Posts Tagged ‘Aleppo’

Feeling old in Aleppo—شعور بإني عجوز في حلب

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The grand plan to cycle around Syria and Jordan started to become a reality for me as we flew over the Syrian coast and the Orontes River valley. For several days I had engaged in that peculiarly modern form of global tourism, pouring over images of the northern Syrian landscape on Google Earth and Wikimapia, judging between road quality (not so large as to be an unpleasant highway nor so small as to possibly be a restricted or private road), terrain (not so steep as to be too difficult on my fixed-gear, nor so flat that we would have to suffer in the higher heat and humidity of the lowlands) and occasionally what the guide books had to say. Looking out the airplane window, as we crossed over the coastal mountains of Syria from the Mediterranean, the constellation of roads and towns and villages started to look familiar and I felt myself moving one step closer to the world below, trading in the digital eye of Google Earth for a slightly older technology that lofted my own eyes high above the earth. The challenge ahead would be to forget what Google Earth and Lonely Planet had told me about Syria, to forget what my view from the airplane window had told me, to forget all of the advice I’d been given and stories I’d been told about the place. And by “forget”, I don’t mean simply to fail to remember, but to remain cognizant and aware of all the conceived and pre-conceived notions that would shape my experience here, and to put them aside as much as possible. (more…)

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