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Spectacular Palmyra at Sunrise ... and Sunset again


View 2010 Colombo, Lebanon, Syria & Aceh on alexchan's travel map.

large_5550_12790279049452.jpgPre-dawn ... wind-swept morning at Palmyra.
Sunrise at Palmyra [Palmyra-travel-guide-1308235]

We decided to wake before 5am so we could catch sunrise at the ruins. The wind had built up over night ... it wasn’t so pleasant having a mild sandblasting.

In the cool of dawn, I better appreciated the beauty and magnificence of Palmyra. My first time had been as a day trip of Hama [Hama-travel-guide-1185297] and the heat was too much to allow a leisurely exploration.

I had always declared Baalbek near Beirut as my favourite Roman ruins. With my new-found and enhanced appreciation for Palmyra, I’m now town between the two. Perhaps Baalbek wins in terms of the height and degree of preservation ... but Palmyra wins in terms of sheer expanse.large_5550_1279027904135.jpgSunrise at Palmyra.

Underage bartenders and pimps

Last night we had drinks at a bar staffed by a 9 year old and a 14 year old. They’re probably Muslim too. It just seems so weird that people who cannot drink can sell alcohol ... but I get over things like this. I have a very wide spectrum in terms of accepting things as “normal”.

But this morning, while I had to wait for the Temple of Bel to open. Three Bedouin boys (about 10, 10 and 14 years of age) came up to sell me scarves. When I expressed my disinterest, one of the younger ones started pimping the older one to me for sexual favours. The older boy smiled.

Terrible! I promptly said “Aib” (shame) to them but they seemed undeterred.

They younger boy said to go around the corner (behind the Temple of Bel). I wonder if it is a trick to rob unsuspecting dirty old men. One of them had felt my knee-height pockets in my cargo shorts, probably looking for cash.

So how do children learn these things! And how do they get themselves (seemingly by their own choice) into the world’s oldest profession? Especially in such a conservative area.

Viewing the Sunset from On High

In the evening, we (Ammi, Salome and myself) climbed up to the Arab Castle to watch sunset over Palmyra. It was hard work but it made us appreciate the sunset better!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Syria

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