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Dec Holiday - Day Seven

Tues, 21st Dec 10

After a late night reading, woke up bleary eyed in Damascus, Syria.



Errr.... the Breakfast spread?


It was sooo shockingly simply. Now i realise why. NO MEAT WHATSOEVER. And it'd be the same thing every morning for the next 3 days. My mum who got tired of Hummus and hates cheese, lagi kesian only eat egg. We kept telling each other we'd go and buy shawarma when we got out but always no opportunity to!


So I had to settle for HUmmus and cheese on their lovely thin pocket pita kinda bread.


The dining area.


His outfit for today includes a Cap!

In Singapore, he wouldn't have kept that cap for even a second! But after the past few days, Dad made it exciting and cool to pull up the hood like the adults were and he would follow suit. And so he called this cap a Hood too and i let him thought so to get him to wear it. Even then, he did take off the cap a couple of times.


I forgot what he put on under there but at least a long sleeve and that jumper with leggings and the overall.

The Boss shifted the itinerary a bit and I'm so glad he did. After a lot of travelling the past 2 days, we were not up for another 2hours drive to see this one Maqam or we did tomorrow's itinery which is to go to just one place:


Entrance of The Bazaar - 15min drive away

There was only 1 escalator serving up so we had to carry him down in the stroller like a prince. haha


Stopped by a women's bridal shop to exchange money. I found this a bit hilarious. The money changer is not like a proper registered one but its the guide's friend and we got a somewhat good rate. 1 USD = 45 Syrian pounds.

And then we passed through the market.

Most were not opened yet as it was still early. Some of us kept making pitstops looking into the shop including me. But mine is totally excusable because we HAD to buy a glove for T. We lost or didn't bring the one we had and it was cold for T. I mean he wouldn't know how to keep his hands in the pocket would he?

Look at those cute cute cute traditional dresses!

I'm glad to say I didn't succumb to the cuteness. When would it be appropriate for him to wear? In HOT singapore? And he would prolly only wear it once.


Because the mosque or the palace is not opened yet, Mustafa the guide gave us some time to peruse the Spice market.


So colourful!

People were buying soap and saffron and by the 100s... But us with small kids bought chocolates and sweets, also as souvenirs for our colleagues.


Tufeil fell asleep from being pushed in the stroller by his Atok. It was such a shame it wasn't shopping time yet. It would be a breeze to shop when T's asleep!


That's the entrance of Azem Palace

It was so... back alley and didn't show the splendour like a Palace normally does. The reason for this is because centuries ago, women were blatantly raped and abused, so they built the palace this way in the hopes of protecting the women. Something like that.


Unfortunately, the palace is closed on a Tuesday and we didn't get to go in.

Next, Omayyad Mosque

Ok the blue socks totally didn't match but I was running out of options.

The stones were cold and Yusof, the father of the boys told me no need to take off baby's shoes but I felt guilty if I dont. Guilty if T got cold. Either way I couldn't win. Bah.



Majestic.
video

Just a 14 sec clip of T running around with the other kids.



Getting ready for Zohr and Asr.

I'm actually nervous to perform my first prayer in this VAST mosque with nobody else to look after him. So I stood in the front row and asked Hannah to help watch Tufeil hoping against hope that he would stay put. He probably sat for about 1 rakaat before he stood up and came to me. Luckily, there was a gap in front and beside me so everytime T tried to crawl to over to the men's section, I dragged him back w minimal move as possible. And then at the 4th rakaat, He was getting SUPER restless and rolled around all over me and the floor saying, "Nak Susu nak Susu!" Alamak so embarrassing but I was grateful the prayer was almost over and i nursed him right after. Until I almost forgot I hadn't prayed my 'Asr! HAHA.


This was also the churce of John the Baptist aka Propher Yahya A.S



The Baptism well?


Maqam Rain Sayyidina Al Hussein r.a



Simply had to take picture with the tomb of Tufeil's namesake.


The building of the Tomb of Salahuddin Al-Ayubi.

I'm sure i'd learnt who he was in school but can't recall but he is a conqueror of sort.


Tomb of Sayidatina Ruqaiyyah.


Here I went in alone with T. Lured him around with the heavenly chocolate we just bought at the market. and didn't carry him at all! A lady with a baby girl who was feeding her apple gave one slice to T when he peered at the baby. Alas, he didn't want it and I had to eat it.


I hafta admit I didn't remember who this saint is. But guessing by the flocks of women clad in black, some crying, I reckon it is one of Say Ali's family members.


YAYYY LUNCHTIME!!! After turning this way and that way in a series of alleys, we reached..

Beit Siti Restaurant - Grand mother's House!




Entrance! Mat'am Beit Siti.


Inside


This is a classic example of "Luar setinggan, dalam kondo!" The exterior was crummy and all that, but the inside was just BEAUTIFUL in a admittedly rustic way, i think. I looks bright because the ceiling has a sliding mechanism just like Medina. COOL or what!?

I dont know why I kept taking pictures of Appetisers even though it's ALWAYS the same around here.


I guess its to show how nice the table is set and also because it's the only time i'm free to snap one. Once we started our meal, there's no clean hand and always a danger of T falling of the chair or smashing the glass or something, you know?


SURPRISE SURPRISE!!! FRIES!!! WEEEEE



Tufeil was immediately appeased.



He found a girlfriend! hahaha



Right after lunch, we were given 3 hours to shop to our hearts content!!! The good thing was we were free to roam on our own instead of you know having to wait for other people. There were just a few things on our shopping list:



  1. Sand Bottles souvenirs we bought 12-14 pcs.

  2. Abaya / jalabiah - SYP 2,100 - 2,500 = USD 24

  3. My Shoes - SYP 250 = USD 4.5 = SGD 5.5

  4. A Mickey Mouse overall for T - SYP 300 = USD 6!!

  5. Sleeves (sarung tangan) - USD 2. We bought like 5pcs

  6. And socks (IMPORTANT!!!) Only Syria has the right quality we like!

We bought a dozen worth of this Al Samah brand at SYP 440 + 1 free.


That equates to slightly under S$1 per piece! Dirt cheap right? In geylang, it's like 3 for $10 sey!! Luckily when we reached the hotel, we took out one to see (why didn't we do it at the shop?!?!?!) and it was totally WRONG!! It has the shape of the heel which was sooo funny and not as thick as I would have liked!! Thankfully, we had a few hours at the bazaar again on our last day and we finally found the RIGHT one. slightly more expensive 10pcs for SYP 750 about SGD 2 each. We didn't know what to do with the wrong socks! But Kak Ly seemed to like it so we gave her all 13 pieces!



Oh! I hafta write how we totally got ripped off by some kids selling this flying balloon toy. I didn't care if it was made in China or not but the kid was totally cheating us. Firstly he sold us 2pcs for SYP 100. When later, other boys were willing to give us 5 pcs at the same price! Not that I needed so many anyway. Ok that's fine. My mum didn't have small change for gave him SYP 200, and he gave my mum 2 coins in return explaining that each is SYP50. I was standing in the shade a few steps away and later when Mum showed me the coins.. and I inspected them, they are actually SYP 25 each!! The Scoundrel purposely went to look for coins because there are no English numbers on it! And hoped that my mum couldn't tell or see the difference! I know its such a small amount but a cheater is a cheater and I find it very hard to forgive him! ERGH!

OK back to the niceties... DINNER TIME! It was back at the same Beit Siti. We were there right on the dot of 6pm and wondered where everyone was. Turned out we were supposed to meet there only at 6.30pm! Aiyooo.. In the meantime, we entertained T with drawings on a real pen (asyik pakai magnetic board jer BORING)



Atok draw apa , Atok?


Wahhh Train, Airplane, bus..

video

A short clip of Ayah drawing a Lion and Tufeil colouring.

Dinner was DELISH!!! I enjoyed my meals here very much! Apart from the fries again, the entree briyani, the chicken in a mashed potato gravy w lotsa mushrooms. I totally cleaned up my plate! Oh yes and the Cheese in a fried puff. HEAVEN OR WHAT!!!!

Tufeil was great today... sleeping twice in the stroller without having to nurse him. The second time was during the shopping slot. Only towards the end on the way back to the hotel did he get cranky from sitting all day I guess. We were waiting for the bus, see, and he absolutely hates being stationary IN the stroller. I really had to block out his screams till Ayah carried him.

Anyway, we reached our rooms 9.15pm. BLISS


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