Friday, June 26, 2009


Still here and exploring and no pictures?
Praveen is slowing getting all the paper work done again!!! to join me in the next few days- Indian Burocrasy for you, love the place but do find the paper pushers a bit tiring....oh well life is full of taking the rough with the smooth, and as Praveen would say "it is the Indian way, my dear." I think even he might enjoy a bit of Australian cut and dry in this case.
So Damascus pretty good, in fact very enjoyable and relaxed.
It is warm to hot but the dry heat of a desert culture so not too swaety and as long as you cruise along you can go all day.
Cruising is the pace of life here, a gentle stroll even to cross the road, cars everywhere and you just wander out at a leisurley pace and everything seems to work fine. Glad I was trained in India the pace is much more of a stroll than I am used to and if you go too fast it can confuse things.
I have learned when traveeling to look at what the locals are doing and imitate them- after all I am in their country....and it really helps to get along comfortably.
Yesterday I came aross the Azem Palace [I am travelling blind at the moment, all my travel notes and research are with Praveen- I do usually put them aside and wander anyway but I at least refresh my memory in the evening- still wandering blind is my tried and true way of finding the most interesting things!!]
Loved the Palace and especially appreciated the signage through out in Arabic [which for me is nearly non existant- I can recognise the name of Allah- so all is not lost...and I must admit it is starting to get me curious as to what all the rest says- I can decifer Hindi simply because I could not stand not knowing the sounds of the words...still in most cases I do not yet know what they mean but I do know what they sound like!!] and English- so kind of them.
My favourite piece of information was right in the front door, giving a pedigree of the Palace- here is a shortened version
Palace was built on the remains of the Golden Palace of Tangiz [1312 AD] who built his over the Green Palace of the first Umayyad Ruler of Damascus [680 AD] which restered on earlier Byzantine, Roman and Hellenistic ruins...wait for it...which were over Persian and Semitic Levels, no one is sure who was there before....
Damascus claims status as the oldest inhabitated city in the world....certainly has been around when ever anything was happrning in terms of history as taught in the west.
Pretty amazing and laid back place.
Friday today and everything is closed, Friday is the special day in the Muslim week and all try to go to mosque at 12.00 midday, beautiful calls to prayer through out the town, I am exploring the Christain Quarter as it does not follow this tradition ...
Just passed the old Roman Gate and the streets around it have all these enormous parts of pillars lining them, some type of sureal art composed of components of the past- what stories have they seen unfold? This is all set amongst the clutter of modern housing and at street level a rather swanky tourist shopping area.
Hope there are not too many typos, I can not reveiw this blog on the web as I don't access to it?Sanctions but from whom- I also don't have access to my paypal account which is to do with sanctions imposed by the west [paypal=USA] on Syria communications...looking for some one to ask more questions here but I think I need tact as I don't want to sound rude...
take care

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