Monday, 22 March 2010


I'm so excited! I am leaving in two days for Turkey with one of my Turkish roommates. There are several reasons for this trip:

1. My roommate asked me if I wanted to go with her to Istanbul for a few weeks.

2. Of course I want to!

3. My visa expired a few weeks ago, so I have to leave the country and come back in anyhow.

4. The tickets are less than two hundred dollars round trip.

Adding together my roommate's small amount of Arabic and my better Arabic but nearly nonexistent Turkish, this should be interesting. We gesture a lot when we talk and carry around dictionaries, but we do manage to say quite a bit.

She told me yesterday that we would get to Syria by bus in the middle of the night, and asked if I was willing to wander around Syria in the dark with her (or something like that, in a combination of Arabic, Turkish, facial expressions, and gestures). Would I be too tired, or in too much pain? I told her, no, it's fine, I'll just load up on coffee and chocolate and more sugar and painkillers, and I'll be okay. It'll be fun!

On the visa front...the official at my college in charge of visas has been telling me tomorrow, tomorrow, insha'Allah for a good month now, and I don't think my visa application has ever left his desk; he wasn't even aware it was in there, until he asked me for something I'd given him weeks ago. He told me yesterday that if I pay a special tax the police will extend my visitor's visa my another three months, but I'm not supposed to be studying on that. I suspect he will just pocket my sixteen dinar 'tax' (about twenty five bucks) and continue to do nothing, but it's worth a try. At least then I would have a visa to show the Syrian police, who are well known for refusing people entry, or dropping them off at the nearest border, whether it's the most convenient or not.

Sometimes I wonder if I worry too much, or not enough.

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