Aleppo: Hospitality, Fast Food, and Censorship

August 12, 2007 at 11:50 am 2 comments

Hospitality: It was still very hot at 5:00 when I walked to the main street to meet my new Arabic teacher, so I stood under an awning to wait. After five minutes, a young man from the framing store attached to the awning brought me a chair. After ten minutes, one of the proprietors brought me a glass of hot tea. After 15 minutes, he returned to offer me his cell phone to call my friend.

Fast Food: Ahmad introduced us to one of the foul shops (pronounced as fool) in the old suq. For $ .50 one gets a bowl of hot fava beans in tahini sauce with olive oil and spices, accompanied by sliced tomatoes, mint sprigs, fresh onions and bread.

Censorship: It seems the US government has decided that Mozilla’s Firefox is an inappropriate technology transfer to Syria (and Cuba and a few others), so we use Internet Explorer here, which apparently involves no technology transfer? It seems the Syrian government is dubious about the domain, so I can’t read Katie’s blog.

And more strolling: Our 23 year old housemate, a Public Policy intern from Japan, has been spending all of her time working since she arrived last week. We took her to the Jadidah section (the old Christian quarter) to watch the people stroll Friday night. I asked her if people go out at night in Japan, and she responded that some do, you know, go out drinking and partying. It sounds like the social scene at her college town is similar to ours. She was quite taken with the strollers in Aleppo, walking up and down the street, looking at the shop windows and at the street sellers, dodging the wind-up toys on display on both sides of the street.

Finally, Rami Khoury points out that a bit more about people’s lives in the Middle East might provide a more complete impression than the constant press focus on politics and violence.

Entry filed under: Food, Syria, US Government.

Ahmad’s House Hala-Day

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Steve  |  August 12, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Hi, what do you mean with “inappropriate technology transfer”? Aren’t you able or allowed to download Firefox in Cuba? Why that? I am really interested, so please let me know. Thanks.


  • 2. Updates « Between Chapel Hill and Timbuktu  |  September 9, 2007 at 9:01 am

    […] Katie’s blog is blocked by the Syrian government, and my blog is blocked by the Turkish […]


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