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Published: July 20th 2009
Drinking coffee in Damascus
Dad has been busy marking things off his life's to-do list...since a child he has dreamed of drinking coffee in Damascus. We went to a world-famous coffee shop near the mosque. Dad said the coffee was better than the best coffee at Starbucks and it cost $1 per cup.
We had no idea what to expect when we crossed the border from Jordan to Syria. The process began with paperwork in Jordan where we paid an exit tax. Our driver had to show a great deal of paperwork to get his car out of Jordan--a process we did not understand and of which were not a part. Then we drove out of Jordan through a shower that "cleansed" our car of any germs that we might be bringing from Jordan. We are sure the 1/2 gallon of water completl cleansed our car of whatever Jordan germs our car was carrying. We drove briefly through no-man's-land into the Syrian checkpoint.
We were a bit taken aback at the rag-tag checkpoint. The building had 50 year old ceiling fans that looked like they were going to fall from the ceiling. The tables looked like school desks that were covered with remanants of carved names. The guy who completed our paperwork smoked a cigarette while he worked and spoke no English. Someone had to translate our occupations into Arabic. The reactions when we said "attorney" "psychologist" and "executive" were entertaining! The area behind the desk had piles of paperwork that indicated they
Two losers in the Mosque
As you may have guessed, we were not dressed appropriately to enter the mosque. We were issued uniforms! The women must cover their heads and wear flow-y clothes so that their bodies were not noticed. The men must cover themselves from the knees to the naval--Kyle had on shorts that hit one-inch above the knee! He was the the laughing stock of the day!
were behind in thier filing!
The paperwork was tedious with multiple entry cards to be completed by each of us and it is a good thing we brought our own ink pens because there wasn't one in the whole place! We had to complete more paperwork to indicate that we had been in the United States within the last two weeks because they were concerned that we were bringing in the Swine Flu! When we drove out of the checkpoint, we popped our trunk so that it looked like we were being searched, but really the officer just asked what we had in the trunk, we told him clothes, he asked clothes?, we said yes and he sent us on our way without even looking in the trunk!
It took more than an hour to cross, a few under-the-table bribes, and a few harmless lies, but we made it safely into Syria.
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