BootsnAll Travel Network

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

I am in!!!! Syria, check. Who loves me, Syria does, that’s who. Why do these countries even try to keep me out? They should just have a sign that says, “Nobody allowed (except Steve.)”

The funny thing is, my LP guidebook pretty much spells everything out, but it is everyone else that makes it more complicated that it really is. Okay, I did all the preliminary, don’t go to Israel and get a stamp thing. Fine, no problems, just a little hassle, but I made it through without a scrap of evidence that I had been anywhere near Israel. Okay, the Syrian embassy fiasco was a bit of a hit, but there was a fair warning in that if you are from a country that has a Syrian Embassy, you are required to get your Visa there. That little obstacle was the reason for the detour to Lebanon. Now, Lebanon was in my sights already, but it was supposed to be a mid-break of my travel through Syria as Lebanon is basically surrounded by Syria and the Med. The guidebook pretty much stated that it is no problem getting a Syrian Visa at the Lebanese border if you can get into Lebanon first. Hell, the Lebanese Visa was a piece of cake as I flew in and got it at the airport. Just a little bit of a passport inspection, but nothing much. A couple of weeks bopping around Lebanon and I was ready to give it a try. Luckily, the border is only a hour and a half away from Beirut, and if I failed I would just have a short drive back and then make my decision to either fly to Turkey, Fly to India, or Fly back to Jordan (Mes). In the end, it was take the bus to the border, explain to the driver that it was okay if they left me as I knew it would be a while, wait for the Immigration officials to fax over my request form to the Consulate in Damascus, Turkey, and then two and a half hours later I had my Visa. All for only $16US. That was it. In the end, it was maybe $50US more by flying to Lebanon versus if I paid the $120US for the Visa in the US. Subtract the cost of transport to Lebanon and pack plus and other Visa costs, and it was almost the same. Sweet. I made it to Syria.

My first stop was at the capital city of Damascus. Unfortunately the getting in part was a lot more fun that the capital was. Damascus is a nice town, don’t get me wrong. My pre-impressions were that it was going to be a really backwards ass town as it was not the easiest for Westerners and therefore no Western influence (basically Sudan). Well, it was just another Middle Eastern capital city. Probably bigger and sprawling than most because it was out there in the middle of the desert versus many who have the ecology to deal with. Nice streets, electricity, Universities, cars everywhere, cafe’s, and also a splattering of old ruins, citadels, walled cities, etc. At the moment I am verging on Middle Eastern overload, so with the exception of this amazingly good little ice cream shop where locals and tourists line up for their one flavored ice cream (topped with pistachios at least), Damascus was just a couple day lay over.

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