Sunday 30 January 2011

To Aleppo. Digs at the Baron Hotel, a slightly-faded-around-the-edges-in-an-appealing-way establishment. Previous guests include Agatha Christie and Lawrence of Arabia, and a copy of L’s bar bill is displayed in the lounge. Dreams in my head of winning tattslotto, buying this place, and doing it up in a way that maintains its retro charm. Yeah…I had similar dreams about the ‘Orient Palace’  in Damascus if I remember rightly (Agatha Christie stayed there was well). I have a vague memory of coming to my senses about six months later.

As soon as I could I made a beeline for the famous Aleppo souq. The following are real quotes I heard from people on day one:

‘You Australian? GIDDDIIIIY MIIIIITE!!! But you shouldn’t say GIDDIIY MIIITE, to say ‘How are you today’ is nicer’

‘Very nice cloth, very expensive! Whoops! I meant ‘very cheap!’

‘You Australian? I feel sorry for you! (‘Why?’) ‘Because Australia has just lost to Japan in the soccer!’

‘I am a resident of New Zealand, but I’m back here in Syria for family reasons. I have many cousins – forty on my father’s side and about 45 on my mother’s side. Maybe more with GST.’

The Aleppo Museum, including finds from such sites as Tell Brak, Mari and Ugarit, is even better than the Amman Museum. There’s all SORTS of goodies here in the pre-classical section, including some kick-ass jewellery, game boards and several no-nonsense statues of the fearsome Canaanite god Baal. In the Roman section there was a complete make-up application set, including a mascara applier, a salt cellar in the shape of a human foot with a lion’s head on the reverse side, and a cute little pottery ‘baby’s bottle’ with a little spout for drinking milk.

In the Islamic section (600 – 700ad of thereabouts) highlights included an ink dispenser, bronze and gold armour, gold jewellery – and – my favourite – GORGEOUS ceramic baby potties.

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~ by margoforte12 on February 2, 2011.

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