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10/02/2011 (julian solo) – Qalat al Hosn to Al Laqbah – Bread?

March 6, 2011
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Hills up the other side of the valley are pretty draining and I think about what I could remove from my bags to lighten the load.  At the top of the hill I make my way along one side of a valley which falls to my right, its covered in green steppe.

The weather takes a turn for the worse and valley becomes grey within minutes.  I stop off in the next village, no one understands my request for ‘Habez’ – bread in Arabic, somedays it works other days you repeat and repeat until the person says ‘Ah’ and then says exactly what you said back to you.  The entire village seems to be out of bread, I visit 5 or so shops and no one has any.  A school streams out and the kids traipse along the side of the wet road, blurting out ‘Hello’s’ and ‘How are you’s?” At the next shop I explain using hand signals that there seems to be no bread in the village.  The lady asks how many I need and then walks round to her house and gives me 4 of her own.

I take refuge under a balcony and eat fish and cheese sandwiches.  Back on the road I spot a rainbow and take a picture, a man ventures over and tells me I cant take pictures, grumpy git.  Through Masyiaf a bustling town and back out into the hills with trees.  Its nice to see dense forest again and I pass a couple walking in the road obviously enjoying the good weather and setting, it’s the first people I’ve seen walking in nature since Europe probably.  The guy asks where im going in good English, I chat with them for a bit exchange phone numbers (Is a very Syrian thing to do, whether its because im a tourist I have no idea) and then make my way.

I can see the beginnings of Al Ghab, the huge low lying plain I’ve come to see the lights from Hama in the distance.  I sit in an opening in the forest up a hill until its dark, reflecting on the day and relaxing and then set up the tent under the stars.

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