Ah, maybe you’re from Tel Aviv.
Quick update before I go to church (yes, again—I am determined to follow the whole thing!).
Got up at like 9 this morning, got going around 10. I managed to find the Citadel because it is sort of hard to miss, but this was pretty much my only successful navigation experience of the day. The Citadel was lovely (pictures forthcoming), but OH SO HOT. At the top I ran into an Italian couple who I’d met in Hama. Small world.
Also, I ran into a tour guide who was giving a tour who said to me, “You are still in Syria!” And I was like, “um. Yes, obviously. But who are you?” Apparently he’s seen me around at a few places while he’s been giving tours. Haha. Ahlan wa sahlan indeed.
Then I had shish taouk (delicious chicken) for lunch and wandered about the souq for a bit. I bought a phone card so I could call home! Which I will do shortly. Get excited, family!
Of course, tons of people came up to me and said, “where are you from?” And then they would guess. Britain was the most popular, then Spain. But I said, “No, America.” And they would say, “oh, very nice! I have a (insert family member) who lives in (insert state)!” And I would say, “that’s nice.” (They would be walking alongside me as I was walking through the souq.) And then they would say, “By the way, I own a silver shop just this way, would you like to take a look?” And I was like, no. Thank you. And then they left.
One of them, though, was awesome. He didn’t bother me so much—apparently his brother lived in Brooklyn and he had a shirt that said “I <3 SF.” And then he invited me to tea. And I was like, I don’t want to buy anything. And he said, no, you don’t have to buy anything! And told me to come back later for “happy hour” and he would give me tea. “I know tourists are scared because in America it is not like this,” he said, “but here we are just friendly!” And, you know, I believed that he was being sincere. But I’m still not going back, because I’d never be able to find it.
About an hour later I was getting really tired of engaging in this conversation over and over again. So when another guy came up to me and said, “where from? UK?” I didn’t answer. It was a narrow passageway and there were a lot of people, so I ended up being stuck next to him for about a minute. So he kept talking. “What, you scared to tell me where you’re from?” No response. “Ah, maybe you’re from Tel Aviv, that’s why you’re scared to tell me!” This one made me LOL. I’ve probably been asked if I’m every European nationality (and also Hong Kong), but “Jew” is a new one. Maybe more people thought that but didn’t want to say it? (Unless when I said I was from New York that confirmed it… ha, not sure that stereotype exists over here, but I’d be curious to find out.) Finally I was able to move, and he shouted after me, “You have to be nice in this country, you know, not rude!”
And I was like, yeah, you’re probably right. Bearing touts patiently is probably a virtue. It’s what Jesus would probably do. But Jesus wasn’t a woman wandering about a souq in a foreign culture. So. Eh. Whatever.
Anyway. Going to explore more churches in Al-Jdeida. I think I’ve decided to leave Aleppo day after tomorrow and head to Palmyra, and then head from there to Beirut (via Damascus). Dunno. When I put decisions like that off to the last minute, I get to enjoy the illusion that my life is more adventurous than it really is.