On the way to Maaloula as we sped along a super-highway, our hostess said in Arabic to her son - Orlando looks just like this with all the car dealerships. Well it's not just like Orlando but the new car dealerships along the highway are unbelievable - glitzy and enormous.
I am too overwhelmed to write more. We wish we had more time here. I miss my family! Yesterday we were in the souks and Azem Palace... there's way too much to tell. I hope the photos will give a hint of the story. Impossible to describe how welcoming and kind people have been. It helps that I can get along in Arabic so well. Folks are surprised to hear sentences coming out of my mouth with a decent accent... my foreign looks don't match up with the sound of my Arabic. We've had great encounters with people all along. Also I shopped, not my usual practice... Syrian-made textiles and finished goods.
Life is good here in the Levant. Every hotel room in Damascus is full tonight, and we've seen hundreds of European tourists. The world is here. The Americans used to come, they say, and I believe we will be back.
We were lucky to get a room at Dar Al-Yasmin. It's lovely, much quieter than other places but still centrally located.
Have learned all about preserved eggplant. More later.