Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 16: Drawing Chairs/Preparing to Leave

I try to draw a hotel chair in every room I occupy during the course of a trip. It all started with a trip to Syria, Jordan and Egypt in 2003 and I’ve been doing it ever since. I can’t tell you why I thought it would be fun to do. I had been drawing chairs in Berkeley and Sonoma for a while before 2003, had drawn nearly every chair in the house and was getting bored with the process and my chairs. I knew that I would never get bored drawing on trips and thought there would be an endless variety of chairs. It is true that I have never gotten bored but it is also true that there is not an endless variety.

I believe somewhere in the world there is a ware house filled with five or six styles of chairs which are purchased and show up in various guises in most any hotel room. Anywhere. The warehouses may be divided into the high class, middle class, and cheap varieties but within each class the chairs are remarkably the same.
So today on my last day, I drew the chair in our Damascus hotel room. I have one more chair to draw in our airport hotel in London—but just in case I don’t have time, I want you to see the chairs I have drawn so far on this trip. London, Oxford, and Damascus.

The entire Monitor team working on projects in Syria (about eight of them plus me) gathered for dinner on our last night in Damascus at a new restaurant called The Pearl of the Orient. The food was the best we’ve had in Syria—and that’s saying something. I can’t begin to name what was in all the little bowls of dips and relishes which preceded the salads, main course dishes, and desserts. So I’ll just show you the pictures. A perfect meal to end our stay.

Mezze selections.

Salads. This one is tabbouleh. Others included fattoush.
Main dishes, served with nut-studded rice.

Desserts. This one is angel-hair pasta wrapped in a nest, filled with a creamy sweet cheese, and soaked with a sweet syrup. The other dessert was two kinds of rose-scented rice pudding, one with an orange custard on top, the other plain.
Following dinner Emad took us to the Old City to see the Mosque at night. It was about 10:30pm and he said it was still too early to get the full effect. But I thought it was pretty magical, especially with the full moon shining.

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