Monday, 28 December 2009
In the morning, we left the polluted Damascene air behind us.
Travelling through the Syrian Desert, we arrived in Palmyra.
The Syrian Desert is a stony desert. It doesn't only consist of sand. It is possible to find some oasis from time to time.
I rested like I never did before whilst travelling through dry and empty desert. There was nothing to distract me; not even a tree in some parts...I didn't remember the past and did not worry about the future. The desert has such an impact on me; for some reason it gives me peace. Travelling is to search for oneself and find the truth. I find peace. Everything started looking much nicer to me thanks to the desert. Even though it is a dry, yellow and empty desert.
In this country (and in Lebanon), which is called a rogue, terrorist and dangerous state, I didn't feel any danger or worry. I even feel safer and less stressful than in London and Istanbul. And I’ve travelled so much, what I see everywhere is that people laugh, cry, yawn, fight and hug. I travelled so much, I don't know with which instinct or to search what. I guess to feel freedom and I really achieve that when I am travelling. But in this country called an enemy, terrorist and dangerous, people live, laugh, cry and take life lightly just like we do. But unfortunately, because of some groups of people, they are framed and their lives and opportunities are restricted. They are all considered in one group, looked down upon, and unfortunately humiliated.
Palmyra ruins are fascinating. This place also has been used in turn by all the civilisations that have passed through here. It is very exotic.
Palmyra and the under and over ground tombs have a very mysterious air.
Tonight we are staying in room 121 of Zenobia Sham Hotel, which has the views of the Palmyra ruins and is in walking distance to the ancient site. Zenobia is the name of the last Palmyran queen.
A French woman used to run this hotel during the French colonial times. This woman was acting as a spy for both France and the UK. She married a Bedevin and was the first European woman to go to Mecca. She was arrested there for being a spy but was released with the help of the French and the British. She used to bath naked in the rivers of Palmyra, so the Arabs and the Bedevins would watch her secretly.
Then she opened an office in Paris assisting Nazis who were escaping to Brazil and Argentina. For this reason, she was murdered by Mossad in Morocco.
Tonight, we will dine in a Bedevin tent and I believe that there will be some dancers as well. The food, especially the mezes are the same or similar to the ones in Lebanon but I have to say that the food and mezes in Lebanon are much more delicious.