Well, here we are! And it only took us 6 and a half hours on the border and 30 Jordanian dinars (about US$40) to get here…. I feel bad for poor Megan, who, unlike Stephanie and I, already had her visa and was ready to cross the border in an hour….
We got here so late that we haven’t really seen much yet, just a few blocks of the modern city. It reminds me a lot of Dresden and East Berlin and Prague, with the architecture of the buildings and the muras of Presidents Hafiz and Bashar Al-Assad in such a socialist-realist style. And of course I visited all those Eastern block cities long after the fall of the Soviet Union, but I can imagine that the security presence must also feel similar. There are military everywhere, whether in little beefeater-style booths painted with big Syrian flags, or just lounging in the street. I didn’t notice the kind of weaponry you’d see in Switzerland or Jordn, but the sheer numbers of personnel are sufficiently intimidating … or reassuring, if you’re a tourist like me, worried about last week’s car bomb blast….