Hijacked to a magical day
Home Sep 19
From Damascus I took a bus two hours north to the city of Homs, ostensibly to make a day trip to the crusader castle known as Craq des Chevaliers.  The crusaders left a string of them through this part of the Middle East.

From Homs I took a minibus to the castle, with Anne, a woman on the bus from Damascus.  



The castle sits majestically on a hill with a dramatic view all around.





We got there  at 6:30am, but unfortunately during Ramadan the castle doesn't open until 9:30am

So Anne and I struck up a conversation with a group that was also waiting

As it happens, all the people on this bus were related--sisters, cousins, and aunts.  They as an extended family had rented the bus for the day.




All women, except for the leader, Homam...







and the driver, Azam

and a couple of other young men



Well, pretty soon Azam broadcast some music from the bus

Amocel began belly dancing





After a bit of come hither from Amocel I foolishly agreed to join her--though I don't dance

Once we found out we'd have to cool our heels for a coupla hours to get into this pile of stone, the bus people decided to head for other parts, one part of which included a visit to Tartus, a beach town on the Mediterranean.

But the critical thing for our day (i.e., mine and Anne's) was that they invited us to join them.  Anne and I had a pow wow, and decided to cast our lot with this lovely crowd.

A sterling decision




So we all piled into the bus (that's Anne at the far right), and headed out



It wasn't long before we stopped.

They hadn't had breakfast, nor had we.  

So they commandeered an outdoor restaurant that is used to host weddings and stuff, and put out a great spread





Back on the bus, the indefatigable Amocel is joined by Ahlam (in the red shirt) for more dancing.

Man, can these cats dance!

That bus fairly rocked




And Anne (from France) joined in enthusiastically




Ceham's shirt declared the philosphy of these ladies

Apologies to Celam

She was a mainstay of the dancing, but unfortunately I have no photographic proof of that


Ahlam                   Ajoub                Rafeef and Amira                    Fkkrt       





Hayat takes to the dance floor


Hayat                               Ceham               Israa                                   Iman





Many gyrations later we arrived at Tartus, and immediately chartered this boat to take us to Award Island, 4km off the coast




Having been robbed of seeing one castle, we toured another [slightly smaller] one




Great overlook to the Mediterranean





Then back on the bus, for a short shuttle to a beach near Tartus

Great swimming




These rough huts can be rented




Iman, master chef, starts dinner prep








And outdoors, the serious work begins

Aman        Alaa    Razan       Moneira          Iman




And we feast


Nadia        Razan and Alaa          Moneira                             Ali





After dinner it was back on the bus, for a short hop back to the beach in Tartus

Blankets spread, propane burners fired up, it's tea time--with [tea-like] mata from Argentina





Group photo time


                     Anne   Ahlam      Iman     Hayat       Rafeef       Homam

Nadia    Ceham         Lee     Amacel Moneira                                                      




Our magical day ended at Iman's house, with tea all around 

Iman's husband               Ajoub            Israa               Iman's daughter





Ahlam and Iman


Amocel                    Ahlam and Nadia                  Hayat and Ajoub




After putting us up for the night, Homam walked us to the bus station, and we re-entered our separate worlds

By this time, Homam had become our great good friend.  Anne invited him to France, I invited him to the USA, and he told us that we both now have a family when we come to Syria

Great folks!         Great day!

This day was the high point of my trip so far.

Syria/Jordan blog index
Next blog entry (Sep 19  Petra)

Previous blog entry (Sep 15 Damascus)