"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Damascus -- The Hostel, Distance & Visitors

I have mentioned the hostel many times previously. You'll recall we stayed in this tower room.

You can see the windows where we'd look out onto the street. They were double-paned with a good-sized area between the glass so I stored a few things like extra water bottles and tissues there.

One day Samer called us as he was approaching the hostel from the other side of the busy street. He wanted us to go up to the top of the tower so he could get our picture. See us?

Andrew had brought along his small GPS that he uses sometimes when we go hiking. You can mark where you start and it can help you retrace your steps. He wanted to use it throughout Damascus to see how much we walked, but when Samer informed him that he thought GPS devices were not allowed in Syria, he put it away. Until the day before we were leaving. Andrew decided he wanted to see how far we were from home. He'd marked our house when we left so the GPS would know the distance to calculate. He went to the top of the tower and turned on the GPS to find out this information: 6,105 miles from home! He didn't carry around the GPS that day. He only turned it on for the short time it took for the GPS to figure how far we were from home.

Previously, I'd shared pictures from within the hostel including some from within our room. Here are a few Samer had taken on his cell phone that I wanted to show you. Oh, we even had green towels to go along with our green room. I think that is how Claudia knew which towels to give us. See my purple notebook on the dresser. I wrote down notes about each day in there so I could remember things upon my return. I have it right here now in fact. I kept my American snacks in that cabinet near Andrew's left knee. I brought gourmet jelly beans, Little Debbie oatmeal cookies (which Samer and Abu Muhammad liked), Twix, Three Musketeers (which Samer's sister liked), M&M's, Brach's milk maid chewy candies, Junior Mints and packs of Lance crackers. I gave most of the candy to the kids we met or sent some home with Samer for his family. Although I did eat my share. ;-)

Here I am with Samer's tiny laptop. We used it to look at pictures most evenings. We enjoyed seeing what we took photos of throughout the day. To the right of my bed, you can see the closet where I had all my stuff organized for the 12 days we were there. I hate living out of suitcases so I had my stuff neatly stacked as I would have if we had dresser drawers. That way I could more easily find things. To the right of my closet is the bathroom.

I shared about the hostel lounges, but didn't have a kitchen picture until now! I found this one in Samer's albums. It's from the last day we were there. That's why I look like I'd been crying. I had! You can see they had milk on the shelf and not in the refrigerator. I did not drink any milk the whole time I was gone. Two weeks with no dairy except cheese and that one ice cream cone that gave me trouble on the second day in Damascus.

The last night we were there, Samer, Jake and Basheer waited with us at the hostel until it was time to go to the airport. Those three rode with us to the airport to send us on our long journey home. Besides Samer, Jake and Basheer were our most frequent visitors at the hostel. It was very kind of them to see us off to the USA. We arrived at the airport around 2:00 AM and because people not flying aren't allowed to stick around, we had to say a hasty goodbye to people who had become very dear friends. And you wondered why I was crying earlier in the day?

Pictures from Damascus, Syria
January/February 2009

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