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13/02/11 – Deir Az Zawr and the novelty of desert roads wears a little thin

March 5, 2011

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Morning breaks and I can’t help but have another photo session, this time trying to capture the vastness of where I’m camping. I’m accompanied by a guy on a bike with his kids, very interested in what I’m doing. The kids are a little shy though.

Only 50km to Day Az Zawr and I’m contemplating an evening off the saddle. I arrive in the town and it doesn’t feel like the kind of place I want to stay in – not that it was a bad town I just didn’t get the impression I would find somewhere I could get my head down for a night, so I make do with a cheap kebab, inevitably attracting the curiosity of everyone in the vicinity. So far the stickers of flags on my frame have been a great asset –everyone is immediately drawn to them and points at their own flag with pride. It’s a good way to connect with people, some smiles are shared and all is good.

I head out of the town and at least try and find the nice bridge over the Euphrates that the town is known for – I find it and some bored looking guys with cameras ready for tourist pictures help me lift the bike over the no bikes barriers. I cycle over the Euphrates and get a couple of cursory shots, then carry on to try and find the road to Al Hasakah and the border. I stop at a gas station for pot wash and get offers of tea and cigarettes, which I happily oblige to with my map to ask them for some directions, of which they are more than happy to help. I head out of town on a new road destined to shave 70km off the route to Al Hasakah. The road is dead quiet and super high quality and I find a great camp among a line of half built pylons, lucking upon an empty cattle shed as shelter for the night.

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