Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hot in Hama

15 August 2009 - Hama, Syria

We were up way early this morning to get an 8am bus from Palmyra to Homs, where we got another bus to another bus to Hama. We were tagging along on an efficient itinerary set out by an Aussie guy I met in Palmyra yesterday, hence the early morning. The first bus was overcrowded and the three of us were wedged on flat console between the driver and passenger seats. There were two kids crammed on the dashboard - a five year old and a baby. When the bus started moving I took the baby on my lap and held him for the two hour ride through the desert to Homs - this made room for the five year old to stretch out flat across the dash and sleep most of the way. The perimeter of the windshield was decorated with fake flowers and short curtains. Plastic grapes dangled from the rearview mirror and Arabic music and prayers blasted through the speakers.

It's been a grueling day navigating through Homs to Hama - the weather is hot and few people speak English. The Lonely Planet map was not helpful at all, but eventually we found the Cairo Hotel, a great place for backpackers, and settled in for the afternoon. I roamed the river looking for the norias, wooden water wheels for which Hama is known. Hama is also known for a 1982 massacre that wiped out the city and from which it has never really recovered. The Aussie guy and I went to dinner in the bustling city, but the food was disappointing. Alyssa is still recovering. Tomorrow we do a day trip to a castle, then Aussie Guy leaves us for Aleppo. Ass and I think we're going to stay another night here to do a day trip to the Dead Cities on Monday.

Thats all I got. Weird not being able to post photos.