Squat toilets in a ghost town

Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
Trip End Sep 26, 2010

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Flag of Syria  ,
Saturday, September 11, 2010

We left Aleppo and made our way to St. Simeon's, some old ruins where a crazy man used to live. He did strange things to himself like puncture his neck with spikes and other bizarre activities. People used to come from all over to see him and he got tired of this so he eventually erected a giant rock pole and lived up there for quite some time, but people continued to come see him. Poked and climbed around those ruins for a while and got some nice rock-surfing pics before heading onto Sergilla ghost town two hours away. This is when people started getting sick. Everyone was complaining and lots of people had bad stomachs. I don't know if it was a mental issue but I started feeling a little off as well.

Anyways as we made our way through the Syrian countryside we kept seeing lots of 12 year old kids dressed smartly hanging out in packs. And wielding BB guns. You couldn't go more than 100 metres without seeing a kid with a BB gun. They shot at the bus a few times but most kids waved. Some waved and then shot when we waved back. A Syrian version of Punk'd, I guess. We made it to Sergilla and wandered around the ghost town there for a while but there wasn't much there to see. I had a lovely encounter with a squat toilet. Damn it! I had managed to avoid these in India, Asia, Africa. Syria got me! Lots of other people had bad stomachs too. This is supposedly quite normal for people coming into Syria from Turkey.

We continued on to our destination for the night: Hama. A few more stops along the way for people to run off into the Syrian countryside and do their thing. Mostly amusing for me. Hama was the same as Aleppo yesterday. A lot of shops closed down for the holiday and most of the locals have cleared off. They have been replaced by little pikey kids from neighbouring villages. Just groups of 12-15 yr old boys all running around with BB guns. I even got plunked a few times on the arm as did a few others from our group. Little bastards!

Not much going on here tonight, we took a quick walk around the town to see the waterwheels Hama is famous for but none of them were running, also because of the holiday. Luckily, tomorrow is the last day of the holiday so things should get back to normal in Syria. Let's hope. Kids with guns kind of ruin the experience.

I did pop out of the hotel quickly for the night to take a walk around and the town had actually become quite lively, so it was nice walking around and checking out the nightlife. I also found a pretty tasty falafel wrap.

In the morning we headed straight to Crac des Chevaliers. It is a very well preserved crusader castle and I spent 2 hours checking it out and finding all the dungeons and high viewpoints. There was a moat there as well between the outer wall and inner wall of the castle. This was clearly designed to keep the black knight at bay. After conquering the highest point of the castle, it was time to hit the road again. Back onto the bus and then a 3 hour straight-shot east to Palmyra.
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