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13/02/2011 (julıan solo)– Aleppo

March 6, 2011

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Axle the Norwegian from the Monastery is in Aleppo as well so we meet outside and monstrosity of the Sheraton hotel and move my bike to the plumbing shop as they’ve agreed to store it for me until I meet another friend, Pieter also from the monastery, with whom im staying with for the rest of my time in Aleppo.  Afterwards we grab some freshly made flat breads, which are cooked on an enormous conveyor belt and are then laid out on the pavement so they dry a little and some sweet nut paste which we then spread generously over the warm bread.

Aleppo has great atmosphere, the buildings drenched in history overhanging into the street.  We visit the Citadel which sit atop and man-made hill, its really impressive but gets even more so at the gatehouse, which contains the kings quarters and some well positioned archer positions.  The citadel is not as big as I had imagined but has great views of the city and is populated by a lot of Syrian youth, who get almost free entry, courting or hanging out.  After the citadel Axle and I are accosted by 2 Syrians who want to practice their English, I’d rather eat lunch but decide to play along for a bit.  They tell us the facebook ban has been lifted by the president and offer an interesting insight into the psyche of a young Syrian who prize European and American culture as superior to their own, we argue otherwise.

I have made an arrangement to meet someone that helped me yesterday so head over there giving a handy reason to part way with the others.  I sit and have tea with Mohammed, he wants me to go home and meet his parents but I have arranged to meet Pieter and his offers feel a bit to over-bearing so I make an excuse and make my way.

Back with Axle and in need of an alcoholic beverage after my Syrain social duty we go to a hotel overlooking the main square.  We chat about music and wait for Pieter.  He arrives with a friend from work and we chat about religion in Syria and what else they have picked up from living and working here for 4 or so months.  Tagging along with people that know a city always results in a good time so when we arrive at a unmarked doorway with just a security guard and a lift I know its probably going to be good.  The lift opens are we come out into a huge covered courtyard filled with conversation, music and people enjoying themselves.  The food is amazing and we listen to Pieter’s friend talk about the division between Flemish desire to be independent from French governance in Belgium.

Back at Pieters place we enjoy an Arak to cap the night and I ask him questions about living and working in another country something im very keen to do in the future.

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