between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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Ma-ah salama—Leaving the Arab world2

Posted by Andrew in MOROCCO, TUNISIA, SYRIA, LEBANON (September 15, 2007 at 1:44 pm)

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We’ll be writing more about Turkey soon—it’s a huge country, and in 3 weeks we only saw a few small bits of it. (we are in Greece now) You’ve probably heard the debate about whether turkey should be part of Europe (the EU at least) or is it really a part of Asia, or the Middle East. For my cent and a half, I’ll just say that once we crossed the Syrian border and left the south of Turkey behind, it was clear that something had changed, starting with the language.
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The people were speaking Turkish, leaving the 20 or so Arabic phrases we had picked up virtually useless, and suddenly, we had left the Arab world after 5 months of immersion.

Fortunately, our last stop was one of the best. In Haleb (Aleppo to the non-Syrian), we were guests of Jamal, our favorite couchsurfing host so far (no offense to many other great hosts—you guys rocked as well). Jamal’s family treated us like we were relatives, and his mom cooked us some really great food.
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We hung out with Jamal, his best friend Jamal, 20070812269 a 2 jamalls in grass.jpg

…and their gang of friends, and we got to have lots of good discussions about life, politics and everything in between.CIMG4384 shoe shine jamal.jpgCIMG7806 2 jamals at home.jpgCIMG7684 da haleb gang over cityscape.jpgCIMG7736 3 js and mosque.jpg

JESSICA SEZ: We also went to Aleppo’s new (and maybe Syria’s first?) waterpark. Unfortunately, we don’t have a picture, but they had a waterslide that was totally new to both of us. It shot you down a long enclosed tube, then dropped you into a giant open-top funnel, where you went round and round and then finally dropped out the bottom into a pool. Just like being flushed down a toilet!
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ANDREW RETURNZ: Like Damascus, Aleppo is also a very old city with lots of history, and a huge covered market.(they say 30 kilometers worth of shops)

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I’m defintely sad to be leaving the arab word, and missing many things about the culture already. To try and give yall a little taste, click here to watch a video I put together with some clips from various countries we’ve visited since March —it includes a carpet auction in Tunisia, a 1-day-old baby goat in the Moroccan Saraha, election day on the streets of Beiruit, and several views of the Mediterranean. (some of the clips were ones I wanted to post when we were in Tunisia but had no real internet access.)

If you sat through that video and are wondering about the call to prayer and why it wasn’t included, we just have to much video and Im skeptical that many people are willing to watch even the 7 minute long movie above. Coming soon is a short video “The Call”. any day now, I promise.
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Looking forward, we have sketched out the next (and last) leg of our trip—and we only have about 6 weeks to go. Rome is on the horizon and the Balkans await!!
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