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In Damascus It is normal to hear car and taxi drivers use the car horn to push the other drivers in front to move further,even there is no traffic,
So my tip is to make sure you have earplugs if your hotel is near high road to be able to asleep the drivers use horn24/7 they do not care if people are sleep at night.
Written Feb 2, 2012
Is it acceptable to drink alcohol? What about drug use?
Drug use is strictly prohibited in Syria, and carries very stiff penalties for usage or possession, and no distinction is made between “hard” or “soft” drugs”. If you’re carrying pot, weed, hash or marijuana for medical use or otherwise, do not attempt to enter Syria.
Drinking Alcohol in public is unacceptable and not recommended (and sometimes illegal) except in tourist resorts like Lattakia. In all other cities, you can drink alcohol at the resturants or bars that serve it, as well as in private in your hotel room. You may bring alcohol with you to Syria, but maybe required to pay duty tax.
Syria is not like Dubai you find alcohol ONLY in bars of hotels.
in Syria you can purchase alcohol easily from liquor shops and bars as well.
Bottle of Beer is is aboit half US dollars in shops,while 2 US dollars in bars..
Written Jan 29, 2012
When is the best time to visit Syria?
- The best time to visit Syria is spring or autumn, as the temperature is in the mild mid 20s. Winter is too cold and Summer is probably too hot for all but the most hardy traveler, add to that frequent electricity and water shortages during the hot summer months.
Written Jan 29, 2012
Wasta is a word often heard in Syria. It is Arabic and translates as something like authority, influence, political (or other) power, connections, or a combination of those terms. In practical terms it means that some rules can become more flexible if you have wasta, or know someone who has wasta. Also, a bit of wasta can smooth or speed up business transactions, bureaucratic issues, and other official procedures. At its best (or worst, depending on your point of view), a good dose of wasta could keep you out of jail or save you from other unpleasant consequences of dubious activities.
The common English expression "it's not what you know but who you know ... " is a rough equivalent of wasta.
On the wasta scale (not that there is an official one), things that can make a difference in the Syria are your nationality, your profession, who you work for, who you know, your political position in the country, your connections to people in positions of authority. Money and how long you have lived in the Syria don't usually directly affect your wasta level but indirectly they do since longer term residents may have built up a larger network of high-wasta friends, and rich people often associate with other rich people who may be high-wasta individuals.
Many expat residents learn about wasta through a driving experience. In simple terms, the more wasta someone has, the less likely they are to cop a fine and/or be blamed if there's an accident. Wasta can result in some unusual situations for example, green lights were actually red when you went through them because the person who crashed into you had enough wasta to change the color retroactively. Indications of higher levels of wasta on the road are dark tinted or mirror tinted windows (30% maximum is the law so anything more than that means it's likely they have enough wasta to get around this rule), number plates with fewer than 5 digits (but anyone can buy them now if they have enough cash so it's not as good an indication as in the past).
Wasta is something that many expats, especially westerners, find difficult to come to terms with but you'll find it easier to enjoy Dubai if you get used to that rather than try to fight it. And of course it helps if you can elevate your own wasta level somehow.
Wasta and Bribes
Don't confuse wasta with bribery. If you try to bribe a government official, for example a police officer who has just pulled you up for driving though somebody's garden, you should expect to be punished fairly harshly for trying to bribe them. And if the owner of the garden that you drove through has some wasta, then you'll probably be even worse off. In the business world, things may operate a little differently. Just as anywhere else in the world, the negotiation of business transactions and contracts is not always done on a level playing field, and bribes ... er gifts ... might be part of your discussions with interested parties.
Wasta also means to pull some strings. is widespread in Syria and bribery as well under Syrian baath party.
Written Jan 26, 2012
Syria has its own rules for changing the clock, which differ from those in Europe. It might be on Thursday/Friday night and then it might be on Friday/Saturday, but it will NOT be the last Sunday in October.
If you are leaving Syria during the last week of October/March first week of November/April. then be sure to check when the clocks change, or risk missing your departing plane.
Written Nov 15, 2008
One of the major problems in Damascus was the lack of information in other language than Arabic. We try to visit the city without a guide, what is not difficult, taking a taxi in some points and walking. But it is hard to understand what you are seeing if there isn’t written information. So buy a good guide book …
Written Aug 19, 2007
If you are mailing your passport to the Syrian embassy in the United States, you should know that it will take about three weeks to be processed. It cost $100 for Americans and $68 for Romanians. If you need to contact the embassy, keep calling until someone picks up the phone. There is little chance that they will return your calls or reply to an email.
Written Jun 21, 2006
Phone: (202) 265-4585
It is true that Damascus –and Syria in general- is really a very safe place. People are friendly and hospitable and if you express a common sense, you’ll never have any problem. I never felt unsafe and although I could speak only two or three Arabic words, people were always willing to help me. The only “danger” as other Vters have said, is the taxi drivers: always ready to overcharge and cheat you and never have a taximeter or small change. The best way to deal with them is to avoid using a taxi, but if you have to, then discuss the price beforehand and keep in mind that a simple cross-town ride costs around 30SP.
Written Apr 28, 2006
Yes, they are friendly to Americans there. Yes, they can distinguish between politics and private people. The most famous is an American Immigration official who spent part of his holiday in Palmyra and left his card there for all to see. (At leasrt that is what he claimed to be, civilian I mean)I heard they were even friendly to civilian Israelis who sneaked in.
Really, I never felt so safe ANYWHERE else. Close to zero sexual harrassment (compared to what I tend get in the West), zero hostility, sincere smiles and laughs on odds instead of nagging, people are honest, sincerely hospitable and don't get on your neck the way they do in package tourist ressorts elsewhere. People are always hanging out on therstreet chatting or having tea and so are watching what is going on around them ( plus the usual secret police and staff having an eye out) but the only negative effect you will likely notice of these circumstances is when you decide to write political messages to amnesty international or something. This setting makes for very safe walking by yourself until late at night.
And just the way people react to civilian strangers in that special spot on earth: Should you get lost, some elderly couple or another person might insist on helping you find your way back by bussing you there in their midst, as happened to fuzzy me who always gets lost and has a hard time crossing busy intersections by herself. Very easygoing and caring people.
As a not too ugly single female, you might get more marriage proposals than you can politely refuse though. Always these suitors!
Updated Jan 6, 2006
...In that love that never ends
Touching my arms
You told me words of hope
Watching in your eyes
I felt you are the one
Close to your scent
I knew my life was changing
Loving that hope
A gift filled from love
Watching your eyes
I felt i was the one
Cause close to my scent
You knew your life was changing
Wishing to live
An endless gift of love.
Written Dec 13, 2005
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