Vegetarian heaven (hello falafel!)

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Spring Flower Hostel

Flag of Syria  ,
Monday, February 8, 2010

When people say that Syrians are quite friendly, its a bit like saying that Poland can occassionally be a tad coolish in winter. After 2 days in the country, we have the names, addresses and phone numbers of 3 different people who we met on the bus/street/hostel and who have offered to show us around.
The markets are an array of colour - spices, nuts, buckets of yogurt, pyramids of cheese and pastries (and cheese pastries). Some market stall vendors ask where we are from, and then refuse payment for our fruit or falafel kebabs. Some of them also ask if I am a girl... evidently my baggy coat and beanie are not the most flattering.

With Samir (Lebanese) and Cody (Alaskan), we visited ruins including the castle of St Simeon - famous as the guy who spent his life sitting on an 18m high pillar dispensing wisdom to the pilgrims below and refusing to talk to women. It is a lovely change to find such beautiful sites almost abandoned and silent amid herds of goats. Our tour also stopped at the Kurdish town of Brad especially for Samir who had come to Syria to visit the final resting place of St Maron. The village was packed with buses and crowds for the 1600th anniversary of St Maron. We asked Samir whether it was an anniversary of St Maron's birthday, which set him off into hysterical knee slapping laughter "no!! the anniversary of his death - it was 1600 years ago, you think we know when his birthday is??"
The church, complete with temporary marquee for the crowds, is crammed to bursting so we head out past the cop cars and landrovers with guns on the back seat to look at the ruins. Realising that this relates to the political factions in Lebanon, we decided to check out the farthest ruins we could find.
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