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

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Damascus -- Internet Cafés & The "Bob" Story

Most days we would locate internet cafés in Old Damascus so I could keep in touch with people back home. I enjoyed reading notes from family and friends and jotting down summaries of what'd we been up to that day. I knew those e-mails would be great for me to read once I returned to the States and wanted to remember what all we did. So I would often try to recall tidbits from the day. Since we were 7 hours ahead of most of my friends and family, we would have already done quite a bit by the time my loved ones were drinking their morning coffee and pouring their bowls of Cheerios!

This was the first café where we found good computers to use. The guys would usually sit nearby either staring over my shoulder telling me things to write or be bored out of their minds while I was typing. Granted, I kept all my internet times to less than an hour per day so they shouldn't have gotten too bored. Actually Samer often would review pictures on his cell phone and maybe a time or two the guys napped. I don't know for sure since I was engrossed in the world wide web at that point and was thousands of miles away telling of my adventures in Syria!

This was actually the internet café we used the most. We liked the first one (fish pic), but it was farther from the hostel so we found this one one day and used it the most. A Christian family must have owned it because it is the ONLY place in all of Damascus where I ever saw a dog! (And remember we were there for twelve days!) In fact twice they had their little dog in the internet café while I was there. Since Andrew is more of a dog person than either Samer or me, I asked him to play with the friendly little pooch so he wouldn't bother us.

Now see here we are with our dear friend Khalid (that is his real name) on our last evening in Damascus. You may wonder how Abu Muhammad plays into talk from the internet café. So glad you asked. First I must tell you that "bab" in Arabic is the word for "gate" and you may recall from past posts that there are seven gates in Damascus. I've discussed Bab Sharqi several times, but our neighborhood was actually in Bab Touma (Thomas' Gate). "Bab" is kind of like the American man's name Bob.

On one of our first days in Damascus, we were at the first internet café, we were asked where we were staying and I replied "Bab Touma." When the clerk behind the desk nodded in recognition, Andrew -- thinking the guy who owned the hostel had this name -- asked, "Oh, you know Bob?" It wasn't really that funny, but when one is tired from travel everything is exaggerated whether it is emotional sadness or downright hilarity at the most crazy things! Riiiiiight?

Anyway, when we returned to the hostel Samer told Abu Muhammad this story and he found it funny. Though his English was very very limited, Abu Muhammad, in his characteristic fun-loving way, turned to us, gesture broadly and declared with finality while thumping his chest, "I Bob." And then he laughed that great laugh of his and we referred to him as Bob the rest of our stay. :-)

Pictures from Damascus, Syria
January/February 2009


Lat said...

Oh that must have been a lovely and wonderful experience as you remember them so fondly! May you have the chance to go there again someday! :)

Susanne said...

I hope so! I loved it! :) It's fun rereading about our time there. I'm glad I blogged about it!