Damascus Journals

Damascus Ain't So Bad

A May 2004 trip to Damascus by PeterJohnson

Whirling Dervishes Photo, Damascus, Syria More Photos
Quote: I decided to really do something on vacation this time, so I tried out this workshop vacation trip where you learn a craft. I chose the drum making classes. It was really fun and I learned all sorts of stuff.

Damascus Ain't So Bad

Overview

Quote:
Hiking around the old city is the best. The stuff you run into is amazing. It's not so much of a tourist trap, but as this place becomes more popular, it could become so. With the workshop I attended, I really got to see the people as they are, because I worked alongside the local craftsman and they took us different places that most people would not ever see. I hope you like tea, because you’re going to drink lots of it. Everyone wants to invite you and talk to you. People are really fascinated with foreigners here, especially Americans, although they are not so happy with our government right now. I never felt threatened at all and I cannot imagine these people hurting a fly. Definitely stop ...Read More
Workshop Vacations House Photo, Damascus, Syria
Quote:
The old Arabic House really makes you feel like you have gone back in time. Going the bathroom is a bit of a surprise and I will leave it a surprise. Some things have to be experienced.

It was sort of like dorm rooms where you shared a room, but the rooms were really nice and my roommate was great. It added to the community feel they seemed to want to create.

The food they served was great. One of the cooks is from America, so we did not get overloaded with local food, which was nice. The nights in the courtyard were so relaxed and fun. People would come by and some would entertain us. Great place!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 1, 2004

Workshop Vacations House
In the old city
Damascus, Syria

Eating Home

Restaurant | "Eat at Peoples Homes"

Quote:
I just wanted to put this up for those of you going to Damascus. Do your best to get invited to people's homes. At least don't turn down an invitation. The home-cooked food is nothing like what you see in the restaurants. Try to get some homemade Makdoos. Stuffed Eggplant.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 1, 2004

Eating Home
Throughout Damascus
Damascus, Syria

Whirling Dervishes

Attraction

Whirling Dervishes Photo, Damascus, Syria
Quote:
I don't think this is a place you can just show up to, but our hosts are real spiritual types and know about things here that few have experienced. One such place was this religious gathering of Whirling Dervishes at a sort of meditation ceremony. Men stand in a circle and it gets real native with singing and dancing, they call it worship. The women do the same in another room. It is really intense and I have to admit it had an effect on me I cannot explain. Definitely worth a look if you can find someone to take you. It is best to enter in an Arabic style of dress, but it is not required. I think women need to cover with a scarf, not sure. Plenty of women here do not, but this is a religious gatherin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 1, 2004

Whirling Dervishes
In the Old City
Damascus, Syria

Why All the Fuss

Story/Tip

Quote:
I don't get it. They must be talking about another country. Why is Syria painted as such a bad place to go? It's beyond me.

Really, I had the feeling that I was much more safe in Damascus than I would be anywhere in the world. The people are just fantastic. I told everyone I was from America and never had one bad experience. Sometimes I would joke with people and put my hand over my mouth - indicating not to tell anyone where I was from. It always got a good laugh. The real shock comes when you go home. Then you know for sure that there is something really special about the place. I miss it a lot. But I still am asking myself - Why all of the fuss over Syria?