Friday, September 01, 2006

Ahhh...So back for a second year of Turkish style coffee in Aleppo: 9/01/06


So its been a few weeks since I arrived from the States, via Amsterdam, to Aleppo. Many of my friends and co-workers were still on their way back to Syria when I took this picture. I was enjoying a reunion at the popular Baron Hotel and noticed these dolled-up men across the street, looking very arab and very formal. Drinking coffee and smoking tobacco out of a traditional bong without women is something a lot of guys do here, at night, after the socialy accepted curfew hours of single girls.

I was still jet-lagged when I took this night shot and couldn't keep still enough to take a clean shot. But I think it came out well enough. This is a common sight at many downtown arab-style coffee houses, although these men were at a European style hotel lounge/coffee house/restaurant

(I finally got my camera fixed in the States this summer so I'll finally have pictures. Don't be shy to recommend subjects to photograph.)

I was a little worried about coming back to Syria this summer because of Israel's war in Lebanon. Of course, as soon as I saw my good friends in Aleppo, much of any of the worry I had, went away. I quickly remembered that what I saw in the news in the States about the Middle East and Syria is misleading. The great majority of Syrians I've met or mingled with would be dissapointed about the way ordinary Syrians are portraid in American news programs. I'll write more about that later, if you're interested.

Oh, on a total aside, it is more common to see posters of Nasrallah (Head Honcho of Hezbollah) in Aleppo right now, all over town, on many a' store front and car windsheilds. Of course, it can be hard to distinguish the reasons why somoene puts a poster up of a revolutionary figure (How many times have you seen the famous bust shot of Che Guavera? Isn't it now also a watered down pop cultural symbol instead of just a memorial-esque picture of a radical?) . I believe not everyone supports Nasrallah or the Palestinian cause in the same way here, and it will be very interesting, though I'm sure uncommon, to have someone tell me a very personal and not so easily guessed reason for their representin' a popular cause.

Okay, so anyhow, I'm going to post some photos of a trip I took with a few friends to a lake outside of Aleppo's city limits, near the Turkish border. The town area is called Mdanki. It's a more beautiful and natural region than dusty Aleppo is right now, so it was a good getaway to the country side. Hope you too got away from town this past week and experienced some fresher air and a relaxing atmosphere.


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