Lions & Tigers
Tony & I had heard of some mountains out east from Tartous, and so via a series of micro-buses, went in search of some hiking.
We did indeed find some great hills, although as seems to be always the case here, there is no development in terms of trails. Hiking doesn’t seem to be a popular past-time; walking for fun simply confuses most of the people we meet.
Walking out from a village we’re stopped by some road-workers to have some shai, and then later by a guy calling down from his balcony, asking us (in Arabic) where we were going. “Mashi, shoof” we called back, whilst miming our intended actions. These two words (“walk” and “look”, respectively) are some of the most useful Arabic we’ve picked up. Calling his young daughter over with the hope of warning us of the danger in the hills, he calls back “Tigers!”. In Syria? we wonder.
Once up in the hills, scrambling about on some rocks, gun-shots occasionally echo through the valley as flocks of birds fly-up from the trees. The dirt-track up here was littered with empty shot-gun cartridges.
The guy down in the house didn’t know what he was missing, as we sat watching the sun set over the mountains.