"Dan, put that titanium weld we did last year under the microscope to see if there are any cracks in it. She's going really far away."
She looks at me and explains, "The chances of you finding someone that can weld titanium where you're going is slim to none. I mean, we couldn't do it until 5 years ago."
She hands me back my glasses, with the new temple tips, and Dan confirms that there are no microscopic hairline cracks that would compromise my personal window onto the world. No need to inquire after Souq Al-Titanium, though I imagine people would say yes yes, of course, come with me and let me help you find it...
I mosey into a bookshop. Do you have books on Eastern Christianity? I have recently been reminded that Christianity is an Eastern religion ...
Book: From the Holy Mountain
... but I am directed to opposite ends of this active, mountainous landscape of processed pulp covered in dust. I have only a few minutes before my lungs give out.
"Theology" (Christianity) on the far east wall, "Middle East" on the far north-west wall, close to "Islam" and "Judaism". I find one book that looks at Christian and Muslim sights / sites in Egypt and Syria, based on research done in the early 1800s. My lungs say it is too dusty.
I buy instead a recent edition of "The No-nonsense guide to Islam".
So I am starting this new blog, the main purpose of which to tell you that I am safe and to share my travel experiences with friends and family. Note that there is no Facebook access in Syria.
I will be in Western Europe in September, and Damascus, Syria from October to March, with December in Mali ("that's nowhere near Syria!" my friend remarks, rather perceptively). After March, the plan is to visit family in Australia.