Day 231: And the title goes to…

End of the day at Aleppo

It’s our third night in Syria, haven’t quite adjusted to the hot dry desert climate (roughly 40C daytime, more bearable in evenings). First stop was Aleppo, and culture shocked once off the bus. Everything in Arabic. Tried to learn reading it but gave up shortly. Must be how westerners feel when trying to read Chinese.
If such thing as an “Over Friendly City” exists, the title would go to Aleppo. Seriously. It’s impossible to walk 50m without someone smiling at you, saying hello, welcoming you to their land, or even stopping you to chat. I was a little overwhelmed by my sudden newfound celebrity status, at times feeling like a human magnet… Plllleeeeaaase, I don’t want to be rude but the castle is closing soon, let me go….!!

Smell the spice?

Walking into Aleppo’s old city was like a flashback to our trip in Fez, Morocco. The souq (middle eastern market) is proper (ie nothing like the touristy bazaars in Istanbul), a real assault on the senses: small trucks squeezing impossibly through narrow labyrinth lanes, men pulling cartloads fighting for a way through human traffic, aroma of spices suddenly giving way to the pungent smell of raw lamb-meat, children running shouting and jeering, konichiwa’s and nihao’s, ok time for a breather!

Water Wheels of Hama

Today, late afternoon arrival at Hama – city of the wooden water wheels. Visited Serjilla and Al-Bara en route, dead cities from the Byzantine era that are now ruins scattered between Aleppo and Hama. Also made a stopover at Apamea, an ancient Roman city with a colonnade mainstreet running 2km long. Beautiful, but that’s a lot of stones to see in a day. More to come, Syria has some fantastic ruins of mid east.

Dead City: Serjilla
Roman Ruin: Colonnade street of Apamea

Starting to feel tired. Maybe it’s the thought of a tough journey ahead, maybe it’s the nostalgia of hanging out with good ol’ friends (missing Ray & Domico!). I’m actually reminiscing that settled-down lifestyle(!): walking to work, lounging at home, oversleeping on a king size bed, grocery shopping for dinner…

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One Comment

  1. Leslie says:

    Love the photo of the water wheels! I’m so happy the wind was at your sides! There are plenty of us that are living this so called ‘settled down’ life, don’t you worry nothing has changed! So keep living your topsy turvy road you’re on so we can live through you guys!

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