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4/2/2011 (julian solo)– Damascus to Mneen – İnto the wıld

March 6, 2011
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Following the money disappearance shenanigans the hotel who’d stolen the money offered to put us up in another hotel whilst they tried to uncover who’d dun it.  The whole experience was very strange and quite frustrating, even more so because it delayed departure.

Breakfast in the new hotel was better, they had mini pizzas J Rain pelting down on the roof of the courtyard wasn’t making leaving easier, but it was the right decision to part ways for a bit.  Having decided to go separate ways for  a month or so it felt like time together towards the leaving date was less tense than it had been.

A quick stop of in the souk and all but one spice shop is open and they seem to only sell ‘Maggi’ spices which low and behold are owned by Nestle.  Friday, the holy day, means that everything is closed, combined with the crap weather this is not the warm and welcoming Damascus I have experienced for 2 or so weeks – The place feels very lifeless, a stark contrast.

So I say goodbye and best of luck and venture out of the wet city – a very strange feeling indeed.  Having spent 4 months cycling together to cycle alone was a very new experience but then incredibly familiar at the same time.  It was not like starting the trip again but it felt like it in a lot of ways.

Leaving late in the afternoon I was keen to get out beyond the density of the city and find somewhere quiet and secluded to put my tent.  I felt a bit panicked, the light was fading and the tower blocks didn’t seem to finish any time soon.  For me camping alone was probably one of the biggest fears I wanted to face, so on the first day and light going I was hitting it head on.

Passing a few satellite towns the density was decreasing and I started to see potential spots.  Camping alone puts all your senses on high alert – You want to minimise being spotted clambering over fields traipsing down hills or erecting a yellow fabric dome in the distance.  Privacy is a number one priority and minimising inquisitive people and dogs is paramount.

I manage to find one place, a decent one just down a ridge so being spotted from the road was impossible and the field had no houses overlooking them, all safe.  Only problem was the snow covering the floor, I did my best to clear it away and got comfortable.  It felt a lot safer than I thought I would when I had imagined camping alone but your ears still prick up at every little rustle or odd noise.

Cooking for one felt weird as did not seeing another tent in the vicinity.  I cooked too much dinner but managed to eat it all.  I thought a lot about my parents who had recently returned back to London, how people‘s nights in London were developing and what Sasha was up to Damascus.  I felt a bit lonely but also happy to have some time alone.

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