Old City Discovery

Yesterday, I took my cousin for a walk around Old City Damascus, S&S-style. It’s really sad because Syrians rush through Old Damascus, business only. They don’t really give it its due. For me, the Old City is like a never ending mystery. In these two years I’ve been there more times than I can count and every single time is a completely distinct and unique experience. I can go through the same shops a million times (no exaggeration) and still feel like I’m exploring them for the first time. Whether it’s Souk Al-Hamdiayyah, the Ummayyed Mosque, Bab Touma, or the the winding alleys in between – I could spend hours and hours there, photographing, walking, experiencing Damascus. 

So on my trip yesterday I found these: aren’t they wicked! That’s Naji Al-Ali’s Handala. I bought the wooden one with the map first, for 75 sp (he was asking for 100) and the metal one afterwards for 50 (he was asking for 75). Lol, yeah I suck at haggling, but hey, it’s part of my “Old City experience!” And as I kept walking I seen some necklaces. 

Store owner: Where are you from?
S&S: Damascus
SO: No, I mean where are you from?
S&S: Damascus??
SO: *long look*
S&S: K, FINE! Canada.
SO: No way! (in english) I’m from Philly!
S&S: Yo! Philly! I lived there for six years!!

Yeah.. we hit it off. I don’t really like telling people where I’m from, as a rule. It sort of complicates things. I end paying God knows how much for the thing I want to buy, or am asked: which is better, Syria or Canada. The dreaded question to which there is no right answer. I say Syria: NOO! Be honest! Don’t be shy! I say Canada: Well, what’s wrong with Syria then? And why’re you here if you hate it so much? 

Anyways, I didn’t end up buying the necklace for some odd reason :S I meant to ask him to make it into another keychain for me. Hmm.. I’ll have to go back then 🙂 But I did get some handmade woven bracelets and some wicked pics of the Ummayyed mosque! 

PS: If anyone hears anything about photography courses in Damascus Syria, please please let me know!! I’d love to register!!

And this just came in – I’m off to the beach for five days. The 8th – 12th I won’t be here. I can’t wait to go to Kassab! Gorgeous. Last time I was there, we went to this beach that was half Turkey half Syria, and I remembered A Walk to Remember: I want to be in two places at once. And Homer Simpson. So we jumped back and forth going Turkey! Syria! Turkey! Syria! till we couldn’t from laughing so hard. Lol.

The writing isn’t too clear – the upper part is Turkey, the lower Syria. Beautiful isn’t it?



Filed under Canada, Cartoons, Palestine, Personal, Syria

4 responses to “Old City Discovery

  1. I have a similar ongoing experience here in Kuwait – people want to know where I am from. I laugh and say “Ana Kuwaitiyya!” One time, they persisted and asked which family, and I picked a name I had seen in the headlines recently, laughing. They all laughed – but now they always call me that Enezi womam. I worry that the joke may come back to bite me. Yikes.

    Love the photos. You have a good eye. 🙂

  2. souvenirsandscars

    LOL! I did the same thing once too, only to get into some VIP section. But the guy totally bought it and highly doubt I’ll see him again :S. Hopefully it won’t come back to haunt you. It’s funny isn’t it? Haven’t you noticed that doors that were once mysteriously closed seem to open automatically once they realize you’re from a Western country? The Aghnabi (foreigner) status has it’s perks 😉

  3. I am Egyptian by heritage but people automatically always ask where I’m from. Usually think Im from the gulf because my “lah-gah” (accent) is not masraya. Usually it ends up coming out that I was born and raised in the states, but I don’t admit it to store people. Easiest way to get ripped off, as you know.

  4. souvenirsandscars

    Too true!! People rarely believe I’m Syrian. Even when it comes out that I was raised in Canada, they still think I’m Lebanese, Palestinian, Egyptian, or Iraqi. I think it’s because I grew up in a diverse Muslim society in Canada, and I’ve picked up a lot of different dialects. And that’s only the dialect. The way I dress is distinctly Persian, or so I’ve been told.
    When they insist I’m not Syrian, I just laugh it off and say I’m a Middle Eastern nomad – no specific country or culture 😉

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