Syria postcard

This part so much the same the world over, arrive in darkness to queue in the foreigners passport control line, taking chancy glances around to glean others’ nations of origin, then change a bit of money, sort through the baggage scrum. Big box attracts attention but you smile and nod it through, deflect some hustling offers to help that will come with expectations for a tip, the taxi drivers see you and know that they can ask for double because you have this inconvenient load so you are immediately the most popular tourist on the curb. The time change and the coach class airplane feral half sleep makes you dimwitted and cross, you know you have to concentrate to not get ripped off too badly even if you’re armed with what your hotel told you the fare should be. I’m especially vulnerable right now as my dad drove a taxicab most of his adult life and I crack easily in the negotiation. A lot of times there aren’t that many words you have in common, though my traditional Arabic greeting is pretty well practiced so I’m not without some capital.

So the box gets precariously optimistically, to your eye totally unacceptably roped to the roof, of course it’s raining, the cardboard only has to last 20 more minutes because you’re going to ditch it and find or make another one when the tour is finished.

It’s too murky to tell what is going on what with the dirty widows and no streetlights and general street rhythm inscrutability that will persist for a couple of days. Still, arrival leaves you more awake than you’ve been for many hours.