Saturday, 17 October 2009

More holiday stuff

One of the reasons I have very few photos is that I take photos like this

and Calfy takes photos like this

I liked the shopping, it is so different to here, with the dusty sweets:

The smoking semi naked mannequins

and tiny shops

This particular shop was called Johnny Minaret, where Johnny announced "Very small shop, very big welcome, very good price" and let us take a picture.

Old Damascus has a mixture of the very ancient

and the highly sophisticated.

With many lovely things to look at or eat

Archway and lantern

The Umayyad Mosque


One of the oddest things we saw was in the inner most sanctum of the Convent of St Thekla.

There, hanging across a Madonna and Child painting over the reliquary, was a gurt big bling chain with a DVB (David and Victoria Beckham) crown hanging off it. These sacred crowns were available in the gift shop in gold or silver and the Crown itself was about 3"x2"....

For the uninitiated and blissfully ignorant, the DVB crown logo looks like this

By the end of the 10 days my work was done. With Calfy safely married off

I could return home in full peace of mind.


Nomad said...

If Calfy and a couple of mates go back to that shop in say 3 months' time when they have a bit of vocabulary to use, Johnny will probably invite them in for a nice cup of mint tea and a chat. As you have now discovered, the Syrians really are very hospitable folk.

lilith said...

She is already invited for mint tea and a chat at regular intervals Nomad. Don't need much common language to share a friendly cup of tea, it seems :-)

lilith said...

Actually Nomad, my experience of Syria and Syrians has restored my faith in humanity. Looking back at England from way over there we look like a nation of child hating, child fearing miserablists.

Hemulen said...

"One of the reasons I have very few photos is that I take photos like this"

Bless. Shouldn't have given me that old Minolta of yours... ;-)

Also, we have a great club on a boat called the Thekla. I never thought about the name until I saw that. Still doesn't really explain anything, but good to know the name actually has some history.

lilith said...

Ah Hemulen, all the wonderful photos that I was ever going to take on that Minolta were taken a very long time ago. Can't be doing with a camera where you have to change the lens or override the automatic settings or perch all 10kg of the thing on a wall to get a photo....Camera's are generally wasted on me and you are more than welcome:-)

St Thekla was one of Jesus' earliest and most ardent brides...she was the prototype for many characters played by Bruce Willis too...

Philipa said...

Loving these posts, Lils. And Calfys pics are very good. I thought the dresses are beautiful! It's a bit sad that over 40 one doesn't feel quite at ease wearing anything long, flowing and colourful. Unless you're a hippy. Well I don't anyway - my hippy confidence went but I'd love to wear such flowing robes over there. Did you buy much?

Did you ride a camel? Get offered camels? Anything to do with camels? (I heard the milk cures cancer or something)

I assume you could just drop everything and go and Elby supported you in this. I've never been able to do that.

"St Thekla was one of Jesus' earliest and most ardent brides" ??

lilith said...

Hi Pip, no, no camels were harmed in the making of this trip, barely mentioned, except I did register that Jamal means camel.

I bought some soap, and some rose oil, some Flower Tea, and an outfit for Elby. I bought myself a blue silk scarf from the chap in the photo with Gail Tilsley. I bought Clafy a proper black robe with sequins on it to preserve her modesty.

As for dropping everything, I had nearly three weeks to plan, seek funding from Calfy's papa, and to cancel/move my work commitments. Elby stoked the home fires and Pig kept him company. I will take Elby with me if I ever manage to save up funds.

Calfy said...

It was Jesus Minaret actually! The shop really is about 16 inches wide. I have been invited for tea many a time. Feeling unwell is not an excuse and in fact means you end up drinking about 12 cups of zoohrat (flower tea) instead of the typical black shaiy. Faith in humanity running especially high.

The first time we were invited into anybody's house for coffee we were able to make good use of our phrase book and announce that we were pleased to meet them, their daughter was beautiful and we would like to hire a camel. My most oft used phrase-book phrase is "ana taweela bi shanab" which means "I am tall with a moustache".

lilith said...

Jesus Minaret! I knew it was first-time juxtaposition for my consciousness :-)

Calfy, as I have told you repeatedly, you are not insured to ride a camel. Last time I looked you are neither particularly tall nor moustachioed. That must really confuse your hosts :-)

idle said...

When that classic from many decades back, "Una Paloma Blanca" gets played in future, I plan to sing (loudly) "ana taweela bi shanab" for the first line of the chorus.

I'll let you know if I get any funny looks.

Nomad said...

In Arabic, beautiful and camel share the same root - j-m-l. The mythology is that the Arabs consider the camel the most beautiful thing in the world, and given just how useful it is to those who live in the desert - food, milk, transport, hides, pick -up truck, shelter from sandstorms etc - one can quite see their reason for naming the animal as they did.

Regrettably, as I was at one time relatively fluent in the Levantine dialect being learned by Calfy, my most used Arabic phrase these days after some 30 odd years of not maintaining it is: Hallaq, ana anseet taqriban kull shee. (Now I have forgotten most of it). With Arabic, the phrase "Use it or lose it" really does apply.

I had a peep at Calfy's excellent pics which depict Syria just as it was in the 1970s. The Aramaic village just outside Damascus has not changed one jot. Makes one wistful for the good old days!

Old Holborn said...

Good innit!

Glad to see his grace back again btw.

Now then, if Elby is having issues and I can help...

Scrobs... said...

One good thing about taking pics like this Lils, is that nowadays, it costs a zillionth of what it used to, for views such as this!

I've really got to scan about thirty albums and get them onto disk because they are all in the way now...

It seems to take ages, but prbably worth the effort.

Trubes said...

hello Lils:
Welcome home, I'm so glad you had a good trip, the descriptions and pics are really interesting.
I would love to visit Syria.
We go to Turkey a lot and the two places look very similar.
I bet it was a bit of a wrench parting from your beloved Calfy.
I will pop over again to have another read at her site...That too is very good.
We've just come back from Spain, so, it's catch up time !
Hope Elby and Pig are well and, no doubt, pleased to see you again.


Blue Eyes said...

Taking good photos is all about selecting the right "mode", sensible framing and in low light a steady hand!

lilith said...

Yes Nomad, parts do seem as though they are in a time warp but building work is extensive. I would love to learn Arabic but I think the only way is to go where it is spoken or to study every day.

I learned the word for beautiful very quickly :-) The masculine AND feminine forms.

lilith said...

It is good OH. Really good.

lilith said...

Scrobbers, don't talk to me about photos! I have crates of the sods which are undated, unfiled and of people and things I can't recognise. That is a christmas holiday project: to scan the ones I like to rediscover and shred the rest. I am so grateful for the digital camera.

lilith said...

Idle :-)

lilith said...

Thanks Trubes, and I hope you too are duly rested and refreshed. I lived in Spain for a few years and loved it. This time of year or the spring is when to go, although the first year I lived there it rained from October through November, stair rods, for six weeks. We all went mouldy. We weren't even on the plain.

lilith said...

When I learned a bit of photography BE it was all different. Light metres and apertures and heavy cameras. I get bored and confused by all the settings and buttons on modern cameras and from the looks of the results I have mild Parkinson's.

Calfy said...

That's what I meant by easy to take good photos on modern cameras BE. I get a bit stuck in the Nineteenteens sometimes. In this era the camera does it all for you..well, for most people :) I suspect Lilith has some good photos from her Minolta time.