Sunday, July 22, 2007

Assad and I

Coming to Syria means getting aquainted with the president - Bashar al-Assad. You see his picture everywhere, in shops, on the streets, in people's homes, etc, and you think 'do people really like him that much? Or are they just scared not to like him?' And after being here for a month I can say that this picture thing is really quite an effective policy. I really feel some sort of afinity for him and feel like he's my friend or relative or something. He has done some amazing things for Syria since his father left which has endeared him to most Syrians, the most visible being allowing foreign banks to enter the country. Now the average person can get loans to buy cars, build houses, restaurants, stores, etc. So in a country that was once known for it's old cars, three out of every five cars are now brand new european or japanese imports, new hotels are growing up around town like weeds (although I can't imagine who is staying in them, since I only see a few straggling european and asian tourists around town), and there are new restaurants with flat-screen tv's, water misters, and remote control roofs all over, and they are full of young people with disposable income!

I went today to the suq al haramiyya - the theifs bazaar, there are two of them in Damascus, one near abasiyya and another near the old city. They're not as exiting as the grand one one in Cairo, but you can find some stolen goods, some broken electronics, bikes, your basic animals, home improvement supplies, etc. I also went with some friends to the tekiyye sulimaniyye market where there are some more traditional handicrafts for sale. I't so hot right now in Damascus that it's not that much fun to go out and do anything, so mostly I lay in my hot bedroom and sweat the days away.

Vanessa is in Seattle visiting friends, and then goes down to Peru with her Parents next week, and I'll get to see them in about three weeks! Can't wait.
Below is the tekke sulimaniyya - the handicrafts bazaar, a quaint place with some different products and better prices than some of the other main bazaars.


Bridget said...

We have that same Bashar decal on the rear window of our car in America. It is awesome! I always feel like Bashar is looking out for me while I'm out there on the road.

If for nothing else, you have to love Bashar for bringing in internet and cell phones to Syria.

Spencers said...

Trent, you are hilarious. I can just picture you at Enrique Iglesius???? And your descriptions of the food, or rather, food preparation....what entertainment. We love your blog. We are living vicariously through the exciting travels of the Rockwoods. I am almost tempted to come visit.

michael said...

trenton, thanks for the homorous stories. your accounts are somehow better than if you were to send a copy of the menus themselves!

we are happy to hear of your adventures - we didn't know you had even left, until stumbling upon your blog tonight.

ps, you forgot to call on your birthday :(