Saturday, 10 January 2009
Damascus Day 2
Internet access in Syria is quite an experience. Yesterday I had to learn that certain sites are fully or temporarily blocked by the state. Common sites like Facebook are not available at all. Blogs, like this one, are sometimes accessible - enshallah. It is also quite challenging to access Arabic websites as you can see on the screenshot. On the door to the internet cafe there is a sign that you should present your ID for some unimportant formalities ;-) Nevertheless yesterday the guy beside me on the neighboring computer had an interesting chat with a member of the Hamas.
Our day today was quite relaxed. We walked through the souq and also got lost. The best thing to do is to have a Turkish coffee, have a chit chat and keep on walking again until you get to a bigger street. We also have visited the national museum. It is in a very, very poor condition. It doesn't reflect the long history of this country at all. Later, Edith and I have been at a traditional cafe. That was again a great experience. Over hundred men sitting in this cafe, playing checkers or backgammon, smoking shisha and chitchatting.
The Israelis are not very welcomed in this area. Since Turkey we have noticed an outrage against the war against the Hamas. The media is full of dead or wounded children and we have been often asked about our opinion in this conflict. There are also Israeli flags on the street you can step on...
At the end of the day we had a highlight. We found a nice restaurant with a big menu. I decided to try some Syrian specialties: lamb brain on lemon with mixed salad and raw, minced meat. It was quite interesting to eat and made a great picture. I hope to upload it soon. Tomorrow we will travel to a place called Palmyra. It is located 3 hours from Damascus and is a spectacular ancient site. We will return for the last evening in Damascus before we depart do Amman/Jourdan at the next morning.