Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Syria 1

Thanks to my Swiss friends I now have a map a north Syria and somewhere to head for – their favourite stop was Aleppo and so I make a plan to head there. I take the lazy option (habit these days) and decide the arrive tomorrow. With only 30k's for the afternoon I ride slowly returning the many waves and welcomes and accepting every cay offer - to which I have become accustomed.

I sit for a while with a mechanic in his small garage. He introduces me to his charming family and after the customary cay his mother bring me some lunch which we all share. When the meal is done the family leave us in peace, once they do so the conversation develops a sexual spin. At first he simply says "sex". Not with a questioning tone, more stating a fact. Not quite knowing how to respond I just echo his own statement. "Sex" And shrug my shoulders shoulders with a “what next” expression. I gather eventually that he wants to see pictures of sex on my camera. At this stage I haven't learnt "I'd like to see some sex pictures on my camera too pal" so opt for a flat "no". This goes on for some time until his mother comes back out to ask if I'll take one of her daughters back to England and make her my wife - again my Arabic fails me on "I think my girlfriend back home might have a problem with that".....and "rotter". Bad shout.

I find an abandoned premisses away form the road in which to pitch the tent. Despite the lack of riding distance I'm still beat and fall asleep at sundown. It seems as though the dogs of Turkey aren't quite ready to leave me be. In the early hours I wake to howls yaps and barks as a group of mutts runs around my camp. Clutching knife, torch and pepper spray I go to pick a fight in my underpants – always a good look, and guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of any opponent. Not for the first time shouting while jumping up and down is sufficient - all the saying goes. Still, I'm glad they couldn't smell the fear emanating from every pore. Not the best nights sleep.

I arrive in Aleppo and but by luck alone I land right in the hotel district. I find the one recommended to me by my new Swiss friends and get checked in.

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