Sunday, March 04, 2007

Damascus and me

Daily , as we wander around Damascus we get to like it better and better- we are getting to know some of the stall holders and stop to have tea, and sometimes buy but it is not a necessity to buy. I have found a website with lots of photos of Damascus- so please look at it and imagine us there except of course we have a much better eye for textiles!

Have bought a book by Mirja Wark a Dutch weaver living here, who has written a wonderful book on Si'Ira weaving from Northern Venezuela- if you are interested in weaving the book is not only a very thorough study of Wayuu weaving of Si'Ira and the wonderful patterns that most commonly occur, but also an interesting ethnographic account of the Wayuu way of life. We hope to visit some artisans around the Souq on Tuesday with Mirja. But really so much of the souq is textile heaven- all the killims and woven rugs and cushions and to a lesser extent some of the traditionally embroidered dresses ( of which I already have one from the last visit)- and all the wonderful jewelry, and then there is the wonderful food!

We went to Palmyra during the week- the hotel had purchased our bus tickets but had forgotten to tell us to take our passports- so after catching the taxi to the Pulman station we had to head back to the hotel- and then back to the Pulman station and buy new bus tickets- sigh , just as well that bus tickets only cost about $3 ( for a 250 km journey) Then onto Palmyra where we were beseiged by the inevitable guides- we were lucky as we had met a young Aussie, Steve at the hotel , who had decided to go to Palmyra on the same day so we shared costs. However the whole Roman complex is so large.... unbelievable really as the journey to get there covers some pretty inhospitable terrain-barren rocky ground and hills and all we saw were bedouin tents, with the herders and their herds and not a blade of grass- I swear the sheep must suck on rocks for sustenance! Palmyra itself is an oasis, but still the complex is incredibly large because it is a long way from anywhere and most of it was submerged under sand until the 1950's. We also saw some Aramaen tombs- which were all built below ground, an important one of which was found recently when the truck that had parked over it ,so that the driver could have his nightly snooze- sank into the tomb! It makes you wonder how much of antiquity must lie under the sands of time.

And on a more bloggerly note-the country count has gone up to 106! And I am about 700 visits off 100,000 visitors since I put up the blog counter ( not Neoworks but the other). So i will be keeping my eye on the number- maybe something special from Syria might find its way over the the 100,00th reader!