Denied, Detained,........Damascus

Damascus Travel Blog

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Calling Mom to let her know we are aright

Once we arrived at Damascus Airport, we had to fill out forms to enter the country. That done we headed over to the passport control officer. There was a guy behind the desk and another on our side. We explained the situation of being American and living in The Netherlands and not having a Syrian Consulate there to get a visa. After being asked multiple times "why we are here?" and what do we do?",the guy on our side of the desk told us to come with him. He seemed to want to help us while the other guy behind the desk easily passed us off due to our American passports and was just rude.

We were taken through passport control and to a room in the back. Now, technically we are on Syrian soil. I am a bit worried. There were about eight officers there at first.

All night vendors in the airport
The first officer was joined by another one and they asked us what were doing in Syria and what our professions are, again. They just could not understand that I don't work. One of them took Rob's passport and went into an office. He was speaking to some other guys and looking at every page in the passport. Rob was getting a little irritated and letting it show. I told him to chill in fear of being detained. Rob finally went to the office to ask more questions. He was told that we would be transferred to a holding area until the Department of Interior came in and evaluated our request. This could take 6 to 8 hours and there was no guarantee that we would get a visa. Since we had already purchased tickets to Beirut on a 4:30 flight as an insurance policy we had to make choice.
What does it say? Luckily to also switched to English
We decided to be safe and head to Beirut with a guaranteed exit. Rob got his passport back and we were escorted back through passport control and out of Syria, but we had been in.

We headed up to the departure area and tried to check in. A really nice woman told us we would have to come back in two hours as we were too early to check it was only 12:30. We wondered around and looked at the tourist bizzars of glassware, brass figuries, wooden boxes, sweets, and hand made table clothes and dresses. We decided to purchase a beautiful table cloth, even though we were both irritated. We really wanted to bring something home since it will be a long time before we try to go again. We settled on an very ornate covering made in Alleppo. It is meant to be on the table between meals and not while dining.

Sunrise on the plane
We are going to use it as a wall hanging. After this we had hours to kill. We went to a business center and used the Internet to check email and call our parents. Still having more time to kill we sat in the waiting area and read to each other. Rob was very annoyed by people smokig, especially the ones using the thrash cans with no smoking signs on them as ashtrays. At one point a man came up to us and asked for our passports so he could check us in for the flight to Beirut. It was late and we were tired, he had an offical looking badge on and knew we were going to Beirut, so we gave him the passports and e-ticket information. I don't reccomend this, in general! After he had been gone about 15 mintues Rob started to get nervous. We went to the counter and the nice lady from before said he would be right back, they had to make copies. We fially got on the plane and made the 35 minute flight to Beirut. The sun's rays were providinng a rainbow of color across the curvature of the earth with the first light of morning.

belinda2000 says:
The curried cauliflower made me giggle but the 8 officers detaining you in Syria is definitely scary. Smart thinking having the Beirut tix ready, just in case.
Posted on: Aug 12, 2009
alicegourmet says:
I definitely will get nervous and a bit scared if those guys pull me in the room! Fortunately you guys are safe to leave to Beirut.
Posted on: Aug 10, 2009
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Calling Mom to let her know we are…
Calling Mom to let her know we ar…
All night vendors in the airport
All night vendors in the airport
What does it say? Luckily to also …
What does it say? Luckily to also…
Sunrise on the plane
Sunrise on the plane
Damascus airpot lounges
Damascus airpot lounges
photo by: Biedjee