Co0mbined with Lebanon, Jordan & Egypt.
I love Syria.
President's Assad posters were all over the country.
The people seemed to be friendly.
Better than in Egypt for sure.
I love Syria as there are many ancient sites for me to explore.
Some of these sites were not even excavated yet, at least during the time when I was there.
This map below, you can see my itineraries around Syria (entering from Lebanon).
Below is the diary of my times around Syria.
10th April 2005 (Sunday) : Arrived in Aleppo at about 4 AM ! Millions of taxi drivers 'attacked' me ! I said, "LA !" for the first time in this trip !
"La" means NO in Arabic...
Finding my hotel & was greeted by a drunk receptionist !
First day in Syria, so far was so good. Called up Mohammed. For a bout 30 minutes, he pathed the way around The Souqs & left me at The Citadel ! It was an amazing sight this citadel in Aleppo...We planned to meet again at 10 pm on the same day. After The Citadel in Aleppo, on the same day I took public transports & reached myself in the ruins of St. Simeon Basilica. Amazing ruins...Came back to Aleppo & met up with Mohammed again & he brought me 2 friends. They are all university students.
We talked. We talked & we argued & we had a debate ! I left telling them that I came to their country because I wanted to see their country but I urged them not to come to my country because they would never understand how people of different races & religions can live in harmony.
Lastly I said to them, "You were born here, you are living here & you might as well die here !".
I left with a sad feeling thinking that they are some bigots in this world !
11th April (Monday) : In the morning, went to The Dead Cities & I managed to cover 2 places : Serjilla & Al-Barah. Both going by public transport.
On the way back, a student guy sat next to me & he invited me to his place ! On that evening, I had one of the best hospitalities in my travel life !
12th April (Tuesday) : Morning bus to Hamah, only to be dropped off on the highway ! Had to take a taxi to the town centre. Checked in to the hotel & sharing the dormitory with Chris, a Swedish in a galabiya. Rushed to Apamea, again by public transport. Again, another amazing ruin on top of a hill !
Bought an Apamea 'artefact' by a trout there; Only cost me 1USD; Don't care they are genuine or not but it sure looks so nice to my eyes !
13th April (Wednesday) : Morning bus to Homs but caught a bus to Palmyra right away ! Homs is just a transport hub, not much to see or so I was told. Arrived in Palmyra, rushed here & there & everywhere ! The Most Touristy Place in Syria, me think as I met Americans, French, Germans etc etc.
14th April (Thursday) : Morning bus back to Homs & managed to put my luggage at the Luggage Office where people also put their TVs, their bicycles, maybe their pets as well in there ! Caught a service bus to Crac des Chevaliers ! Perched on top of a hill; The scenery is spectacular but of course by this time, I had seen too many ruins...back to Homs & collected my luggage & caught the early evening bus to Damascus ! The capital city of Syria.
Watching a semi-porn Arab movie on the bus...& arrived in Damascus at about 7 pm. Called Firas but couldn't get him at first...Managed to sip some teas in a place where many old people (all men) playing chess & smoking neglijeh.
15th April (Friday) : In the morning on my own, doing my own walk around The Old Damascus. Also checking the famous Umayyad Mosque.
Followed Firas' advice, went in the museum; Sort of glad that I bought 'the artefact' in Apamea. Met up with Firas again at 5 pm & went up the hill with him; Sipping drinks & watching the sunset over Damascus ! That was so amazing !
Thanks Firas for everything that you did to me !
16th April 2005 (Saturday) : Morning bus to De'ra. Managed to secure my luggage, thanks for being a Malaysian ! Caught the bus to Bosra. On that day, all the cholls in Syria organized the school trip to Bosra so I was 'bombarded' by billions of kids ! Good that they were not smelly but the noise they made could awaken all the warriors who died in the theater in Bosra !
Also, I laughed out loud when a kid kept on following me saying, "1 Dollar, No problem !"...he's trying to see this 10-postcards-in-1 thing. His name is Moustaffa...Met his brother, called Alaa who told me that they could earn good money during the peak tourist season; They also told me that they prefered Euros than US Dollars. So, my money was safe anyway...back to De'ra & negotiatiating a taxi to cross the border to Jordan, a town called Ramtha; From where I had to take another bus to Irbid & another bus to Um Qais ! This was the place where I saw part of Israel & Sea of Galilee...& of course the infamous Golan Heights !
Bye Syria; Bye Assad & all your family members; Bye Salam, please don't get drunk again ! Bye Hassan in Palmyra; Bye Firas & I hope your dream will come true 1 day my great host ! Bye Moustaffa & Alaa...I would love to come again ! I dunno when...my friends.
And lastly, Mohammed & your stupid friends, you guys just drop dead in Aleppo !
It's sad what is happening to Syria now, in 2012.
People couldn't enter the country as freely.
I definitely urge people who like to see ancient sites to go to Syria.
It's easy to move around.