was approached by some tourist guide guy ...

Trip Start Nov 04, 2000
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Trip End Nov 04, 2001


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Flag of Syria  ,
Saturday, November 18, 2000


Was approached by some tourist guide guy who said he would call my hotel and check for accomodation. not that old chestnut.
anyway, he looked like Gerard Kelly so immediately took a dislike to him. He called a hotel and they said they would send someone
over so take me to my hotel. About 4 mins later a wee barefoot boy came to get me. I had imagined a van or something, but not in Syria.
It was about a 10 minute dodge thru the town and the souk to get to the hotel which was hidden away behind some stalls selling carpets,
tyres, dead sheep and string.

The hotel manager was very pleased to see me as in the hotel of 20 rooms he had no guests (all keys on the rack behind reception). The rooms
were pretty nice, and he showed my one with a nice view over a building site. Good price good price, you like. Only room available etc anyway i turned
to go and he showed me another pretty good room for about half the price. Too desparate. I didn't want to get stuck in a hotel with
no other guests and go out my brain being on my own as had almost happened in Istanbul.

Anyway, wandered about a bit with my backpack weighing heavy but found an ok hostel up a side street
where all the shops sold plumbing spares. Spring Flower Hostel, lovely. Inside it was a bit of a hole but it was busy which was cool.

Met a chap who was cycling thru the middle east who was company. Went for some dinner (falafels and cake) and met some other backpackers and had some tea. All very
civilised.

On the 19th we headed for the very impressive Citadel. This involved negotiation of the labyrinthine soug, alleys and covered narrow street with about 500 odd shops
and stalls all vying for your business. It was very busy with people buying carpet, tyres, dead sheep and string. But was got some nice cheesy bread bun things for lunch for
about sixpence. A bit of an experience. The streets were only about 2m wide but we rickshaws, donkley carts and suzuki minivans with silver paper for bodywork were bombing around all over the place.
Anyway, the citadel did not disappoint and we had great views over the city (no photos yet- can't get to a scanner). The place was huge, but there was hardly anyone in it. We just wandered
about without restrictions, crawling along parapets andwandering about the restored Throne Room of
the Mayor or someone. Can'tremember. Anyway, it was big. And I got in with a student card for 30Syrian Pounds (about 50p) compared to the normal 300SP - result.

more later. it gets better. guaranteed
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