Day 3 - Thr 30 Nov 06
Up at 08:30 for breakfast at the hotel - not the most amazing breakfast for $9. Headed out and found an Internet Cafe, and sent my first e-mail back home. Then it was back to the Covered Souq, as soon as I entered it, I was grabbed by a guy I saw last night. He took me off to his shop to drink tea, chat and sell me something. I had no intention of getting anything but he showed me a very nice black silk scarf. He started at $115 and I got it for $30. I've no idea if I've been ripped off or not but I have a nice scarf!
Then it was down to the Mosque, I paid my 50 SYP and tried to see Saladin's Tomb but it was shut for prayers. So I headed into the courtyard of the Mosque, the floor is all marble which is fine in the sun, but in the shade it is freezing. It's a beautiful building and I got lots of photos. I headed into the mosque and got to see the tomb of John the Baptist, its covered by a turret and surrounded by green glass.
By this time prayers had finished and Saladin's Tomb was re opened, a very understated affair, but impressive never the less.
Headed around the corner to my local 'fried wrap' place, 30 SYP well spent. However I managed to drip oil from my food all over my Lonely Planet and my trousers, so back to the hotel to clean up. I stopped off at my street vendor and got a Pepsi and a croissant - and it was a good one!
After that I returned to the streets with the intention of sorting out my trip to Hama, but that needs cash, so I tried to cash a Travellers Cheque. My hotel wouldn't, the huge Four Seasons wouldn't, but they said the Meridian would. After a long detour I found it and they wouldn't. Eventually I found a bank just around the corner from my hotel (agghh!) that would, but they are now shut until Sat.
Headed back to the old city and walked down a bit of Straight Street and the spice souq before heading back to the Mosque to get some night photos. In the new city I found a bakery doing their version of mini flat bread cheese and olive pizza - very good for 10SYP. I misplaced the Internet cafe that I used in the morning, but after a hunt I found it one street along from where I thought it was! Then back to the hotel via my street trader to get breakfast for tomorrow. 45SYP for two croissants, some water, some Pepsi, a packet of crisps and a kit kat bar - much better value that my $9 breakfast!
Spent the rest of the evening trying to work out what to do next, and that seems to be to leave Damascus on Sat and stay a night in Palmyra. Tomorrow is the museum, Straight Street and the old train station.