SYRIA: Ice Cream & John the Baptist

SYRIA: Ice Cream & John the Baptist May 25, 2010

This is the twelfth in a 15-part series of pics from Syria.

FirstSecondThirdFourthFifthSixthSeventhEighthNinthTenthEleventhTwelfthThirteenthFourteenthFifteenth.


I flew back to Damascus on SyrianAir and was met by my Lebanese friend, Michel, whom I’d met at St George, Houston, back when he was visiting his daughter in 2009.


A familiar sight for a Carolina boy — look, Mom, they even dye peeps at Easter in Syria!


Everywhere, the ruins. These ancient remnants serve as street buffers on the sidewalks.


I‘d told Michel that I needed to do a little shopping before heading back to the States. Thanks God for him! (Haggling, in Arabic = a must!)


You can read about the famous Bakdash ice cream shop in this recent news story.


The frozen concoction is rolled and pounded with pistachios …


Iwas a good boy. (Or, it could be said, an idiot.) I had none.
(Not sure why, but I feel I should ask for your forgiveness.)


Like night and day, the contrasts between the old and new (new being a relative term) are striking and omnipresent in Old Damascus.


One of the largest and oldest mosques in the world, the Ummayad Mosque.


Why would I enter?


Because tradition holds that the little domed building with the green glass contains the head of St John the Baptist. (Read about it here).


Women are required to be covered — everyone is required to take off their shoes. There were plenty of Muslim women in various “extremes of cover” but I kept wondering: Who are the Hoodies? When I asked Michel, he said: “Westerners … tourists.” Ah! In other words, they give out the hooded trenches to those “inappropriately dressed”.


The craftsmanship is pretty exquisite …


Michel drove over from Lebanon to be my Damascus tour guide …


These shots are of nothing in particular — shops, museums, old palaces; all incorporate the light and dark color scheme.


This pic, taken in a fancy store (within a former palace), was the first and last in this establishment … as pics weren’t allowed.


A lush park near Old Damascus.

Next: The holy sites of Saidnaya & Ma’loula

Podcast – “The Blindside” (in Syria); Article – Antiochian website

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