One goes, not so much to see but to tell afterward

—John Steinbeck
10
Nov 1995

White clouds were piping over a sky of the deepest purple when we were clumping around in the moist red clay of Anjar. Soon we all had platform shoes and were being spat upon by the heavens.

As we drove up the Bekaa Valley towards Baalbeck, the rain began to sweep over the Lebanon range in thick white curtains while the Anti Lebanon range was picked out with sunshine.

All the while, the lushness of the surrounding land continued to surprise us: the dark green of the...

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19
Oct 1995

The Baron Hotel in Aleppo had an air of faded glory. Gone were the days of English predominance in Syria; gone was the gentility and the security that Old Money brings; and gone was the original owner Mr Mazloumian.

I asked at reception if I could see the famous visitors book and was told ‘the lady’ would come to see me at seven o’clock.

The lady in question was Mrs Sally Mazloumian, her husband having died the year before. I met her in the office behind...

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21
Sep 1994

Lugging my pack, I waded, pushed, shoved and cajoled my way through the maze of humanity that was the living stuffing of Moscow’s Kazan station. Finding a small vacant spot to unload my pack in the grim surroundings did not prove easy; the rain outside made finding a clean, dry place impossible. In desperation I finally resorted to buying some relatively expensive American fast food, which allowed me to sit in the isolated emptiness of the station’s restaurant.

The...

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© 2012 Alicia Thompson
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