12.4.10 - 13.4.10 24 °C
Syria is completely different from anywhere I've ever been. Everything is written in Arabic, few people speak English, my cell phone doesn't work (ie no more GPS to get un-lost), and I don't understand a word of what is going on around me. Now I know how hundreds of Chinese immigrants feel in Vancouver! It is incredibly humbling to be at the mercy of locals without a common language or alphabet to rely on. Thankfully we have encountered nothing but helpfulness and generosity in our wanderings, giving this country a welcoming feeling. As a case in point I am currently nibbling away at a Syrian dessert brought over free of charge by the internet cafe owner. He also gave me one last night. It isn't particularly good, but what a gesture! This just does not happen in Canada.
Our trip so far has been one of culinary highlights. Em and I flew from Istanbul to Adana, where we stopped to have a delicious but rather phallic durum, lovingly referred to henceforth as a dickwich.
One cozy 3-hr bus ride later we arrived in Antakya, the culinary heartland of Anatolia, where we wandered in search of two major checkmarks: kunefe and an 'atom shake.' You are probably wondering if we got to see the first church where Paul preached the gospel from inside a cave in the hills, and the answer is no, we did not. We were too busy savoring our checkmarks and reveling in post-dessert bliss.
Our travels were halted only by the force of God, as we were trapped in a covered market for about half an hour by monsoon rains that sounded like one continuous thunderclap as water furiously attacked the corrugated-iron roof. Anxious to get there we hopped in a private taxi to Syria and we were off - all for a grand total of $14! Being the enthusiastic eaters that we are, we stopped in the no-man's land between the two countries and ordered a pizza. No, we couldn't wait 20 minutes to get to Aleppo; we needed it.
We have a full day planned for tomorrow: eating our way through the souk with the goal of discovering Aleppo's famous cherry kebab. All this deliciousness will pale in comparison to our next major plans though: a reunion with Anna in Damascus! Thank you NPSIA, finally you are making my life more fun!