|Christian. Look hard, you can just make out the motif.|
Doug showed us the banquet hall where Romans would sacrifice animals (sheep, goat, horse, camel). The size of the animal decided on the size of their needs. The canal they had to build for the blood and the entrance of the animals is quite large, so it makes me think of animals plural rather than singular. Around this area, they know, are the remains of other levels of occupation, houses etc, but their location so near the temple means they can’t excavate. If they excavate there is the risk the temple will fall down.
A distance away is the main road into Palmyra. People would have arrived on camels to trade, meet, organise, socialise etc. Palmyra was on the old Silk Road until its destruction.
|The road leading into Palmyra|
|Tour group on the top of the ampitheatre|
When we came into Aleppo I started to think even more so, “oh God, what have we done”. The road rules are pretty much non-existent. People do what they like, as they like and I have no idea how there are not multiple car pile ups every minute. Drew spent a lot of the afternoon blasting his horn at people, much the same as everyone else.
On reaching Aleppo proper my negative opinion started to improve. This is a city of about 2 million people and the older architecture is beautiful. It’s very different to what I’ve seen so far. The area also starts to look tidy – as though there is some pride in the area.
We went then to a pub (name already forgotten) where D.H. Lawrence and Agatha Christie stayed and wrote. About ten-ish Ange and I found our way back. It was an odd sensation to be a Western woman walking around because everyone stops and openly stares at you. It’ll take a while to get used to that.
31 August 2010
Woke up after the coolest and best nights sleep I’ve had since leaving London thanks to the air-con.
Flitted around the room for a while, washing some really stinking clothes, then went downstairs for breakfast. It seems to be staple fare to have chapatti, jam, tomato, cucumber and soft cheese for breakfast. I think this is a diet that would suit me. I drink my tea black with 2 teaspoons of sugar and it is divine. Eastern tea doesn’t have the same bitterness as what we’re used to. You don’t need to spoil it with milk.
At 9 Ahmed met us to take a tour of the old city. He’s so cute. He’s 70 something and his first question to us was “Please explain Susan Boyle”. Had to laugh. Helen found it amazing that even in Syria “SuBo” has a reputation.
Ahmed led us down some side streets to show us parts of the new city and an intersection that made no sense and was kind of scary. Once across we were next to the walls of the old city. He showed us the eucalyptus trees that had been burnt in the heat of 48 degree days.
|Wall of the Old City|
|Most of the walls are in this style. It's visually stunning.|
|Ahmed showing us how to pick good soap. Perhaps it was a hint.|
While we were in the shop we were helped(?) by two men. Both of them are incorrigible flirts. I had a shirt on with a keyboard across the chest that one of them kept wanting to play. Unfortunately there is photographic proof. But they loved all the girls. Or more aptly, they loved our boobs. Our “personalities”. The chest playing guy also asked Penny if her arse was real and Bruno was kissed on both cheeks. The chest playing guy was also asking everyone what their star sign was, exclaiming on multiple occasions, “oh my god, we’re so f*^#ing compatible”.
Eventually we were all finished in the shop and shortly after the tour itself was finished. It ended up being a really long day because in all, this tour took about 6 hours where we were told it’d go for about 2. It was a shame really, because while the tour was really good, there was only enough to see in 3 hours. Plus we had Ramadan on, so while we could stop and eat, or drink, it didn’t happen so I think a few of us were about ready to pass out, or snappy.
Agnes had her birthday today so we all went out for dinner. So much food was delivered to our table. After dinner, Ange and I went to check our email and facebook instead of going to her party on the roof. I think we were so tired from the day we wouldn’t have lasted long anyway.