I’ve always enjoyed the Globe Trekker/Pilot Guides TV shows. When the only traveling you’re doing is shifting from one side of the couch to the other, it’s a pretty darn good placebo for the real thing. Now I realize there is a great deal of staging with these types of shows, but like all the books I’ve collected, I’m usually sold on the pretty pictures anyway . And that, my friends, is something GlobeTrekker delivers. So it being winter in this neck of the woods, and me being into a pretty picture looking kinda mood, I decided to catch up on some old episodes. And so that led me to the episode on Syria.
I had been to Syria in the late 90’s. Part of my big Middle East trip that culminated in ringing in the year 2000 with sixty thousand of my closest friennds at the Pyramids in Giza. But alas, that’s a tale for another time. In any event, I had some great memories of that part of the world, and I still consider it to be one for the best trips I’ve ever experienced.
Fast forward 10 or so years later, and I find myself getting all reminiscent about the souk in Aleppo, Krak des Chevaliers, and Palmyra compliments of the foks at Globe Trekker TV. About halfway through the episode, host Holly Morris checks into a homestay in Damascus by greating the owner with the words السلام عليكم “Salaam Aleikum” There’s nothing wrong with these words per se, but I was under the impression that this is a Muslim greeting. And judging from the giant statue of the Virgin Mary in the entrance, her hosts appear to be Christian. Am I wrong? Should Holly have said something else? How exactly does a non-Muslim great a non-Muslim in the Arab world?
If anyone can help me out here, well, that would be ممتاز (excellent).