All I want to say is, Yeah!
President Bush, will you please read my blog? I say this to you, Dubya, and to anyone else who is reading.
Syria is a country, people! It's a place where ordinary people live and work. It's worth visiting.
It's a very interesting piece of our planet which looks after a few amazing old Roman ruins (Palmyra) and the oldest purpose-built Christian church that uses an arch. Syria is a pilgrimage destination for Christians, mainly because of Straight Street and St John, I believe. There are lots of Christians living in Damascus, and I don't mean a bunch of missionaries or something. I mean Arab Christians.
There are amazing souks (old covered marketplaces) and beautiful mosques and preserved forts, there are deserts and sea ports. The food is out of this world! Blood orange juice, roasted chicken, salads full of tasty fresh ingredients, lamb roasted to perfection on skewers, sweet sheets of dried apricot "leather", rich halvah, crunchy baklava, and the best yogurt I've ever eaten.
Okay, so the coffee is a bit bitter. But I love the damask fabric, the rugs, the olive oil soap, and the chocolate covered almonds.
I want to say THANK YOU, Nancy Pelosi, senator from my former state of California (wish I could say I voted for her, but I live in Asia and can only vote in Presidential elections... which gives me an idea). House Speaker Pelosi is merely doing what everyone ought to be doing, especially Condoleeza and W (ahem, you two): visiting a few folks to see if it's really such a good idea for them to be on the USofA SH*T list. I mean, isn't communication the universal solvent or something?
I hope Nancy picked up some plastic vats of that halvah to pass around her office at tea time. Her interns will love her forever, if she did. And I hope she stopped by the big souk at Aleppo to buy olive oil soap from the guy who looks exactly like Hank Azaria and speaks perfect English. But of course, I acknowledge that she was there for the serious business of talking world issues with President Assad. They appeared, on CNN, to be more than cordial with each other. Just America's most important working Grandma and the middle east's most intriguing former ophthalmologist, having a good chat. Probably not about eye charts and halvah, either. But someday, I hope that's all they have to discuss.