Inolvidable Cairo

A compilation of tales, thoughts and images from the never-ending adventures...Click on any of the images for a blown-up version. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Syrian Negotiations

Perhaps the most delightful trip we have taken in the entire region was the week that we spent in Syria. Despite the misconception that we had about Syria before going, we found the place to be fantastically beautiful, filled with genuinely friendly people, with some of the world's greatest cultural and historical monuments, fantastic food and nice weather.

We spent time in the world heritage centers of Damascus and Aleppo, as well as in one smaller town, Hama. Everywhere we went our expectations were exceeded, either by the pastoral beauty of Hama, the art deco chic of Aleppo, or the astounding cultural and architectural wealth of Damascus. We could write a separate blog on each of these visits.

One quality that never wavered in our visit was the genuineness of the people whom we met. We also had a shopping assignment, and this lead to a full day's odyssey with a local Damascan wood worker, self-titled "The King of Mosaic". Abu Hasan was building mosaic inlaid wood furniture and knick knacks from a factory that his father had bought from a wood-worker more than 20 years earlier.

There's a picture of Abu Hasan below with me as well as the original owner of the factory who sold it to Abu Hasan's father and who happened to have returned for a visit the day we were negotiating our shopping basket... By the way, all negotiations took place in Arabic, and this was very interesting....

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