Published: June 30th 2009June 29th 2009
So, continuing the game of catch-up, here's a little bit about our home for the first week: "The Damascus Hostel"
First of all, the owners and staff are pretty much the nicest people ever. Even though our flight was 1.5 hours late, Johnny was still standing patiently at the baggage claim door when we finally straggled through. I think we were told "welcome, welcome" almost 20 times on the 20 minute drive in from the airport. Then, we discovered that the hostel is literally perched on top of the ancient city wall, and they pulled our bags straight up the wall by a pulley as Johnny drove us deep into the less-than-one-lane wide streets of Bab Touma, the Christian section of the Old City. There, we were met by Khaled, who walked us down a winding alley to the hostel door, then got us settled in with total kindness and hilarious intensity of hospitality.
The hostel itself is an extremely old house, built piled around and above a central courtyard. It's populated by a collection of sweet, helpful, and funny people who helped us practice our Arabic, cooked for us, took us swimming, made calls for us, found
us information on anything we needed, and chatted with us every day while plying us with coffee, tea, and "Choco Frosty" on pita. They saved our butts on numerous occasions, and we can't wait to head back for our last two nights in Damascus.
NOT TO MENTION, the animals! Life in the house revolves around a skinny rabbit and a pair of grouchy tortoises. Baba Ganouj, the bunny, is Raymond (the owner)'s baby, and probably the most spoiled rabbit in Syria. Raymond told us that he had saved him from hungry neighbours at Easter, and hungry alley cats just the day before. Baba loves french fries, pooping, stealing the tortoises' carrots, and shoving his way onto your lap. We just love Baba.
And now, some pictures!
There are more photos below