. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: March 18, 1998

Wednesday, March 18, 1998
Hama to Palmyra, Syria
Syria's Flag

Palmyra, Syria:
Latitude: 34° 33' 14" North
Longitude: 38° 16' 47" East
Altitude: 1561 feet
From Seattle: 8359 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Omayyod Palace

Today's Travel:
Country: Syria
Regions: Orontes Valley, The Desert
Route: Micro Bus: Hama - Homs, Micros Bus: Homs - Palmyra
Path:Hama - Palmyra, Syria
Linear:97 miles
Weather: Rain

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 342
Linear Dist: 96449
Countries Visited: 28
Regions Visited: 110
More stats...
Hotels: 61
Friends / Family: 98
Camping: 38
Hostels: 113
Transit: 32
Beers: 1426

Journal Entry:
Today was the bus ride from hell. I woke up feeling pretty much recovered (finaly!) Laura, Jeanne, Rachel and I caught a micro bus (van) to Homs with no problems. There we had to argue with another micro bus driver who wanted to put our packs on top of the bus (in the pouring rain). After threatening to go find another bus (and in fact leaving) he agreed to stack two of them in back if we'd put the other two on our laps. While we were waiting for the bus to leave we saw several fights break out, something we hadn't seen any of in Aleppo or Hama. When the van was finally full the true hell began. The woman behind me had only one tooth and reeked of what I can only describe as rotten salami combined with spoiled milk. The man in front of me had clearly never heard of bathing. It was a good thing my stomach was on the mend or I would have lost it in the first ten minutes. Besides that the "bus" didn't seem to have any shocks and our driver was doing his best to kill us, often swwerving off the road entirely to avoid running head on to another car while he was passing. To top things off the driver stopped, left the van running and sat down for thirty minutes to eat lunch without saying a word to the passengers, then when we got going again it was only about ten minutes further to Palmyra (the end of the trip). I won't even talk about the dead chickens and other cargo...

Anyway we survived the four hour trial,and found a clean, reasonable hotel (my own room, toilet, and shower for 125 Syrian Pounds (~US$2.25) a night. The ruins looked like they're going to be spectacular from the brief glimps I got driving into town. Perhaps most importantly after such a day we found a nice (if expensive) bar in the basement of one of the nicer hotels. The couple beers were well justified.

Related Sites:
ArabNet: Syria, Tour Guide, Palmyra
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Syria
CIA World Fact Book: Syria

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