Long-awaited updates

Alright, so I’m finally getting around to writing about spring break.

What to say? Our first big obstacle was getting through the Syrian border, and after six hours of waiting very patiently, making sure to be as cheerful as possible thinking it would somehow influence the border agent (as if he has any power over whether Damascus approves our entrance or not and how fast), we got in. We arrived in Damascus at one in the morning and collapsed.

The next few days we just sort of roamed all around the Old City, seeing the Souq al-Hamidiya, the Umayyad Mosque, Azam Palace, and old Damascene houses. We made friends with one of the merchants we bought from, a really charismatic young guy who spoke fluent Italian and English and of course Arabic and a little bit of Farsi, and he invited us out that night for dinner, and later drove us to Jebel Qassioun right outside of Damascus to see the night view. It was a perfect night. Damascus night life is so different from night life in Amman. Everyone in Damascus is out walking, eating, hanging out in the parks, until at least 2 in the morning–young, old, families, couples, everyone. It’s so much fun and so full of life. Amman on the other hand sort of dies down around 11, and then the only people out are in cars, going to clubs.

Damascus is just so walkable in general, and so green and beautiful. Here are some pictures:

in the old city

in the old city

in the old city

in the old city

perfect old Damascene house

perfect old Damascene house

Also, I felt right at home. Every single shopkeeper we met knew a little bit of Farsi at least, picked up from all the Iranian tourists who visit Syria. And then there was this:

img_1528

Yes that’s right, that’s Ahmadinejad (President of Iran), Assad (President of Syria), and Nasrallah (Hezbollah leader). I guess it makes sense but it’s so kitschy to see their bright smiling faces from a restaurant sign. Anyway they love Iranians there which was a nice relief; for once I wasn’t afraid to tell people I’m Iranian, whereas in Jordan and Lebanon I feel really uneasy about it.

Alright I’m super tired so Lebanon tomorrow.

–June

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