Day 6 - Sun 3 Dec 06
Blimey my room was cold last night, I had to get up and put on my fleece, and then get back into bed. There was no hot water last night so the cold shower reminded me of the shower I took in Mongolia. Of course this morning there is piping hot water - oh well, the cold shower wasn't that bad!
Checked out of the hotel (250SYP) and headed for where the LP says the buses leave from, but everyone I asked said, no and pointed me in the opposite direction. On the way I'm spotted by the same guy who drove me to the hotel last night, so for 50SYP I get dropped of at the bus station, and another 100SYP gets me a ticket on the bus to Homs. I'm running low on local cash now, so I'm unsure if I'll head for Krak de Chevaliers today or not. I'll see what happens at Homs.
Right, I'm going to Hama first, and do the Krak later. It seems that Homs has three bus stations, and I got dropped off at the southerly one, an 80SYP taxi ride (with meter) got me to the microbus station to the north of the city. 40SYP got me on a microbus up to Hama.
The scenery on the bus from Palmyra started out as desert which is irrigated to get stuff to grow, then it changed to low hills with fruit trees, and then snow capped mountains in the distance!
The microbus took about a half hour to get to Homs, but the driver just let us out on the side of the road, I followed my nose into town, but got a bit lost. To use a map you need to know where you are, of find a landmark. I could do neither!
I asked a shop owner, and she pointed me in the direction of the Citadel, and from what I could work out I'd gone to far north, and not enough east. After that I found my hotel with no problems. Three nights for 1125SYP, the room is clean and tidy, has hot water, a balcony and a fridge! Out on the streets to cash a travellers cheque, but the bank here won't accept it even with the purchase receipt, so changed $20 cash. Did a bit of food shopping and then headed out to find the water wheels that Hama and the surrounding area is famous for.
The two wheels in the centre of town are high and dry at the moment with no water to power them, so I move on to the next set about 1Km upstream. One of the pair is turning here, but I had to ask to get into a restaurant garden to get up close to it. It makes such a groaning noise as it turns, it's quite un-earthly.
They have traffic lights here that the traffic actually stops for, of course it doesn't stop the hooting of horns!
In the evening I had a look around town, they've got a pretty large souq here, but it seems to sell just shoes and fabric. I got a chicken kabab/chips/wrap thing for supper not bad for 50SYP. Still no news about the trip I want to do tomorrow is on, so I nip next door to the Raid Hotel, and find a much more talkative chap. No there isn't a tour, but for $26 I can hire a car with driver and do the stuff I want. It's way more than I want to pay, but hey it's £13. I can't even get into London on the train for that. You have to keep things in perspective.
Ohh, my hotel owner wasn't happy that I'd gone to the opposition next door, but I told him that when I asked him at 19:30 he said there was no tour, and that I had to get something sorted!