Travels With Nate #14: Hama – Palmyria – Deir e Zur

Hama – Palmyria – Deir e Zur

November 3rd

Yello! What’s been going on…

Two days ago we went to see Karak. Chris and I awoke and decided that we should head out alone, as we didn’t want to wake Fee and Lyndon (giggle giggle).

We began the long trek, took a little chicken bus to Homs, just a short hop down the road. Then headed to Karak. Our second bus conveniently enough dropped us off at the side of the highway about 15 miles from the castle. Goody goody.

We soon managed to hitch a ride from some nice guys in a mini-bus that was being used to haul rice. By the time we made it to the castle we met up with Fee and Lyndon to go and explore. The castle was pretty cool and worth a visit.

I think out of all the castles I have been to, this one looks the most castle-like. It was a big post for the knights during the Crusades and at one point held 3,000 of the armored guys. The castle was laid siege to (how I have no idea, but it was very big), and soon the numbers were reduced to about 200. Despite the siege, the surrounding forces still couldn’t take the place. (When you see it you will know why.) But instead of staying there (they had provisions for up to 5 years) they abandoned the castle for safe passage home. Cool cool.

That night was spent drinking! Chris and I found a little liquor shop and purchased a few big beers each. We went back to the hotel and soon made lots of friends and spent the evening chatting with other travelers. I think Nate and I are getting to a point where we enjoy talking with new people (both locals and fellow travelers), than we do seeing the sights. I wonder what this means? Eventually we called it a night, and soon the morning rolled around. Bleary-eyed we awoke and checked out off to Palmyra.

Like most all bus rides the one to Palmyra was uneventful and not very comfortable. I really miss my wonderful Jeep! (sniff sniff)

The day was spent cruisin’ through all the ruins and chatting with people. But this is it – Nate and I are sick of ruins. Palmyra is cool, but it’s just like all the other Roman ruins, and after going through Europe (especially Italy), we are not impressed.

Chris is feeling the same way as me, so we decided to leave for Deir e Zur. The plan is we are going to go to the Iraqi border by hitching, and hopefully we can stay at someone’s house. Besides, things are getting a little tense between Fee and Lyndon, and I think Chris and I (Nate doesn’t really care) are beginning to feel a little uncomfortable.

So the next morning Chris and I left. We checked out some more of the ruins, waited for our bus and buggered off. The plan was that we were going to spend the night in Deir e Zur, meet Fee and Lyndon the next day and begin to hitch. So we arrived in Deir e Zur, bargained with the hotel guy and settled into our room. We then went out to explore some, but got terribly lost. Before we knew it we were chillin with some locals, drinking tea and attempting to have a conversation in broken English and Arabic. Cool stuff. I think I have the most fun doing this. The people are so friendly, you just don’t want to leave! I really hope hitching is this good!

Chris and I finally found our hotel again, and low and behold Fee was there waiting for us. From what she said Lyndon and her had a falling out, and he wasn’t going to be attending our little jaunt to the border. Oh well. I like him, and hopefully we can stay in touch. But we shall see what happens; love can change feelings and key perceptions of the world – I should know!

The rest of the evening was spent playing cards, smoking sheesha and chatting with some more locals. I guess they don’t get many whites this far south, so people are very keen to speak some English. It’s all very good, and Nate and I are really looking forward to going to the border and hitching tomorrow. (Nate thinks that we are going to get kidnapped or something, but I think he is just being silly. Hopefully this isn’t going to turn out like the camel thingy!)

Wish us luck!

PS: If you have any questions about places I’ve been or am going feel free to e-mail me at