Year Abroad in Syria – Day #44

11/10/08

Day 44

Yesterday I went on another day trip outside of Damascus, this time to a place called “Bludan”, which is an hour bus ride North-West and is situated at the foot of the mountains that form the border between Syria and Lebanon. The trip was a large youth-group outing organized by the church I go to here. There were about forty youth that came along from the church, all around my age. It was great to make some new friends and it was a great opportunity to learn some more about the Christian-Arab culture among youth my age.

In “Bludan” we visited a famous tourist site called “Moses’ Cave”, which is an old underground quarry that has been converted into a tourist site, with a restaurant inside and numerous gift shops. You would think from the name that it has some sort of religious significance, but actually it was just named after the owner’s father, Moses. Inside the cave they had carved out various sculptures in the walls and at the heart of the cave was a natural water reservoir, which guests could explore by pontoon boat. The cave also served as a great getaway from the heat outside.

After exploring the cave we took the bus up to the top of one of the mountainsides to a large villa that was reserved for our use that day. The view was absolutely stunning and you could see for miles and miles East over Syria. At the villa we had our lunch and then they played some group games and sang some songs. It was pretty much like the youth rally gatherings that we would have in England (except without the “Father Abraham…”). After that we took a trip to the local theme park and tried out some of the rides. We had a lot of fun on the bumper cars. Now I know where the Syrians learn their crazy driving! It was a great trip and I look forward to the next one, wherever that may be.

My classes have started up again and getting to the college is so much easier than before. Now all I have to do is walk downhill for 10 minutes and then get a bus for 3 minutes, which drops me off directly outside the entrance to my college. So for a 9am class I can now leave my place at quarter to, instead of an hour to (as before from my old place in Jaramana).

Unfortunately I had another case of the “Damascus Stomach” this past week, but am back to 100% again. A lot of others were also having it for the second time, as if it’s a periodical thing! I hope it doesn’t become a pattern, because it is not pleasant at all, especially when the toilets at the university are like something out of the flippin’ Stone Age! It’s quite ridiculous. Here you are, at an institution of educated and civilised people, and it’s as if the toilets are designed for savages! This is a common thing here, and in my opinion, is one of the low points of Arab culture. I mean… really!

Anyway, enough about all of that! I shall speak to you soon.

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