This blog has been hanging around in Syria for quite a while now. I just wanted to inform the universe that in fact I left Syria for Lebanon on September 10th. So I'm more than slightly behind. Now, as it happens, I'm in Jerusalem.
Anyway, for good or ill I decided to go slowly and be detailed and thorough and concentrate on some facinating conversations I have had, even if a lighter, more nimble approach might have been preferable to some or all of my readers - whoever you are.
A summary of where I've been since Lattakia before I return to my story. I'll try to sum up each place in no more than eight words.
Damascus - Massive old city, far more westerners
Beirut (Lebanon) - Soldiers on the street. Rife factionalism and Starbucks
Baalbek (Lebanon) - Enormous, extremely evocative ruins. Hezbollah T-shirts
Tripoli (Lebanon) Sunni dominated. Like Syria. No Hezbollah. Cool castle
Sidon (Lebanon) - Lovely gentle beach town. Very narrow streets
Tyre (Lebanon) - Lots of ancient ruins. Swam in the Mediterranean
Damascus (Syria) - Because I didn't want to fly to Jordan
Ma aoula (Syria) - Christian mountain town. Good views. Bought some Arak
Amman (Jordan) - Big and dusty. Ramadan strictly observed
Bethany (Jordan) - Israeli flag. Jesus baptised, Elijah caught a chariot
Petra (Jordan) - Vast Nabatean ruins built into rock. Camels. Bedouins.
Amman (Jordan) - Because I needed to cross at Allenby Bridge.
Jerusalem (Israel) - Schizoid capital of the Universe
Bethlehem (Israel) -Birthplace of creator of the Universe, (to Christians)
Tel Aviv (Israel) - Secular Israelis. Cafes and powdery sand. Diaspora museum
Jerusalem (Israel) - Because its Sukkot. Rest of Israel closes down
So now you know where I am and where I've been.
Plan now is to go back to Jordan on monday. I have to go back so I can get a Jordanian exit stamp. Otherwise supicious eyes will know I've been to Israel (as they might if they read my blog:)). Also, I left some stuff there. Then I'll rush down to Aqaba, take a boat to Nuweiba in Egypt and head to Cairo. My flight to Vienna leaves Thursday morning, the 11th October. One and a half days in Bratislava to remind myself what good beer tastes like and to pack up more of my stuff. Then I fly to London.