Sidelined in Syria...

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July 24th 2009
Published: July 24th 2009
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Krac De ChevaliersKrac De ChevaliersKrac De Chevaliers

Here is the crusader castle looking from our hotel. It was built in the 1100's. Our hotel was $30 per night for a triple room. We were able to hike over there and see the sights. Once we got to the top, the wind was so strong we could hardly stand.
I know we have not "blogged" in a while. I hope no one thought we were dead, but it would be nice to know that someone was paying attention! We have had no Internet access, English newspapers, or English television for 5 days. We are feeling a bit disconnected from the world--Dad said it seems so long ago that we were in the USA that he has forgotten what his mother looks like! So, it is nice to get comments from everyone who has sent them.

Kyle brought his laptop and in Damascus we were able to access the Internet and Kyle's work files from our room, but other places have either not had access, the services was way to SLOW or it has not been compatible with our programs. Another city was all wi-fi, but did not have computers available for use because it was assumed everyone would bring their own laptop.

We are having a great time and seeing even more of the world than we expected, but as you can see we had a little hiccup in the trip...

Driving from Aleppo, Syria to Krac de Chevaliers, our car started making a sound that means
The Pit Crew at WorkThe Pit Crew at WorkThe Pit Crew at Work

Farm boys could teach the Middle East boys a thing or two about changing a tire! Look at that form!
the same thing in the Middle East that it means in the Midwest...our tire was flat. We pulled onto the side of the highway--not the shoulder, because they do not have shoulders on their highways. We pulled to the side and began unloading ALL of our luggage. Dad opened his pack to get his leather gloves out and he was pleasantly surprised to find $500 that he stashed away while packing. I pulled out my leather gloves from my pack and found nothing!

Dad and our driver began changing the tire while Kyle and I signalled oncoming vehicles to move to the left. The vehicles were mostly trucks hauling wheat, tomatoes and fruit. Our traffic control turned into a circus because the drivers were too busy waving at the Americans, gestering to have their pictures taken, and flirting! Oh well, at least there was not an accident and the tire was changed in NASCAR time. Our driver seemed pretty impressed with dad's skill.

Our next stop was at a roadside tire repair shop to get our tire fixed. It reminded dad of the old days when he had to repair tractor tires, etc--especially when the guy put the
Another Victim of the Aleppo - Homs Highway!Another Victim of the Aleppo - Homs Highway!Another Victim of the Aleppo - Homs Highway!

This bad boy was in line ahead of us at the tire repair shop...we decided to just let him go! This poor truck is loaded down with foam and he was not the only one we saw on the road.
tube in a near-by fountain to look for air bubbles. At one point dad's Crenshaw-genes came out. Kyle and I had to practically hold dad back from going in the shop and showing the guys how to properly repair a tire! Our driver said that the wheel was broken so he was going to buy a used wheel and then stop in Homs, Syria to get a new tire. After driving awhile he decided the used tire was going to be okay. Probably not a decision we would have made, but so far so good!

It cost us about $7 at the tire shop. By the time we left, there was a line of others waiting to have their tires repaired. An interesting thing happened at the repair shop, dad bought sodas for the guys in the shop because they were working hard and it was a hot afternoon, but they refused to take them. Eventually they accepted them, but it took them awhile to warm up to the idea.


24th July 2009

glad to hear from you
I was a bit worried, so wrote Paul's sister and she reassured me that the ability to send emails in Syria was limited, plus your phones won't work there either. Looks like the truckers in Syria overload like truckers in India! I can't believe you haven't had a photo of a camel yet. Tell Roy we had an inch and a half of rain on Monday as did the folks. We also had 4 inches of rain at chalk that day where of course we had our last field of brome laying on the ground, Murphy's law I guess. Nancy
24th July 2009

Wow.....Roy i am impressed with your tire changing abilities! I had to giggle at your glove use though....that is sooooo city like :) To help you feel connected to back is 95 degrees today, quite humid and no rain predictions. SWEET!!!!
24th July 2009

Beautiful castle!
What an amazing castle! We here in America really don't have a concept of ancient until we leave our country! I'm so glad you get to do things like hanging out with the regular people like in the tire shop, that for me always makes the trip! Stay safe and love to you all! Joan
24th July 2009

It's always nice...
to see your travel blog come through. I am happy y'all are doing well and being so darned friendly!
24th July 2009

Good to hear from you. Nancy was a bit concerned. Also, I missed getting my travelogue fix. JOY
24th July 2009

From Nancy's sister-in-law
As you may know I was in Syria in March for a little over a week, when I took a bad fall and broke both my elbows at Damascus airport on my way to retrieve my luggage, which had been delayed a week. Anyway, I loved your story, having experienced the country. But I will say that the Syrian orthopedic surgeon and the Syran hospitial where I was treated were considerably more modern than your tire shop. My orthopedist here has showered them with compliments for a job well-done, and I am nearly fully recovered. I heartily recommend the Dr. Shami Hospital in Damascus, should you need, heaven forbid! any medical care. Nancy was worried about the lack of e-mails from you but reassured when I explained that my experience with the internet in Syria was similar to yours. The photo of the Crac de Chevaliers brought back fond memories! Doris Birmingham
24th July 2009

Form vs Fashion
I too am impressed and not surprised at the American savvy. However the footwear of the studly tire handler concerns OSHA. Their regional offices beyond the 50 states are presently not staffed, so I think you are safe from reprimand, or any penalties. If a more protective shoe is purchased it is recommended to match the style and colors of the gloves being worn...this will be a sign of good planning and management for which the USA is famous.
24th July 2009

It sounds like you guys are having a wonderful time. It wouldn't be a Crenshaw vacation without a flat tire! I look forward to reading more of your blogs and viewing pictures. What an interesting area of the world. I can't wait to see you when you return.
24th July 2009

Great to hear from you
I didn't want to worry because I knew Internet are scattered but I can't say I wasn't worried - the castle is amazing
24th July 2009

It's not a vacation if something doesn't go wrong with the car. Were the middle easterners flirting with Kyle? It's a good thing you are traveling with two men because they would have kidnapped you a long time ago. I spoke with Hovannes and told him you were in Syria, I thought he was going to cry, "that is where my mom was born" were the only little words he could utter. Oh Hovig. The pictures are awesome. I love this travel blog idea. Be safe can hardly wait until we can get together and discuss all the details. Chimi
24th July 2009

I love the blogs!
I'd say "be careful" but I know you are so I won't. My only travel now is vicarious through you so keep writing! rr
24th July 2009

Flirting on the road to Aleppo
So the truckers were flirting with your dad as he changed the tire on the road to Aleppo? No wonder the tire repair guys wouldn't accept his sodas!!!
7th August 2009

Syria is a great place and I encourage everybody to visit it.

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