November 2, 2012

Remembering Aleppo

 Armenian Quarter in the Old City Aleppo

My laptop was on New York time and so I arrived a day early at Beit Wakil, once an upscale family home and now a small Boutique Hotel in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. The frazzled young girl at the reception could barely cope with my presence and began ringing a bell at an alarming clang. From somewhere deep inside the walls I heard  baritone sounds that seemed to be getting closer… "No Problem I will fix" the burly man was saying as he scurried down the steps in a long Arabian Thobe, the casual robe that Middle Eastern men where in the intense heat. "Hello, I'm Habib, the manager and we will take care of your room.  Find her a room", he says to the receptionist as he takes my arm and leads me down a stone hall to the inner courtyard. "Have you eaten, don't eat because I am taking you for dinner. Aleppo has the best food in the Middle East. i promise you what ever you don't like we won't charge you!"
That night we sang all the songs from Fiddler on the Roof as Habib filled glass after glass of Arak the sweet, anise drink of Syria. The more he drank the more he began to look like Zero Mostel's Tevye

                                                              Courtyard of the Beit Wail


Mt. Ararat

Marla Mossman

My photo
One woman traveling alone, in search of her religious and cultural heritage.