Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Road to Palmyra

The Syrian desert swept us in eagerly, and the occasional sign advertising Palmyra lured us further into the vast expanse of nothing. (The same signs also pointed the way to Baghdad, but we didn't go that way.) Those of you who have never been here and picture Syria, well, this is your stereotype right here. Dusty hills roll up towards the sky and occasionally you could see the bedouin tents off in the distance, where robed figures ministered to livestock in the twilight. Most of the vehicles on the road were Syrian and Iraqi trucks going to and from the border; some were garishly colored. There were also a few (very few) tour buses. Although the trucks are supposed to stay to the right, well, they don't. Omar would refuse to pass them on the right; he'd beep the horn a few times till they pulled off to the side for him to pass, and if they didn't he'd lean on the horn until he was just holding it down! Driving through this environment, with a Syrian and a Sudanese and listening to Lebanese radio, is about as foreign an experience as a Texas boy can have.


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