Friday, November 23, 2007

pictures at last of my holiday in Damascus

On our first day in Damascus, we staggered off to the souk and the grand Mosque to find a guide for the duration. Walking through the souk was wonderful - busy, with real people going about their everyday shopping, not just tourists like us. This window was on the first floor, and as soon as they saw me take a photo, they sent a runner to take us through some dingy doorway you would never have found on your own, and up the stairs to the shop, which was tiny and absolutely packed with textiles - clothing and hangings and cloths and runners, and jewellery and knick knacks. it was lovely, but very expensive, apparently the fault of the Italians who have a habit of paying what they ask instead of haggling. No offence intended, just reporting it.

At the end of the main drag through the souk - there are lots of side streets so you could wander round in there for weeks! - you go through this archway into a square. The arch is Roman, and part of the original temple. As you can see, there is very much a waste not want not feeling here, one perfectly good arch, why knock it down?!!

These next four pictures are inside the courtyard of the grand mosque, showing some of the roman mosaics, and the little kiosks. I say little, but you can tell by the people the scale of the place is not on the little side of things!


Daniela said...

It's always very interesting to read your reports! A couple of years ago I was in Dehli visiting some in-laws living there and was lucky enough to have them with me when venturing in the incredible maze of little shops and stalls making up markets so complex and meandering that tourists don't even dare to enter. My in-laws knew their way around, which shops were worth visiting, which not, how to price things and to which extent to haggle. This of course helps a lot! I'm sorry to hear that Italians apparently spoilt the game ... I think it's a generation thing and a global phenomenon. My grandmother used to haggle over everything at markets, food included, and in her days this was normal, and there were no tourists around. Today nobody does it anymore at markets, you get bulk discounts of course and you are favoured if you are a regular customer, but that's it. Of course things must be handled differently in other parts of the world and tourists should know it. By the way, in Rome I have the same problem but the other way round: prices everywhere are getting higher and higher because of tourists and conversely and for the very same reason food in restaurants gets worse and worse ... And when I go to the local market to buy fruits and vegetables tourists get round taking pictures at stalls and of course sellers are proud and happy but prices suffer. And Romans complain and shake their heads.
I've booked my place at Urchfont next year, are you coming as well?

Judy Scott said...

It was lovely to hear from you thankyou for your lovely messages. Your photos are amazing I've seen very little of the world so its good to see it through other 'eyes' ~ Judy

Deborah said...

Wow. Stunning pictures. Sorry you couldn't email me through my blog. Try -- or leave your email in a comment on my blog and I'll try to contact you.

MargaretR said...

Lovely photos of Damascus. I have seen them before now. Mislaid your email addy!
Have a wonderful xmas and new year. I expect Santa will be visiting you for another year? Make the most of it.

MargaretR said...

Lovely photos of Damascus.

Got Needle said...

I would like to say thanks for writing a lovely little comment about my work at Forge Needle Museum. And if you want to write to keep your inspiration and work moving on your C&G then I will be very happy to listen and share my work with you too. We are so close geographically :-)

Karin Millson (Oman)