Making Plans

December 27th, 2008 by scott and becky

10 km, delivering the bikes to Fadi’s workshop.

Fadi and son Fawad trying out Scott's bike

Fadi and son Fawad trying out Scott's bike

We have decided to leave the bikes and a bunch of our gear with Fadi in Aleppo. We will take a bus from Aleppo to Amman, Jordan, and from there take another bus to Aqaba. Aqaba is on the Red Sea and is experiencing daytime temperatures of around 22-25 degrees. We are hoping that some sun, warm temperatures, and salt air will allow Becky to fully recover from her cough. Once Becky has recovered, we will slowly make our way North back to Syria. We hope to have the time to see some of the key sights in southern Jordan (Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea), as well as some sites in Syria (Damascus, Palmyra, Crac de Chevalier).

We will return to Aleppo to pick up our bikes in mid to late January. Depending on how the weather is, how Becky is feeling, and how much time we have left, we will either cycle out to the Mediterranean and ride North back into Turkey, or we will bus back to Turkey. We need to be back in Izmir for January 27th . On January 29th we will take a boat from Cesme Turkey to Trieste Italy (thanks to Mustafa, a friend of Mehmet for arranging this).

Today, Scott rode the bikes over to Fadi’s workshop. Despite the aggressive drivers packing into every available space on the road, he always felt quite safe while riding. Our recumbents continue to draw attention wherever we ride. Becky spent the day doing some necessary shopping and repacking bags.

We are storing the bikes at Fadi’s workshop – since he’s a goldsmith, they should be very safe there. As a side benefit of dropping off the bikes, Scott got to see how gold rings are made. In Aleppo, almost all gold is 21k – quite rare these days, when most gold jewelry is 18k or 14k.

While Scott was dropping off the bikes, Fadi took Katja and Miroslav to visit his Uncle and family. His uncle’s wife is from Serbia, so their language is close to Katja’s Slovenian and Miroslav’s Czech. The quick visit for tea lengthened to an afternoon of conversation and lunch, which Scott joined part way through. It was fun to meet some more people, and especially to visit with Fadi’s cousins Nina and Danny. Nina is a pharmacist working for GlaxoSmithKline, and Danny is a gold and silver smith. Unfortunately, Nina had another appointment, but Danny took us under his wing for the rest of the day. We picked up Becky, then went to visit his friend William and check out some areas of Aleppo which we hadn’t seen before. We continue to find that it’s the people we meet who make this trip special for us.

The affluent Christian sections of Aleppo feel like a completely different city than the old quarter where we are staying. It is almost like stepping into a time warp when we returned to our hotel at the end of the evening. Prior to ending the day, we arranged to meet William the next morning to experience the best Fuul (a broad bean stew type thing) in Aleppo.

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