The Road to Damascus


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Middle East » Syria » South » Damascus
July 20th 2009
Published: July 20th 2009
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Drinking coffee in DamascusDrinking coffee in DamascusDrinking 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 MosqueTwo losers in the MosqueTwo 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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Kyle found a new jobKyle found a new job
Kyle found a new job

Around the mosque last night there were people gathering, police directing the crowds, TV crews and apparently a famous person entering the mosque. This morning the UN was visiting...Kyle wanted to give them his resume!


20th July 2009

Thx for the Laugh
The "Two losers in the Mosque" photo had me laughing out loud at work. Could you have a more "Mary and Joseph: The Other Years" moment? (Coming soon to a super-hip, offoffoff Broadway theater. )
20th July 2009

blogs
Hi all, I was curious to how easily you are finding an outlet to send your interesting blogs? Do your hotels have that service? Did you take a laptop with you? I never knew your dad had such dreams as a child, sure was a side of him I didn't know! He must have paid more attention in church than I did as I wouldn't have even known what Damascus was! Cute skirt Kyle:) Nancy
20th July 2009

My friend from the Jerusalem Cafe is from Damascus! Sorry if all of my comments are driving you crazy but i am just so excited for you and grateful you are sharing! Love, Joan
20th July 2009

Coffee Break
So glad to hear that Roy got his coffee, even though he was out of the country. :) Safe travels!
20th July 2009

haven't fed the bulls for six days
I am sure you won't mind that we just put the bulls out to pasture to save on chores and being a bit short of cash, I sold one section of hay from the hay barn. Oh, yes, and advertised on Craig's List that there would be a fishing contest at Shamrock Farms with a cookout to follow on Shamrock Hill. I will make sure we have two weeks worth of beef left in the freezer. See you in a couple of weeks.
20th July 2009

Jealous!!
Hi Roy!! You look like you're having sooooo much fun. Thank you for adding me to your blog mailing - I've enjoyed hearing about your wonderful adventures and the pictures are spectacular (I see green stuff!!). Be safe and I'll see you when you get back home. Cleo
20th July 2009

LMAO you and Kyle in those outfits-priceless!

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