I lost in the labyrinth and don't want to be found
Aleppo Travel Blog› entry 15 of 34 › view all entries
August 10th, 2009 – by: herman_munster
Finally the bus arriving at Turkey check-out point and everybody got off to be stamped on passport. Well for me as I didnâ€™t see the rest of passenger queuing with me. They were resident of those regions so the bus driver/attendant pulled their entire passport for the whole process excluding foreign travelerâ€™s passport as other issues may be involved that the bus company not liable of.
It was smooth anyway, that the officer asked routine question where I was from, how many days staying and how much money had been spent in Turkey.
Passing through Syrian border we were again got off and I was asked by the bus attendant to head to immigration counter. The line up officerâ€™s counters with old computers checked my passport and immediately directed me to go straight to console officer room next to it. At the door there was big sign saying â€˜ Please report any difficulties and we are not responsible of any issues beyond this pointâ€™.
That kind of scared me a bit.
Inside the officer was checking a bunch of passports and they were more than 6 people waiting too. I showed him my Malaysian passport as nobody speaking any English. It kind of annoyed me when people come and go with their passport granted visa where else I was waiting like moron.
Finally the officer checked my passport and said NO VISA NEEDED! Phheeww what a relief!
I was so surprised and happy. Being from Malaysia and a Muslim nation has an advantage travelling to Middle East. That reminds me some of my Malaysian countrymen bitch about our Malaysian passport holder that a hassle to go anywhere else and worthless.
At that moment I thought it must be similar when Iâ€™m entering Jordan next couple of days.
Around midday the bus finally reached Aleppo. I hadnâ€™t book any accommodation knowing that Middle East isnâ€™t typical tourist trail for sun-searchers heaven and there must be availabities.
Upon arrival at the hostel there was Italian couple waiting to be checked in. There was room available. I made small chat with them. Massimo and wife were on their Italian summer trip. They just got married last May and went to French Polynesia for their honeymoon. They had spent a very long flight on their honeymoon so decided to go somewhere closer for their summer holiday.
I began to realize why Iâ€™ve been meeting a lot of Italian throughout as August is holiday month in Italy. Nobody is working there and everybodyâ€™s flying out.
The old city of Aleppo ( Haleb in Arabic) seems like an evocation of The Thousand and One Night.
While I lost myself wandering inside I stumbled into cul-de-sac leading to Al-Bahramiyya Mosque. There was a kid at the courtyard and he offered me half of his bread on his hand. Syrian people is the most welcoming and very friendly but not in a pretentious way. Nowhere in the world that a stranger come up to you and says " Ahlan Wa sahlan" means Welcome! I gestured him to take a picture with the mosque as a backdrop.
At the end of the souq was the majestic Citadel. It was dusk already and I headed back inside the souq and got into the Great Mosque. I prayed Mahgrib prayer there and the mosque was stunning.
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