From the Tigris to the Euphrates
Trip Start Feb 22, 2007
38Trip End Jul 19, 2008
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Before long we reached the bridge, whose sunset views overlooking the Euphrates are Deir az-Zur's premier - actually only - attraction for its seemingly few tourists. We arrived just in time for it and the view did not disappoint. The Euphrates seemed a more attractive river than the Tigris
We left the bridge and went to the restaurant for a much-needed meal. As we walked there we commented that if such a town were to be found in a non-Islamic country, it would likely be one of those hip but chilled hangouts with little bars and restaurants lining the river bank, and open-aired jeeps milling up and down the riverside roads and suchlike. But this was Syria, this was the Middle East, this was Islam, and such civility was not forthcoming. Instead, as we entered the restaurant and sat down at a table overlooking the river, a string of waiters came over and insisted we would have to move inside to the (less salubrious) male area; the nice outside area, they said, was for families only
Later that evening we found a delightfully bustling shisha café where we enjoyed sweet tea and a pleasant nargileh each over a few games of backgammon. Although, as alluded to in the previous paragraph, I struggle at times to tolerate what, to my mind, are rather backward cultural differences, so too do I appreciate other elements. The tradition of sitting among friends to smoke nargileh and play games I find delightfully civilised, something I could never envisage taking off on such a scale back home, and a refreshing change indeed from going out on the beers or whatnot .
And with that we were ready for a good night's sleep. Tomorrow we would head back yet further south-west to the Roman wonder of Palmyra.