Sunday, December 25, 2005

Trip to Maaloula

It was on a Friday morning when 6 young international voyagers; a charming couple from Germany, Lars and Katharina, a loving Australian, Attila, a darling Peruvian, Gabriela, and the two just fabulous locals, Feras and I, emerged together on a stupendous adventure at Maaloula, Syria.

Top left to right: Lars, Katherina and Attila.
Botton Left to right: Gabriela, Feras and Me.

It was an hour decent ride on a bus from Damascus to Maaloula is a village whose inhabitants are mostly Christian.. All we talked about is current affairs. What else would anybody talk about these days? Me, Attila, Gabriela, Lars and Katharina pretty much sat near other but Feras sat a little further from us, which was good because he got to meet up with a girl who actually works as guide at one of a few gorgeous churches over there. So that worked great for us.

When we reached there, we took a look at some gorgeous ancient churches then the real escapade started when we went to the hills for some rock climbing. We all had a blast. I find it quite interesting that in summer when a bunch of us went to Bait Jin and did some hiking, I couldn't finish; I was so nauseated out of exhaustion and dehydration. This time, I was just out of breath but I kept up pretty well. I'm not too sure if I'm more in shape this time or is it that the weather does a huge role. That day was freezing cold. It even snowed a little bit. I sure did miss the feeling of snow drops hitting my face was a walk. It was like some sort of relief. Attila himself got very excited because he has never seen snow in his life.

I'll have to admit some of the caves on the hills and mountains look like that they can be used for some SciFi movie. I felt like I was I belonged in Star Wars and I'm just waiting for Jedis to come to tell us "May the force be with us" Or the Imperial army to force us to join the "dark side" or we're doomed. Other than that, some the pathways in the village are just gorgeous. The residential area is somewhat primitive but that what I loved about it. It was very simple and most of it was all natural and with the amount of stairs, I can say that it is one healthy lifestyle these people have.

I think we walked all over the village then stopped at a local restaurant to have something to drink and eat. To our amusement the TV was turned on VH1 and we couldn't help but sing along with songs playing on TV. We all reminisced our past as we sang each song loudly. It was mostly me, Attila and Gabriela. I'm surprised we didn't get kicked out of the place. I recall that when we were leaving the restaurant to catch the bus back to Damascus the guys at the restaurant seem to be happy to see us go. Go figure…

We didn't stop singing when we actually got on the bus. We sang all sorts of songs; we sang some, Christmas carols, oldies, nursery rhymes, TV show themes and modern rock songs. We got the whole bus quiet as we sang. Even Feras entertained us with his harmonica playing. It was just fun with laughter and just enjoying our time.

All in all this day was one of the most fun days ever since I moved to Syria, 2 months ago. This trip made me realize that there is so much in Syria I'm missing out. It's ironic that it takes backpackers for me to get to know more of my own country. Hence, I decided to join and just meet more people and get more connections because God knows when if one day I'll visiting their neck of the wood. Now that I think it'll happen but it'll be fun to know people from all over the world; a lot more to learn.

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