Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On the lighter side-Travel- Syria-5

We reached Damascus, Syria after midnight and that is where we met up with our group at the airport. The airport was deserted with just our group of people maybe 14 trying to get through the immigration. Our guide was outside so the immigration guy had to ask one of our people to go outside and check if he is still there. He came inside and since he spoke Arabic was able to get through the immigration faster. After getting our luggage (after paying the required cart fees), we went outside and there were more people supposedly waiting to help us with our luggage. I wanted to avoid them but they were forceful enough and I had to give them 2 U.S. dollars (equivalent to 94 Syrian Pounds) and boarded our bus for the hotel. It was chilly outside and being after midnight was quiet on the roads.

I did not see at that time any sign of trouble or troop movements in Damascus and it was just a sleepy (literally) city like any other in the world. I was excited to be in Damascus because it is the oldest continuously inhabited city of the world and considered to be one of the oldest in the world so we were driving through the roads and streets of history. Reaching the hotel in one of the oldest parts of the city was a welcome relief and the hotel was not half bad. The weather was rather chilly like that you encounter in New York so it was a pleasant surprise. The main purpose was to visit the Islamic holy sites and the instant view of the dome of Lady Zainab (A.S.) (Grand Daughter of Prophet Mohammed) was a sight to watch. It is surely true that a picture is worth a thousand words. The dome was shinning in the light and it was a huge Golden one.

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