A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: chrisvasil

Floating in the Dead Sea

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Pulling up to the dead sea, we see what seem to be stationary waves cresting on the beach. Actually these are salt deposits, few of which break when stepped on.


The beach is actually clay rather than sand, so it is possible to make a body mask (which we did before going in, but don't have any pics of) or have the ground unexpectedly cave in (like with snow).

The dead sea is like people say it is - if you get vertical in the water, you'll be floating and the water will go to about shoulder level. Otherwise, by just floating it is easy to have arms and legs pretty far out of the water.


Because of the salinity, staying in the dead sea is uncomfortable on the skin and eyes. We were there for about half an hour, and no one wanted to stay longer in spite of the cool feeling of floating This probably explains most of the coastline having no one in the water, even where there were people on the beach near the water.

The water is of course extremely salty, so that there is white residue encrusting the hair, swimsuit, and skin after getting out of the water.


Posted by chrisvasil 05:09 Archived in Jordan Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)


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Our impression of Damascus may be a bit jaded by the heat and circumstance.

We stayed at a campsite 4km out of town for 3 nights. The campsite was torn down, so we stayed in a much less fancy campsite under construction down the road. More to the point, it was 3 nights 4km outside of the capital city, while (according to Lonely Planet) a hostel would have been the same price or cheaper than the campsite.

The taxi from the campsite was easy, to get back we had to bring the address and flag down about 10 cabbies before finding one that would take us there for somewhere close to the price the guide said was normal, and even then the taxi drivers needed to ask directions.

The first night we tried to get a hostel in town, and after deciding on one we were told that we couldn't book without a passport (our passports were in the truck). So I got a cheap haircut, we walked around a while, bought a backpack so I can wear that instead of the purse, looked for a place to eat for half an hour before giving up, and took a taxi back to camp.

Not too much in the city itself, the mosque is pretty cool (and carries the remains of John the Baptist) and the souq (shopping district) is big.


Posted by chrisvasil 07:30 Archived in Syria Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Palmyra ruins

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The ruins of Palmyra were awesome, it was one of the earlier capitals of one of the empires about 2000 years ago (Byzantine maybe...). However we had already been to a bunch of ruins, so we only had the patience to explore for an hour or so before going back to the truck.


Posted by chrisvasil 07:30 Archived in Syria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Citadel in Aleppo and Crac de Chevaliers

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The citadel in Aleppo is amazing, a huge fortress that would be close to unattackable (in fact it was never breached, just surrendered after the rest of the city fell).


Crac de Chevaliers is very similar but bigger; since we saw the Citadel first we liked it better.

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Posted by chrisvasil 07:30 Archived in Syria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Goodbye Turkey, Hello Syria

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It's amazing how immediately after crossing the border there is a lot less vegetation, and then a couple hours later it's almost nothing but desert.
Also the desert isn't sand like I expected - it's dry soil and rocks. The soil is really and fine, like dust almost - perhaps clay, but not sand.

We arrived in Aleppo, Syria and were treated well... Sue and I had a double room (first time that happened on the trip), and according to Lonely Planet the room cost about ten dollars. After a thorough examination of the room we concluded we weren't staying in the room mentioned in the guidebook as having peepholes in the shower room.

We went out for dinner, and it was amazing - for most people in our group the falafel stand refused to take their payment, and gave them free food (we weren't so lucky, but they were about 50 cents CAD so that wasn't a big problem... A lot of Syrian kids wanted to talk to us, and one person from our group in particular was surrounded by about 30 people the whole time.
Toward the end an older gentleman shooed away the kids, so we had space.
But it was cool, we were treated like celebrities.


Fresh squeezed fruit juice was great and cheap, 60 cents cad for a big glass. Great way to start a day.


We also bought a bit of clothes in Aleppo, pics to follow.

Posted by chrisvasil 07:20 Archived in Turkey Tagged ecotourism Comments (1)

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