I keep trying to capture the magic of the sun glinting off the fishing nets, and I fail. Maybe one day!
Meanwhile, I an swept away by the excitement of bringing in a rich harvest.
The fish are carried in baskets straight into the fish market, where they are auctioned off and sold. So fresh!
I’ve really saved the best for last. I am about to take you into our very favorite restaurant in Damascus, Naranj. It is very close to The Talisman, at the Roman Arch on the Street called Straight, and just across from the Greek Patriarchate. We were lucky to eat there when we did – and to have a table where we could watch all the high Syrian Poo-Bahs come to dine. The food was – hands down – the best food we ate in Damascus, and we ate some truly fine food there. Unfortunately, we could only eat there once – all the other times, every table was reserved!
We don’t know why, but Naranj was also the only place we saw females working in a restaurant – one as a hostess and one as our waitress and one as the bread girl (bringing around baskets of fragrant freshly baked flat breads). We saw very few women working anywhere, in fact the only other women I can remember were running the ONAT – the very fine handicraft shop down near Bab Sharqi.
In the heavy black stone container (HOT!) is a dish called Hommos wa Burghul, or Garbanzos and Wheat. It must have had a ton of butter in it, to be so rich and so delicious, and with such simple ingredients. If any of you make this dish, I would love the recipe.
Silly me. I love copper and brass, and would have bought more, but I thought we were limited on Jazeera to 20 kg – that’s what the ticket said! It seems everyone else knows that it just isn’t so.
As the street lining the souks at the beginning of the Street Called Straight is under renovation, the shops still open, but people have to negotiate their way up ramps:
This beautiful statue is on the grounds of the Damascus Museum. You can’t take photos inside. We actually like the grounds of the museum better than we like the inside, currently. We think we remember a lot more stuff formerly, but it seems very spare now.
And I saved my very favorite photo for the last – Damascus DOES have modern trucks that deliver fuel in the more modern part of the city, but in the tiny narrow streets of the old city, they still use a cart with a horse, who can get into the smaller spaces. This card delivers fuel oil, and as he goes along, he sounds a two-toned horn – not a loud horn, but a distinctive horn – so that if anyone needs coal oil, they run out and he gives it to them.
I have had responses that tell me Damascus is not for everybody. Even while I was there, I could imagine friends who would not love it as we do, might find it too old-fashioned, maybe too dirty, too inconvenient, lacking in up-to-date conveniences.
We also went knowing that as Americans, we might have problems. We never had a problem. We never met a single Syrian who wasn’t gracious and welcoming, and we were well treated at every turn.
We like adventure. We like history. We like walking, and we like good food. We like architectural details, we like fusion cultures, and we LOVE small, personal, charming hotels like the Talisman, with their excellent service. For us, this trip to Damascus was a supurb vacation.