Thursday, April 28, 2011

On the lighter side-Travel- Syria-7

Although we did not do much shopping in Syria due to time constraints but one thing to notice for American is how easy is to bargain and haggle with the sellers on the street and the shopkeepers. There are no price labels and when you ask the price, usually that is not the final price and there is always room to haggle. It would also be nice if you can speak Arabic or have some common daily spoken knowledge of it since it helps to keep a rapport with the sellers and there is less chance that you would be charged an outrageous price. We did went through some bazaars of Damascus and saw ordinary common folk selling stuff on the side walks and the better organized people selling in the stores.

Since Syria is a considerably liberal country, you can see a variety of dresses for women like some wearing the traditional Hijab, but some also wearing skirts and jeans. We also went outside Damascus to see the shrine of Hazrat Hujar Bin Kundi (it is said that Lady Zainab has said that one who visits my shrine and does not visit his will be as if he or she has done an incomplete visit to her) . He was one of the most loyal companions of the Cousin and Son in law of Imam Ali who was tortured to death by the ruler of his time for speaking the truth to the ruler for which he was killed without mercy. When we gave our respects to him, our guide had told the group that he would be giving one of the prayer mats in the shrine to whoever should ask. It just happened that he had two of them and my wife was the first one to ask for it and he obliged with giving the first to her. This shrine is visited by thousands of people each year and as with other shrines you have to take off your shoes and ask for permission to enter it. On the way back I saw some military activity but nothing that would alarm or alert anybody like if you move around here near a military base and you see some soldiers, same was the case with Syria with no signs of violence or chaos (at the time of my visit around the second week of April, 2011). Driving around Damascus you can really feel like you are in an ancient city with modern facilities.

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