

  26. Melantrys Says:

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    Hm, did the evil email goblin eat my mail, or did you simply not check for mail yet?

    Either way, I thought it prudent to remove the comment. Feel free to repeat yourself if you really want everyone to be able to read that, or I could try posting it again and editing the time stamp; maybe that’d move it to the original time it was posted. I have never tried that before.

    Well, that is good. Then I won’t have to stoop to calling you a teez. ;)

    Ok, I am also hoping for some common sense here. The world does not need yet another war.

  27. Melantrys Says:

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    As I wish to some day return to Syria (*hints urgently at the Giving Money to Nice Ladies Fairy*) for another holiday or 2, I do hope no-one who could deny my visa will read this, as I do have the odd political issue with Syria, like I said.
    But on the other hand, the worst thing that can happen to me is a denied future holiday, and I’m not letting that keep me from writing things the way I see them.

  28. eamonn Says:

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    i sent you an email already. yes i am involved with denying visas; indirectly. but i am a man who works by the rules; i just cant deny you a visa just because you posted a picture with a comment.

  29. Melantrys Says:

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    Found it.

    Well, I hope the ppl in the embassy here in Germany will see things the same way you do, whenever I will apply for another visa. ;)

    I’m afraid the bigger problem will eventually be my own country’s radar picking up on me for travelling to “suspicious” countries that often.

  30. eamonn Says:

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    the embassey sends visa applications to what is called (attaches branch here in damascus, which sends the applications to another branch where i work) now if say i have a translated copy of your website, i will be able to do miracles: the man at the embassey who will eventually grant you the visa is one of ours, that is an officer at syrian MI. good luck though, i have had enough discussion for one day.

  31. Melantrys Says:

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    Hm, just when I think we’re starting to get along, you go all weird on me again….

  32. 13 Says:

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    Mel: please do not feed the walking talking waste of oxygen.

    “even i can speak with tongues”

    !!!!

    “in syria, at day does not end at 00 midnight. it ends somewhere in the unforeseen future”

    =))

    Orwell much?

    Mel, i take back the no-feeding warning: this one’s a keeper!

  33. Melantrys Says:

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    Hm, make up your mind, habibi.

    Orwell?

    :yawn: This cold/bronchitis is eating my brain.

  34. eamonn Says:

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    you know what, you are right 13, talking is a total waste of time, this was my point right from the very beginning. now i am starting to see real germans on this sight. as for your friend, she cam only try obtaining another visa. thats the last thing i’ll say (saving the oxegen)

  35. Melantrys Says:

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    Real Germans? 13???? Presuming again. 13’s an Iraqi.

  36. eamonn Says:

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    He ran into Amer, who promised that the “cleaning lady” would come at 9:30 to fix the tv problems. When he hadn’t shown up by 9:40 we thought of Saturday and left.
    Shortly after that Caesar got a call from the dude, and we walked back. Fortunately it didn’t take him very long to fix what had been wrong, whatever exactly that had been. Seemed to have been some problem with the wiring.
    What a boring day, eh? Here’s a pic to darken brighten it up: (Syrians do not keep their promises: Iraqis who fled their country because they did not want to face up to the neo-crusaders are, what a magnanimous character Caesar is, how cynical he should have this name) it passed your attention that MAYBE Syrians cant just go into your house (you being a foreigner) because MAYBE someone in the SMI was keeping an eye on you. Does the SMI have a reason to keep an eye on you? And a good one too. And the taxi accident my dear unwitting lady shows you exactly that maybe taxi drivers (SMI recruits) were passing information: where does she go? Who does she meet? At what time does she exactly go bed, oh, and, you will love this: does she have a cold or a hot shower? Another foreigner writing about my people and the only people who met here are themselves foreigners: what an experience: next year I am due in Spain: hopefully, I will get to make acquaintance with lots of Germans! And I will take photos to match the photos of the garbage next to Umayyad mosque: lots of drunken german and English people throwing up on the lovely beaches of spain

  37. eamonn Says:

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    how about that? Here is another very interesting passage that I will have to translate as adequately as possible: (Besides, it is kind of a hobby, nay, duty of mine to take un-tourist pictures wherever I go. See the famed “Broom behind Pillar in Umayyad Palace” photo I took last year in Jordan.) hm: broom behind the ummayad: in Jordan!!!! Another very interesting passage (To the left of it one of the ever-present huge pictures of Bashar that can be found all over the city.) (I did not go and seek the house of Judas. It is said that the church that had been built there to commemorate this important biblical event has long since been replaced by a small mosque.) (the white car was gone): somebody is going to lose his job in Syria! (I immediately SMSed 13 and demanded that he protect me, but he just messaged something vague about Khalid being harmless back to me. No, really?) so 13 is another Syrian faggot, eh, we must for sure know who he is! What if he was an Iraqi? What if he needed to renew his visa? Better still, what if he was from *****?

  38. eamonn Says:

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    i will teach this iraqi fucker to respect the hand that feeds him, along with 2ooo ooo other iraqis.

  39. eamonn Says:

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    all what he could care about was his cock and the ways in which he coule fuck his way through germany (i waoder what the german home office will think of this)

  40. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, the only one proving who he really is are you now: a dirty minded racist.

    I guess 13 was right after all. We should report you to your ISP for abuse…

  41. Melantrys Says:

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    How dare you question the moral integrity of me or my friends in such a dirty way?!

    Shame on you yourself for having such a dirty, twisted mind.

    And for trying to justify your racism with “arguments” and threats about secret police and your exhalted position in the visa office.

  42. ph Says:

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    Sorry for intruding, but if I was you and with my fair amount of experience with what this person claims to be. It would be best to ignore him, delete his comments and if he isn’t in a middle eastern country report him to his ISP.
    To me it seems like he is bluffing either to get more out of you or because he thinks he is funny; either way whats done is done and its better to just ignore him and end it :).

    salaam

  43. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, I blocked his IP now; let’s hope this is the end of it for the blog.

    Am gonna keep the “charming” comments for a while though, as evidence, as the dude had the nerve to report my email address for abuse, and I gave hotmail a link to here for reference.

    Just act naturally, peeps, and write some nice comments on my post, as if this whole thing wasn’t there. ;( I need some cheering up.

    PH, is your weird email address for real? :P

  44. 13 Says:

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    oh noes! i am the afraid!

  45. ph Says:

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    “if this whole thing wasn’t there. ;( I need some cheering up.

    PH, is your weird email address for real? :P”

    So, if you need cheering up you pick on me ?:P Actually it was a name of a computer game I used to play in the 80’s so when I was thinking of an anonymous email name for my blog it came up :D.

    Didn’t I say I had experience with these types of people ?

    salaam

  46. Melantrys Says:

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    Hey, I wasn’t picking on you. :P You gotta admit that your mail address sounds like a fake, made up one.

  47. ph Says:

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    well that it is …………. isn’t it supposed to be? I mean from you past and present experience don’t you wish you had one like it :lol:

  48. Melantrys Says:

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    *laughs*

    Aye.

  49. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    Good God, what have I been missing?! :bigeyes:

    I dropped by to leave you a link,Mel, and what do I find? Well, actually I don’t know since I haven’t read through the post or comments yet. :confused:

    Anyway, I saw this the other day and thought you may like it. *whispers softly* Don’t ask what I was doing watching the cooking channel. :blank:

  50. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, catch up on it as long as most of it is still online. As soon as I get a positive answer from Hotmail, this filth gets deleted.

    Incidentally, what were you doing watching the cooking channel?

  51. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    Well, Good God, indeed! I see you’ve been trolled. :shock:

    Hmmm…maybe that recipe will cheer you up. :) Or at least keep you busy for a few hours! :lol:

    Okay, so let’s see…a normal comment on your post…

    Cucumbers? Mel, really, cucumbers?! The Eggplant was bad enough! ;) At least you redeemed yourself with the other ingredients. I love just about anything with tomato in it. :)

    And you’ve gotten me to read more of the Bible then I’ve ever done.

    Unlike whats-his-name, I enjoyed all of the photos. I love night photos. Or sunset or sunrise ones.

    “The Davinci Code” was good, but I liked “Angels and Demons” better.

    Caesar seemed to particularly be taken in by fertility goddesses (clutching their breasts) and statues and statuettes of naked men.

    :rofl: :rofl:

    That naughty man!

    Lovely post, Mel. Don’t let the trolls get you down. ;)

    P.S. You know, I really miss the preview feature that haloscan has. That way I can check if I’ve screwed up on my tags. *sigh*

  52. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    Incidentally, what were you doing watching the cooking channel?

    *sigh* My mother likes it and I was watching television with her. And really it can be interesting. I’m always amazed at how easy others make cooking look! :) Everything you cooked look very good, btw.

  53. Melantrys Says:

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    Yes, I have indeed, and I have fed him instead of doing the Delete & Ban right away. We live and learn.

    Well, the eggplant bit of the recipe sounds ok. Sorry, don’t like most of the other ingredients, lol. But thank you for the thought. :)

    Yes, cucumbers. Why not? Caesar’s first reaction when he heard that I cook cucumbers was something along the lines of “But, but, but, you can’t cook them! :sick:
    So after that meal I asked him how he had liked the cucumbers, and he went like “Oh? I thought that was zucchini.” :D
    You do? Caesar is addicted to tomatoes as well. ;)

    Haha, well, I’m not much of a Bible reader myself, but I found this on a website (using one of those modern English Bible translations) with info on Damascus, and then I googled until I found a Bible website that could give me the right words. I don’t know why I care about that, guess it’s the nitpicking part of me. The Bible has to has quaint old language, not modern English or whatever.
    I particularly liked my introduction to the passage, because preaching the Bible is so unlike me… :rofl:
    I guess What’s-His-Name figured I was really preaching though… *sighs*

    I don’t know; I liked both books; got myself “Angels & Demons” later on in Damascus. :)

    Hm, maybe I should have added that the goddesses were clutching their own breasts. Wouldn’t want anyone to think Caesar was fingering the exhibits. ;)

    Yeeees, preview is nice, but don’t forget that Haloscan does not have my staggering range of smilies.
    Omar (the German one) had preview on his blog for a while, maybe I should bother him one of these days with annoying questions….

    Thank you. :) According to Caesar it also tasted good. :)

  54. David Says:

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    Well, I was going to read some of the post, but when I saw the comment tally I got curious. Sorry to see that your very impolite guest returned with a vengeance! That guy needs to get some help before he goes postal.

  55. Melantrys Says:

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    So you poor man didn’t get around to reading the post at all, hm?

    Well, I don’t know; I have started to wonder about his mental state, for his weird mood swings alone…

  56. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    Wouldn’t want anyone to think Caesar was fingering the exhibits.

    :rofl:

    Oh, poor Caesar! Not here so he gets talked about. ;) :lol:

    I have started to wonder about his mental state, for his weird mood swings alone…

    They’re all over the place, Mel. You wouldn’t believe the crap I’ve had to put up with over at Zeyad’s. And just recently I ran into a couple of poisonous “Anonymi” over at the Kid’s. *shrug* How they can think I care what people like that think is beyond me!

    Hopefully you have seen the last of whats-his-name. If he shows up again you can try Mohammed’s line (which I thought was good) “Please give us the pleasure of your absence”. :)

    Now I will skip over and see if my trolls have been back…

  57. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, maybe Caesar should acquire the loan of an internet connection and speak up against us evil women. ;)

    Yeah, I saw your friends over at the Kid’s. But - annoying as they are - they are at least logical. They don’t like you for some reason and post filth. They’re being consistent.
    They don’t pretend to try and get friendly with you after all (he even apologized again in an email that day when talking seemed to get through to him), only to come back next day with even worse abuse.

    This Syrian dude is just way weird… He sent me an email this morning full of derogatory crap against Iraqis (and me - and a few more veiled threats), and how they should have put them into camps at the border. But of course he isn’t…. what did he say? “i am not a muslim-fascist” Well, maybe not an Islamo-fascist (I think that’s what he meant), but his anti-Iraqi rant was sure showing some strong fascist tendencies.

  58. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    Yeah, you’re right. My trolls are somewhat rational. Yours sounds seriously twisted. Malice is one thing, dangerous is another. I hope he gets tired of harrassing you. The e-mails could get very annoying. Maybe try sending him to junk?

  59. David Says:

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    I really like those arches at Bab Sharki and Straight Street! Sometimes I think about building my own mini arch. ;)

    Sorry I haven’t felt much like reading lately. I’ll try to get to it though.

  60. Melantrys Says:

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    Yeah, ppl have their problems, and there I go, posting picture after picture of arches….. ;)

    What, you mean, you have only been following the comments and not my fabulous post?!

  61. pizza stone Says:

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    He especially enjoys one that is loaded with veggies. Cook
    the chicken first in a little olive oil - cut the chicken into
    little cubes. Once the consistency is there,
    I knead for about a minute.

  62. Alice Says:

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