Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hello Syria!

So, I am now in Damascus. Getting here was a tad stressful.
I was out almost all night and so only had a couple of hours of sleep. I had breakfast and then had the counter call a taxi to take me to the airport. About 15 minutes into the ride, I realized I had forgotten a very important thing - my money belt in the lock box at the reception counter. Ack!!! So I had to go back to pick that up. After that getting to the airport was fine. I had no problems at the airport, except for some reason my flight was delayed. When I did get on the plane, it was delayed some more. Luckily I didn't really notice that as I fell asleep fairly quickly. I woke up on take-off and definitely didn't sleep after that. The first 20 minutes of flight were HORRIBLE!!!!! So much turbulence it felt like the plane was bouncing around. I kept wishing I had a handle to hold on to. I am scared of flying to begin with. That didn't help much.
After landing everything was fairly easy and trouble free. Got through the airport without any problems, except one clasp on my backpack is broken. :(
I took the bus to the city center. It cost 75 Syrian Pounds (ticket plus bag), which works out to about $2US. The bus drop is not in the place listed in the Lonely Planet guide book. I asked 3 foreigners that were on the bus (Italian and French), as one seemed to know what he was doing. He has been living in Syria for the past 6 months studying Arabic. The other two are here visiting him (they had lived together in Paris at some point?). They shared their cab with me and dropped me off near the hotel area I wanted to be in. I didn't even catch their names.
The hotel/hostel I wanted to stay in was fully booked. I am in a dorm in a hotel/hostel next door, the Al-Haramain Hotel. I have one bed in a 4 bed dorm, with 3 guys taking the other beds. I think it is not common to find co-ed dorms, so that sort of surprised me, especially in a country like Syria where men and women don't even sit next to each other on public transport. The guys weren't there when I checked in, so I have yet to meet my room mates.
My plan is to stay in Damascus for 2 nights and then catch a bus to Palmyra.
I can luckily access (my blog dashboard) to post things, but can't access my blog. sites are blocked. Strange that I can access one and not the other.
Facebook is blocked here!!!!! Aaaaaaaaaah!!! What am I going to do?

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