So we haven’t been blogging much from Syria. This is largely due to the general lack of excitement we’ve had. Syria is certainly an interesting and API Call Errorbeautiful country, but we’ve found that we’ve spent an awful lot of time seeing things, and haven’t actually done anything of interest. So for a brief recap:
From Palmyra we took a private car to visit some far-flung sites, turning what could have been a 2 hour bus ride to Hama into an all day trip on the scenic route, visiting a API Call Errordesert castle, API Call ErrorQasr al-Heir al-Sharki, the API Call Errorruins of the API Call ErrorRoman/Byzantine/Ummayad city of API Call ErrorRasefeh, and a brief stop to see the API Call ErrorEuphrates river, unfortunately far upstream of the most interesting historic sites that are closer to the Iraqi border.
API Call ErrorTaxis: we weren’t keen on trying the taxis in Egypt, as we were still intimated, not wanting to get taken for a ride (no pun intended!), and Cairo cabs in particular have a bad reputation for milking as much money out of tourists as they can. As it turned out since we booked a tour for Egypt, there wasn’t any need for them. Our first foray into Jordan proved quite manageable. We probably paid more than necessary for the ride from the ferry into Aqaba, but the driver was kind and friendly, and we didn’t feel ripped off, and that’s what really matters. We took a taxi to Wadi Rum (arranged by our tour guides there) without any trouble, and again from Petra to Dana. By the time we got to Amman, we didn’t think anything of flagging down a taxi to take us across town, especially as they are quite supposed to use their meters. A trip clear across town ended up costing us less than $4 (and this in a country whose costs are generally only slightly less than back home).
Well, we’ve been in Syria for about 5 days now, and to be honest we haven’t done a lot.
We arrived in Damascus latish at night on the 11th. Our first order of business was to get ripped off by a taxi driver. We’d originally agreed to pay a price higher than we’d been told we should because we only had very large bills, and needed change. So after confirming that the driver could provide change, 100 Syrian pounds (about $2) seemed reasonable. When we got to the hotel, the driver says “no change,” and requested as payment $3 US (this was after he went on a spiel about Canada, Italy, France… good, USA, UK bad during the ride), which we ended up paying just because we were too tired to bother arguing.