But the trip itself was awesome. If you're somebody like me who heads not to the nearest shopping mall in a new country, but to its churches, palaces, ruins, museums, old markets, then the ancient land of Syria is a most fascinating place to visit. The picture above was taken in Palmyra, amid its magnificent Roman ruins--just one of the places we were brought to on our whirlwind cross-country tour of five historic cities: Damascus, Palmyra, Hama, Tartous and Aleppo.
Wait--more Syria stories and pics later, I've something I need to do...
Facebook and blogs being banned in Syria, and time for e-mail hard to come by, I didn't learn until days later from the awards organizers that this blog had won two special citations at the recent Philippine Blog Awards 2009: one of the Ten Best Posts of the Year (for this entry) and, ahem, one of the “Elders of the Globe-PBA Digital Tribe for Luzon”--given, I understand, to a few veteran bloggers for (I'm quoting the e-mail here) “your body of work and impact in your chosen niche in the Web Community.”
Whoa. Last year this corner won Best Blog in the Arts and Culture category, now I'm being called an “Elder.” Cue the polka! Next, the Methuselah Medal maybe? Kidding.
Thank you, Philippine Blog Awards, for the citations. As always, my dear readers (Jennifer Hudson moment here)--That's you! And you! And you!--share in this honor, for the privilege of their company and for helping me keep this blog alive. To those who've been here since Day 1--ahoy, fellow “Elders!”
Upon arrival, I celebrated my safe journey and this blog's latest badges by slurping hot sotanghon soup at Aristocrat. Laing is up next.
PLUS: Re baba ganoush--the first time our young Syrian guide Maya pointed out the dish in front of us, I thought: I've heard that name somewhere. And spoken excitedly, like, “baba ganoush!” Then it hit me: It's the dish John Lloyd was helping Ate Vi memorize in In My Life! It's a Mediterranean dip made of mashed grilled eggplant mixed with lemon juice, olive oil and spices. Delicious. Now we know.