Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Walking Old Damascus (2)

You know how it is, when you are flat-out totally in love, you can’t see the flaws. In moments of clarity, I can understand that there could be hardships to living in Damascus. There could be problems meeting the codes for historical preservation while trying to install modern plumbing. There could be bureaucrats to bribe, there could be problems with labor, I don’t know any of this, I am just guessing.

None of it matters to me, I am so head-over-heels happy. Thanks be to God, AdventureMan shares my insanity, and we are having a wonderful time walking, walking, walking. He is SO patient with me, and all the photos I have to stop to take.

Today we visit the Ummayyad Mosque which also contains the tomb of John the Baptist. I think this is one of the reasons we love Damascus so much – the co-existence of Islam and Christianity, and the sharing of sacred spaces.

The parking area in front of the mosque is full of vendors. My favorite are the bread carts:

Non-Muslims have to go to the entrance where you can rent an abaya with a hood, so that you can visit the mosque. All visitors are welcome; entire tour groups are going through, French, German. You also have to take off your shoes, and the beautiful marble flooring is VERY cold! In some places, there is carpeting.

This is a tree-of-life detail from the treasury:

Once inside the Ummayad Mosque, they have that in-floor heating, so you can warm your tootsies back up while experiencing the magnificence of the mosque interior (please note the horseshoe arches):


The tomb of John the Baptist:

A funny story: as we are leaving the Mosque, AdventureMan says “where is this tomb of John the Baptist you wanted to visit?” and I looked at his in puzzlement. We had finished touring the whole mosque, and I had photographed the tomb.

“We already visited it!” I told him.

“When?” he asked.

“It was that beautiful tomb in the main mosque area surrounded by people praying!” I replied.

“No, that was somebody named Yahyah,” he corrected me.

“Yahyah is the name for John the Baptist,” I told him. Guess he would have appreciated it more if he had known at the time. I just assumed he knew.

I must have been a magpie in another life. I don’t know why, but I love these glittery Chinese decorations. AdventureMan bought one for me, a golden crown with big red “jewels”. The shops always catch my eye:

This is a famous ice cream place in the Souk Hammadiyya:

This shop was on the traditional medicine shop street. It had herbs, and dried creatures which can be used in healing, and unusual soaps, and also seashells:

This is the traditional souk at the beginning of the Street Called Straight (al Mustaqeen) which is undergoing renovation. Just wanted you to see the bulletholes through the roof:

I don’t know if you could find a truly bad meal in Damascus. I think you would really have to try! We found this wonderful restaurant, Al Kawali, not too far from our hotel, and we loved their food and we loved the atmosphere, and we loved having the bread baked right under our noses:


For those of you who, like me, are addicted to spaces and details – look at these gorgeous light fixtures, Damascene glass:

And last, but not least – we find the food so fabulous that we are eating too much. Our first time at Al Kawali, we order just some favorite mezze dishes and soup. When the tastes are so perfect, it takes less to fill you up, and this food is perfection.

We found this old house as we were leaving Al Kawali to walk back to the hotel:

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Building, Bureaucracy, Community, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Photos, Travel | , , , | 8 Comments

Not So Fast!

Have you looked at Weather Underground: Kuwait?

Don’t be to quick to put those sweaters away; the forecast for Saturday, Sunday and Monday is BELOW freezing. The Qatteri Cat is snuggled up to me like some kind of weird appendage. He comes running like a heat-seeking missile! Bundle up!

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Kuwait, Living Conditions, Weather | 2 Comments

Virus and Blonde

There was a time, this is a true story, when we had a friend who was both very beautiful, blonde, and also kind of dumb. We were at dinner one night and she told us you could catch the flu or a cold from a computer. She had been in her aerobic class and had heard people talking about it. They’re called “computer viruses”, she told us.

Her husband quickly diverted the conversation into another direction and we knew he would be explaining things to her in their car on the way home.

Here is what I feel like today:

Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures

A big croaky frog.

I have not caught this virus from anyone, I have caught it from visiting Swair’s Blog, I swear! It came over me the same day as the dust storm.

Oh? What? It might have been the dust?

*blonde moment*

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Community, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Joke, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Weather | 8 Comments