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Friday, October 03, 2008 

American in Damascus

This is the best tourist article about Damascus I have seen for a very long time.

It is by London-based NBC journalist F. Brinley Bruton.

She spends a lot of time outside the Old City (yes, there is a Damascus outside the city walls!) and doesn't include the phrase "conversion on the road to Damascus" anywhere in her article.

It is a very thoughtful, original piece. And she clearly has been talking to real Damascenes:

"Someone advised me to not pay too much attention to maps while in Damascus."

"other Westerners tended to look away when we passed. This is the sort of place where tourists appear unwilling to speak to other foreigners, perhaps unwilling to admit that they don’t have the city to themselves."

"Naranj, full of sleek, well-heeled Syrians, has the reputation as the best restaurant in the city."

"The next night we ventured out of the Old City to go to Shameat."

The full piece is here.

I don't know, Sasa: anyone who describes dinner at Shamiyyat as a "venture out" makes me a bit suspicious. And the poor man who tried to tell her about the Umayyad Mosque! I've known many American, Canadian, and European visitors who have gone there solo and found the mosque's frequenters gracious and not at all would-be faux guides.

But I can't complain too much: there are too few Americans willing to "venture" to Damascus as it is!

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About me

  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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