February 6, 2012 § 5 Comments
My heart today goes out to all those suffering in Syria. A country of great people, who were hospitable to me, open and warm. It makes me very sad to see such a ruthless regime killing their own people. Yesterday they bombed a hospital, with all the doctors in it all the nurses, all the patients…
How long will Assad’s bloody reign continue…
Below I am copying an old post from my travels in Syria… the Syria that should be remembered, the Syria that I remember.
Aleppo, (Halep) is an ancient city in the north of Sryia. Traders and merchants have travelled through this city for over a thousand years. And during Ramadan, as I wondered through the Great Bazaar. Men haggle over cuts of meat, women find new hijabs for their daugters, boys sell coffee and pistacio cake, donkey ridden by beduins carry exotic birds and cases of burgul wheat to sell – he see’s his frend selling saffron by the street.
“Asalem alakum keef halcum habiby!”
“Alhumdulilah, lesh, Ramadan!”
All comes to life at night here in this maze that is the Great Bazaar!
The Dead Cities
Ruins of the Byzantine Empire lay scattered on this heat scortched earth, like ghosts of the past, where Crusaders came, and Arabs, and now Tourists. The land is vast and flat here. The people who inhabited these lands must have been enduring people with dark skin and heavy wrinkles like the rocks they built their houses on.
The Persian Mosque
Outside the ancient Old City of Aleppo, among the towering apartments that look as if they have risen out of the very desert itself there is a grand monument. A massive new mosque built in the enchanting Persian style of Iran. We exlpore it’s vast rooms and are able to walk on top of the roof, witnessing the obscure skyline of Aleppo.
Aleppo looks as if it has risen out of the desert iteslf. This dry land echoes with calls to prayer and the clatter of mule’s hooves on dusty cobbled floors.
The charming souq of Aleppo is situated next to the cities central citadel. Aromas of perfume from the Gulf enchant the nostrils, and rugs from Iran fill tiny shops with an array of warm colours. Shop keepers great me and invite me in for tea. They expect nothing in return except for a good shake of the hands and an honest smile.
The New Town
The new town roads choke with traffic all moving at an easy un rushed pace. People barter and sell on just about every street corner, tiny shops are packed into every nooke and crany of the city, coffee stalls,news agents, ciggeratte vendors, and falfel stands. It’s a bombardment to the senses, you have to keeon your toes.
I leave Aleppo, bound for Hama. And I pass through barren lands where olive trees grown through tumbling ruins and the ground is red and dry. A few birds circle above, hoping to find some morsel of food. Dust blows around, small tornadoes form far off on the horizon, this land is alien to me, but great.
January 31, 2012 § 14 Comments
It was one of those errands that linger over your mind, silently nagging until you get it done. A bunch of my old books, candles, magical objects, sketches, letters from loved ones and journals lay in a heap, with no shelf and no owner in my old flat.
So after much procrastinating, I went over with a few empty boxes to collect all my old books, and how good I felt for it. Among the heaps of penguin classics I found, amongst other things, an old journal that i had written in daily during my travels in the middle east. There are some memorable stories in there.
So, having made this important discovery (no really, very important!) I’m going to write out these disjointed entries and rambling into something of a Novella… Just for you guys. I will also include some photo’s I took with my Canon 300D in the relevant entries.
It starts in Istanbul and ends in Byblos, Lebanon…. Good times x