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

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Damascus -- Street People

Besides the numerous westerners we met at the hostel, from time to time we met tourists on the streets of Old Damascus. I have in my notes that we gave directions to some Swiss tourists on the fourth day we were there. Imagine that! We must have thought we were Old Damascus pros by then. I do recall that meeting. They had their Syria & Lebanon Lonely Planet travel guide just like we had back at the hostel. We were able to recommend a place for a quick lunch since Damascus fast food was rather plentiful. One day as we were on our way to an internet café, we were stopped by Thomas because he was pretty much wanting some help in getting away from an acquaintance who had delayed him. (That's my reading between the lines.)

So good old Thomas (left) called us over to meet Christopher (second from left) and one of the only other Americans we met while in Syria. Was his name Bill? I'll call him that anyway. These guys were interesting characters.

First of all Bill is a Vietnam vet who later in life decided to travel the world. He told Samer at first he was a little fearful knowing full well his country dropped a lot of bombs all over the world, but so far whenever he knocked, the door was opened. He had visited Eastern Europe and a few countries in the Middle East with hopes of visiting Iran next. Samer actually ran into him a couple months after our initial meeting and Bill told Samer that so far he hadn't had any luck getting into Iran. He was going to give it a short while longer and then give up and head somewhere else. I admire his adventurous spirit!

Christopher is German and Irish, but he knows Arabic and lives there in Damascus. He arranges tours and helps foreigners find rooms for rent. I believe this is why Thomas knew him as Christopher may have put Thomas in touch with some families who boarded students. He kept saying how Irish I looked, how much my coloring favored his Irish mom although her hair was a bit lighter, on and on. He really dominated my time during that visit and I had a hard time getting away. You can tell when we had the one picture together that he pulled me right to his face.

Thomas was our acquaintance from the hostel. His plans were to study Arabic at Damascus University. He'd previously studied in Egypt, I believe. He was another of the Americans we met. The only other one whom I recall besides Bill (above) was Sarah from Chicago whom we met at the bookstore. She was buying an Arabic-English dictionary.

Picture from Damascus, Syria
February 3, 2009

No comments: