Thursday, 9 September 2010

No.386 Of Muckamore - Antrim

It was our last day today before flying home and what a belter it turned out to be. We toured the ancient ruins in Palmyra which were mightily impressive. We then hopped on a bus and headed back to Damascus and the souq in the old town to spend the remainder of our Syrian money.

I really loved the people of Palmyra. They all ask "where you from?" and when you reply "Muckamore, Antrim" they respond "Welcome". Yesterday's taxi driver invited us to his home to meet his family last night and we sat crossed legged on his lounge floor opposite his lovely wife and three young kids who stared at us intensively like there was something wrong with our mouths as the words came out all funny. Over the long half an hour we sipped sweet Syrian listened to the driver repeat his 5 words of English then sipped more tea.

There's a real warmth about the Syrian people. They're down to earth, very unpretentious and quite natural. My sort of people.

The souq is great fun. Youngen is clearly getting annoyed with me wanting to bargain for everything. He says things like "I can't believe you spent the last half an hour haggling over $2" but that's half the fun. Later this evening we're off to the souq again to a bar which features a well known Damascus storyteller. Apparently he's the last of a dying breed of Arabian storytellers. Folks turn up from all around (including tonight Muckamore, Antrim) to hear him recount traditional stories. Here's hoping tonight will be The Arabian Nights in English but somehow I doubt it.

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