Monday, October 4, 2010

Mad dash to Syria

Yesterday was one crazyday. Rushed through breakfast, hurried goodbyes to the wonderful people of Adana, dashed to the cemetery that at least provided some tranquility, then off to the vehicles and it was ready, set & go. One fuel stop & none after till we got to the border. At just about 10 minutes from the border, at a gas station some people had laid out the table picnic style but all we could do was get off our vehicles, grab some food & eat it while driving. It was just go, go, go tear down the road, put in those miles, till we got to the border where the bureaucracy effectively threw a spanner into the works & forced everyone to take a breather.

But no sooner we cleared both checkpoints & it was a mad rush again. There was a huge reception just into the Syrian border; canopy, music, tons of people, hosted by Baath party. Speeches followed & we were piled with cakes & drinks. One man even asked me to kiss his baby:)

There were children everywhere. Many of these people were Palestinians & were thanking us profusely for doing what they wished they could. Everyone was either being photographed or was photographed.

Then we were marshaled once again into our vehicles & it was speed driving down Syria's badly lit roads. For a while I lost the convoy as I had to check on a team member & it took me a good 5 minutes of chasing before I caught up.

Then more bumps ahead. The car leading our group lost the lead car & we were stranded in some town, about 15 vehicles. Some wanted to literally spend the night on the street as it was quite late & we still had a fair distance to go. But after a while, it was decided that we'd keep pressing & we did just that till about 1 am when the group stopped to rest & there were heated discussion as to whether we should continue. The lead car was determined to keep going as its driver, Amer is part of VP management. So the group split, most went ahead & some stayed back.

We got to our destination at about 3.30am & were amply fed rice with lamb & chicken. By the time I went to bed, it was 5am, some 25 hours later.

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