The Crazy Cabby

Trip Start Nov 03, 2008
Trip End Jan 10, 2009

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Flag of Syria  ,
Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hey People
I am still shaking from my traumatic cab ride experience.  This morning I caught a service cab from Beirut to Damascus.  Since this was my second service cab experience I was a bit wiser, I negotiated a non-smoking cab and bought two seats for $40 so I could enjoy the entire front seat to myself.  But shortly after the driver pulled out of the garage I was wishing that I chose a seat in the back.
The vehicle had no seat belts and the driver thought he was driving in the Indy 500.  There wasn't even a holy crap bar above the window to hang onto, I was completely defenceless.  As there was no chance in hell that I was ever going to fall asleep on this journey with the driver so recklessly weaving in and out of traffic and intermittently slamming on his brakes, I occupied my time by counting how many near misses we had with other cars.  By the time we reached Damascus the tally was up to 69, with 24 of those being potentially life-threatening.  The only time this guy slowed down was to go through one of the many Lebanese military checkpoints. 
When we crossed into Syria, we passed a truck full of military recruits.  I have never seen so many soldiers crammed into the back of a truck, they were spilling over the sides like bails of hay - a couple could easily fall out and the guy driving would never know.  Suddenly the front seat of a speeding taxi cab did not seem so unsafe after all - there's always someone worse off!
I was going to go straight to Jordan but a nice English speaking student from Damascus going to school at the American University in Beirut convinced me to spend a couple days in Damascus with a promise of a guided tour of the old city.  How could I resist?  Plus I had to pay yet another $56 for an entry visa in Syria after leaving for only 3 days so I may as well get my monies worth.
Take Care

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