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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Is there fun under there?


Palmyra, Syria.

I could talk about the city of Palmyra, of its Roman ruins in the middle of the desert and its sublime perched high citadel at the sunset.

But in fact, what struck me most marked over there is Ashrine, Maha, Abdulah and all others that I am sorry to have forgotten their names.

It is that in Syria, despite sometimes poor level of English, people will not disturb to address you. Even if after "Hello", "Where are you from?" and "What's your name?" they are short, they remain there to you smiles. Today it is a little different.

At the foot of the Citadel, we met Ashrine, who so kindly, and with great insistence, invited to dinner at home with his sisters, his mother and a couple of Montrealers who discussed already.

One hesitates, it makes us soft eyes and asks us what we want to eat.

It is a little embarrassed that we accept. It also invites her girlfriends. There will be seven more at their table tonight. I inquire about whether her mother is in agreement, it tells me ' malesh!» (no problem!) his wide smile.


We all take place at the show. There are Ashrine and her five sisters, their friends, Abdulah brother nine years who got already, at the time it is requested in marriage and their mother, Maha, aged 37 and proud owner of a family of eight children. In doing a quick calculation, it seems impossible because her eldest daughter has twenty-five years but, she tells us that she got married at thirteen and had her first child the same year!

My Western mind is reeling. I have trouble believing despite the fact that it was true. She married a man from thirteen years older than she and began married life very young.

Today, she is all smiling and fun like a kid with his many daughters.

It takes only a few minutes so that the atmosphere warms, that delicious accumulate on the table and giggles erupt. Only two of the girls can chat in English. For the rest, it is the sign language and the help of Aditya and Alexis, our new friends of the metropolis which are doing quite well in Arabic.

The hookah operates at bottom of train enfumant the room with the aroma of Apple. Young people select what seems to be the Arabic pop music and invite us to jiggle us. Still, it is impossible to tell them no.

They reveal distinct movements, Maha joins us and same Will be lead. The temperature rises at the same rate as the red on my cheeks. Will said to feel like shawarma making his public laugh.

«- Coffee? ''
-UH no thanks, it is twenty-three hours, I will not be able to sleep...
-Yes, Yes, you can not refuse, anyway nobody goes to sleep right away! »

And it is left for a good Turkish coffee full-bodied and flavoured with cardamom. Live experience to the end.

Then it is time typical girl. Let's talk about makeup, hair and clothes! They invite me to their room to show me their hair and make me a worthy of a true Muslim hijab before returning to the two men.


It is almost midnight, fatigue quietly takes precedence over travelers while the Syrian side, nothing seems to exhaust them. We decide to take leave of our guests who would like to keep us for the night, still do not abuse the good things.

It is disappointed that they take back to the door with the promise to return see them if we go back to Palmyra.

On our side, we leave with a smile. The absence of the father allowed Will to experiment the feminine side of Muslim life. I am not sure that otherwise he would have been invited to a real party for girls to taste of the Middle East.


Still a nice experience authentic that we owe to the Syrians so hospitable and generous. Get into the heart of families is, at this stage of the journey, much more interesting that visit ruins...

So to answer the question of the beginning, Yes, there are fun under the veil and more than we think!

-Nad coughing his hookah.

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