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Monday, May 22nd, 2006


So we haven’t been blogging much from Syria. This is largely due to the general lack of excitement we’ve had. Syria is certainly an interesting and beautiful country, but we’ve found that we’ve spent an awful lot of time seeing things, and haven’t actually done anything of interest. So for a brief recap:

From Palmyra we took a private car to visit some far-flung sites, turning what could have been a 2 hour bus ride to Hama into an all day trip on the scenic route, visiting a desert castle, Qasr al-Heir al-Sharki, the ruins of the Roman/Byzantine/Ummayad city of Rasefeh, and a brief stop to see the Euphrates river, unfortunately far upstream of the most interesting historic sites that are closer to the Iraqi border.

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By request: some general observations

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

Taxis: we weren’t keen on trying the taxis in Egypt, as we were still intimated, not wanting to get taken for a ride (no pun intended!), and Cairo cabs in particular have a bad reputation for milking as much money out of tourists as they can. As it turned out since we booked a tour for Egypt, there wasn’t any need for them. Our first foray into Jordan proved quite manageable. We probably paid more than necessary for the ride from the ferry into Aqaba, but the driver was kind and friendly, and we didn’t feel ripped off, and that’s what really matters. We took a taxi to Wadi Rum (arranged by our tour guides there) without any trouble, and again from Petra to Dana. By the time we got to Amman, we didn’t think anything of flagging down a taxi to take us across town, especially as they are quite supposed to use their meters. A trip clear across town ended up costing us less than $4 (and this in a country whose costs are generally only slightly less than back home).

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Damascus, Palmyra

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Well, we've been in Syria for about 5 days now, and to be honest we haven't done a lot.

We arrived in Damascus latish at night on the 11th. Our first order of business was to get ripped off by ... [Continue reading this entry]