How was Syria?

Post by Mark

Syria

I’ve had a ton of people ask me what I thought of Syria so I figured I would dedicate a post to it. I had heard sooo much negative stuff about Syria that I arrived expecting the worst but it wasn’t that bad. Border security didn’t give me any issues even though I had a Canadian passport. No one asked for a bribe or even hinted to wanting something. The road from the borders to Damascus was gorgeous and reminded me of the drive from LA to Vegas. Damascus is and looks really old and everyone seems very poor but one things for sure, they sure know how to make the most amazing kebabs. The first night I had dinner at a restaurant called Abu Kamal and they had the best kebab’s I ever tried. The restaurant had been around for over 60 years so I figured they had time to get the formula right but next day for lunch I stopped by this random kebab place on the street and again I had the best kebab I’ve ever had! How the hell is it so easy for them to get kebab so perfect?? I could probably walk into a bakala and ask for kebab and it would be the best kebab in the world. The prices are also sooo cheap!

Syria

The hotel I stayed in was called Semiramis Hotel. The website says its 5 stars but I don’t know how thats possible. The hotel was decent, I am guessing for Syrian standards its like superb but it really was just standard. The room was big and the location of the hotel was right in the city, walking distance from a lot of things. I had some free time the next morning and headed to the famous Syrian souk (forgot the name) which was ok I guess, not my style.

The airport was the biggest disappointment. Its old, small, unorganized, dirty and boring. But my Damascus stay wasn’t bad, I wouldn’t go there on a vacation but I didn’t mind passing through.


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G-Star Raw in Kuwait

Post by Mark

G-Star Raw Kuwait

I was in The Avenues for lunch when I noticed that G-Star Raw opened up in the new extension. I quickly browsed through the store and I am definitely going back again and take my time. The store looks pretty cool, its cool they finally opened up in Kuwait.


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From Beirut to Damascus

Post by Mark

My escape from Lebanon was a long and adventurous one. Looking back at it now it was an interesting experience but while I was in the car on my way to the Syrian border it was a completely different story. I wasn’t afraid or anything but I really didn’t like the idea that at any moment the road will be blocked and I would have to turn back and cancel my whole trip.

The roads from Lebanon to Syria were randomly getting blocked with burning tires, rocks and sand mounds. There were a lot of taxis offering to take people to the border but none could guarantee you would get there because of the way roads were getting blocked randomly. I needed a “sure thing” and this is why one of my relatives hooked me up with this guy who managed to arrange a series of rides from one area to another until I finally got to Damascus.

The main theory behind changing cars after every area is that the drivers would be very familiar with the roads. So for example if I take a car with a guy who lives in the neighborhood, if one road is blocked he would know another way out and if that road is also blocked he would know another way. By the end of my journey I had taken 6 cars including one that was a van that carried fish! As you can see from the photos, we didn’t stay on the main roads or even the inside roads, we spent most of the time on muddy farmland trails.

The Syrian border I went to (Daboosiyeh) was pretty empty but thats because the roads to get to that border were all blocked. I had some friends who had left much earlier in the day and had gotten stuck at another Syrian border for over 6 hours. Nat did a great job in getting me a Jazeera Airlines ticket before they got sold out and then managed to find me a room in a hotel to stay in even though most hotels in Damascus were fully booked. Anyway I am back and its good to be back but I will be leaving again in a couple of days to Munich.


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I am back in Kuwait

Post by Mark

I got back earlier tonight from Beirut (Syria actually). I have pictures to share and an adventure to write about but don’t know if I will have time tonight.


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I am in Syria

Post by Mark

What a trip! Just got to Syria, my day was full of adventure but will post about that once I get to Kuwait. Just checked in to my hotel and am going to walk around the city now. (Posted from my Nokia E61i)


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Sights and Sounds of Lebanon

Post by Mark

Doesn’t really show much since the heavy fighting started later in the evening. The machine gun fire has gotten louder outside my hotel room. I have the balcony door open so I can hear the outside sounds. So far I heard 2 stray bullets land on the street outside. I have no clue why the idiots are shooting skywards… [YouTube]

Thanks Saeed


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Gun Fire

Post by Mark

I am back at my hotel now and I have the balcony door open. I can hear heavy machine gun fire outside but it isn’t close, its in the next neighborhood. My hotel is located in Achrafieh which is on the edge of the Christian area where everything is pretty much normal. The lobby is filled with tourists who I am guessing are freaked out with whats going on outside. This might sound weird but the machine gun fire outside is pretty soothing. I guess hearing the gun fire in the distance kinda keeps me in the loop with whats going on and the fact thats its not close by is assuring.


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Lebanon-Syria-Kuwait

Post by Mark

I just bought a Jazeera Airways ticket from Syria to Kuwait that leaves on Saturday since the Beirut airport is closed. I now need to find a cab that will take me to Syria. My biggest concern is that the main road to Syria is blocked so I have to take another longer road that will take me 5 hours! That’s a plane ride from Kuwait to London!


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Stuck in Beirut

Post by Mark

Looks like I am stuck in Beirut. The airport is closed and doesn’t look like its going to open anytime soon if anything it looks like there will be a war with hezbollah. Now I am going to try and leave Lebanon through Syria. Sucks.


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Beirut Airport Closed

Post by Mark

As of this post the Beirut Airport is still closed because demonstrators have blocked all the roads leading to the airport. My flight is tomorrow so hopefully the airport will be open by then.


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