Damascus (i) (دمشق)
What was originally to be three or four weeks traveling en route through Syria is changing into a somewhat longer séjour.
The idea of learning Arabic has been tucked away somewhere in the back of my mind for a little while now & whilst traveling through the country they have planted root. The University of Damascus offers courses in fus’ha and I am really enjoying it here, so voilà, I find myself in Damascus, re-entering the student life.
As well as learning the language, the idea of living here for a little while, rather than just visiting, is very appealing. There are an abundance of souks where I will be able to recreate my shopping habits from Paris’ marché d’aligre, although a little more marché des voleurs in appearance. The city sprawls up the sides of Jebel Qassioun, a wee mountain at 1200m, so hopefully even a life in the city won’t be without a spot of the outdoors.
Kenya still seems a long way away, but the objective of this trip was to take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself. I am captivated by the Middle East; the political & cultural, as well as physical, landscape of the region.
The course lasts a month, although I don’t know how much I will really be able to learn in a month. I may find myself enrolling for the second level.