Here is the Syrian border. I love this country so much! Even the portrait of Boshar Assad at the entrance seems familiar and familiar. The first time I was here in 1999, under the reign of the father of the current president. Then, only the elections took place, and absolutely the whole country was covered with portraits of Hafiz Assad. They were hanging from house windows, shop doors, car windshields, street banners, flags, banners and giant streamers. For how many Syrians then voted? There seem to be 99.99% of people under Boshar : almost 98% of the population voted for the “only” son. But many voted with the blood – they cut off their finger and left a bloody print on the ballot. Our political consultants to achieve a similar love towards the people’s elected representatives still have to work and work.
Different sins can be blamed on Syria: small democracy, limited freedom of speech, low standard of living. But if you are not a politician, a journalist or a businessman, but just a traveler, you will hardly find a better and more pleasant country. Here, the minimal crime, the low prices and the hospitality of the locals are not tired to surprise. Driving a motorcycle in Syria is as effective as any other means. The roads are straight and not loaded with transport (except in Damascus and Aleppo), gas is not expensive, there are so many sites that it is impossible to drive even during the month for which one receives a visa of Entrance.
Over the years, Syria has changed. Shops, supermarkets and cafes with wi-fi internet appeared. The decorated three-wheeled cars have given way to modern and expensive foreign cars. True, the movement of this safe did not. Driving to Aleppo reminded me of a trip for the kids to the amusement park, where I drove a car with rubber flanks. Here on the roads, it’s the same crush. Hide that behind the rubber, alas, it’s impossible. But the pilots are not aggressive. To scratch, to apologize, to smile and to advance. Are there cars without scratches in Syria? Probably only in automobile showrooms.
One of the turns I could not drive in the right direction, so as not to go in the opposite direction. Pause? It was dangerous, moreover, at the intersection, there were policemen and watched the movement. I motioned them to show that I was stuck. How not to help a stranger? The police stopped the entire flow of transport and allowed me to go over the counter. Yes, they shouted after him, “Welcome to Syria!”
The Aleppo market is a monument as well as a local fortress. They are located nearby. The market sells Arab scarves, the tourists go to the fortress, these scarves are bought and so a little like the terrorists of the television news. In the narrow streets of the old town, mostly occupied by the market, mini-trucks drive with goods. How they manage to maneuver, there is a mystery for me. Often, there is so little space between the walls of a truck and the walls of houses that even pedestrians can pass. But Syrians do not seem to notice this proximity. They rush over their belongings and, in the middle of the crowd, a man walks with a huge decorated coffee pot and pours coffee into small cups. So even getting stuck in a traffic jam of pedestrian cars can comfortably. Here in the old town is not the most famous
– Before, there was a hospital for the insane. Now here is a museum, the owner told us. And a little thought, he added. – And the crazy walk in the streets, sit in parliament … On the Aleppo market, we made an important acquisition: we bought lambskins on the seats of the bike. With such a “setting”, no road is terrible. Certainly, the tracks in Syria are very good. Straight, smooth and almost empty. You can speed up as much as you want – neither the speed bumps nor the policemen in position will bother you.
Wherever we stayed, we were invited to visit: tea, food and conversation. Not far from Qasr el- Khair el- Sharqi , a white jeep followed us. Representatives of security agencies discovered that we spent the night at local residents and decided to follow us. Not that it is forbidden – to invite foreigners to visit – but the customers really suffer: with their own vehicle, they take pictures of something, find out. Maybe Israeli spies? So we went: we visit, and the police visit. We are treated to tea, and to the police too. We walk along the fortress, the police are on guard outside.