Why the Gt?
Bram and our French visitors enjoyed cycling part of the way from Capadocia
into Syria, Maya had to take the bus. At the border we would all have to
be careful about our stated purpose of travel. The Syrian government does
not welcome independent journalists in the country and even the concept
of academic research could cause difficulties for us here. So Bram took
the video camera and Maya carried the laptop discretely. During our stay
in Syria we would have to keep in mind to represent ourselves merely as
interested tourists rather than professional travellers.
get used to the idea we spent the New Year period in Aleppo, visiting the
tourist sites and getting acquainted with our new environment. In the company
of our French travel companions who were truly on holiday this was a pleasant
introduction to Syria. We slept one night in the charming but decrepit Baron
Hotel where many famous people once stayed. New Years eve we partied the
night away at the magnificent Hotel Beit Al Wakil, where Nico was treated
to an encounter with the bellydancer and we enjoyed the beat of a traditional
Alepine ensemble (not to mention the bubbles of course).
Syria turned out to be more problematic than from Turkey, where our mobile
phone had worked and where we could use our own computer to go on-line
anywhere a phone line was available. After a few days, Maya learned how
to use the Internet in Syria. The Internet has only been introduced to
the public two years ago and the government limits the use of web-based
e-mail. On her first attempt to access her Belgian e-mail account, Maya
found herself on a page stating: 'Access to this page is expressly forbidden'.
The same happened when trying to access our hotmail and yahoo mailboxes.
But at the café two young men showed us how to go through a proxy server
that guards anonymity while surfing and that lets you surpass local restrictions
without any trouble or fees to be paid.
Read more on Agence Future's adventures in the middle east:
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