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Archive for November, 2007

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Krak des Chevaliers (Castle of the Knights). Hosn, Syria

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

I stayed in a small Syrian resort town of Hama for about five nights. The claim to fame of Hama is the local water wheels. Thats right, water wheels. You know, Walton’s Mountain type water wheels. Big ferris wheel looking contraptions that sit partially in a stream and used the current to turn it and thereby transporting the water or turning an internal wheel for grinding wheat or grain into flour or as a millery. Man it was fascinating, truly mesmerizing. They were really big too, some as wide as 20 meters. That and the groaning sound they made as the wheels and axle were wooden. Actually the only one that is currently working was the mock up miniature one at the bus station, but even that one was a master piece. Okay, I am a big fat liar. I stayed there because the room in the hotel that I stayed had sort of satellite tv. Actually, it was like ten channels, but one of them was “M”BC which was a sort of Middle Eastern Action channel. They had all the shows like LOST, Vroom Vroom, NCIS, a new action movie every day, etc. That, and at 8:30pm, one of the Syrian channels ran CSI Miami. Heaven baby. I watched tv for about 15 hours a day and used one hour to go out and eat, chicken Mensaf, this kind of Tapioca pudding stuff (Tapioca is not made out of fish eyes as told by my sister when I was like 4 and therefore never ate the stuff for 35 years.) which was topped with shredded coconuts (I also hated coconuts until I started living on Islands, but now they are not bad, Beets however still suck ass.) and Pistachio shavings, fantastic. I also sweetened up a bit with this kind of honey covered, nut covered, sweeten granola crust stuff and this filla dough covering a sweet clotted cream rolls. Coke of course was also present. But beyond that one hour of scurrying out for supplies, it was horizontal watching my picture perfect 13” tv. Magnificent.

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Palmyra, Syria: Bride of the desert

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

After Damascus I headed out on a very short and sweet drive across the Syrian desert passing many Iraq turnoffs (pretty tempting). I got dropped just out of town of the small town of Palmyra, home of some of the largest and intact Roman ruins in the Middle East. It is one of Syrias main tourist sites, unfortunately haven fallen times since 9/11 when the tourist flow turned to a trickle. Still, there are bus loads of tourists here from all over Europe and even the America’s. The town did not have much to offer except if you liked Dates (the food variety.) The town was surrounded by date trees, so there were loads of Date stores selling clumps of dates. I can eat a few dates, 8 to be exact before I am dated out so my tourist help to the local economy was focused on my little chicken shop that kept me full with a half roasted chicken on a bed of rice with salad, hummus, pita, and all the tea I could drink. Very nice. They called it Chicken Mensaf which is usually lamb, but I like the chicken.

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What I’m packing: Year two and a half.

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007
*Started trip with. *GoLite Galaxy backpack- 3lbs 9ozs 70 liters capacity Rain cover (Peru) more for dust and breakage prevention. *Khaki pants Jeans (Egypt)-Bought in Egypt as my Colombian designer ones fell apart. Fleece sweat pants (Peru) *Swim ... [Continue reading this entry]

Syria party crashing: I will not be stopped (except for Iran and Iraq- maybe)!!!!!

Monday, November 19th, 2007
I am in!!!! Syria, check. Who loves me, Syria does, that's who. Why do these countries even try ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jeita Grotto, Lebanon

Thursday, November 15th, 2007
Jeita Grotto is a cave with a bunch of stalagtytes (sp?). A very nice tourist attraction and a great change from the normal Roman stuff that I had been ... [Continue reading this entry]

Byblos, Lebanon plus photos

Thursday, November 15th, 2007
Lebanon is similar to Israel and Palestine in that it is a fairly small country physically. This makes it very convenient to do day trips instead of packing up ... [Continue reading this entry]

Photos: Baalbek, Lebanon, The City of the Sun

Sunday, November 11th, 2007
Lion head fountain piece Engravings in the ceiling [Continue reading this entry]

Beirut, Lebanon: Detour to Syria

Saturday, November 10th, 2007
Okay, plan B is in effect. So, with no possibility of entering via Jordan, I took a risk and ... [Continue reading this entry]

Photos: Amman, Jordan

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
No, I haven't turned into a suitcase traveler. Just a girls stuff that I met on the bus from Israel and we decided to hit some spots. distant  ... <a href=[Continue reading this entry]

Photos: Palestine

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
Church of the Nativity Church of the Nativity [Continue reading this entry]