our mission, if we chose to accept it, was to buy 2 hookas for Liv. we bravely set of to the souqs to start searching. the thing is, we dont know anything about hookas, we dont know much about bargaining, and we know even less about shipping… except that it’s really expensive. turns out, that shipping a hookah home would probably cost several times as much as the hookah itself. at this point, one of the merchants suggested we try a cargo shipping place, so off we went. the cargo guy, although really friendly, let us know that the only option with his company woud be to ship at least 100 kilograms worth of hookas. ouch.
we got to talking to the guy and he asked us the usual “where are you from”a nd when we told him it was america he got really excited and asked us what we thought of his country. of course, we told him that we loved it. he went on to say that he was really glad and that the syrians are a really friendly people who really really like foreigners… and that is why they are so upset that people form other countries, especially america, think badly of them and think they are all terrorists. he looked genuiely hurt as he told us this, and i felt so bad for him and for all the rest of the syrian people who, having done nothing but live under an unfavorable goverment, have such a stigma attached to them. having this conversation made me all the more glad that we came here, and that i am writing in this blog which, although only read by a small handful of people, will let people know how nice people are here and shed some light on syria…
after shopping, we wet to go get some dinner w/ Dave, a journalist from washington DC, that has been traveling w/ us for the last several days. after missing out on the nice dinner from last night, i was really looking forward to a good meal. this was my first day being able to eat properly, and the only i had eaten so far was a horrendibly dissapointing kebab. we went to this place elissar that was highly recommended in our guidebook, and the food was soooooo damn good. this place was on the fancier side, and they even had things like caviar on the menu! unfortunately, like some of the other places we’ve eaten at in syria, they had no prices at all on the menu. so as we ordered item after item, we had no idea whether the bill would come out to ten dollars or a hundred. after the wionderful appetizers, i ordered a steak for my mai course. now, since i wasnt eating red meat leading up to the trip, i havent had a steak in over 3 years now. it’s been ages. now, syria definitely isn’t famous for it’s steaks, and when a friend of ours ordered one before it was kid of dissapointing, so i was prepared for just about anything. it turned out that the steak was incredibly good. perfectly cooked, delicious, and with a great roquefort cheese sauce on it. we also had wine w/ our meal and smoked nargileh to top it off. quite a decdent meal all in all. wehn the bill finally came, we were afraid to look, but it came out to be 14$ per person. way expensive for syrian standards, but for all the stuff we ate, and drank, and smoked, quite a bargain!!