Participants are arriving between Tuesday March 7 and Saturday March 11.
Taxis to Damascus have been arranged at a cost of about $110 equivalent for the three hour trip. Taxis have all your arrival times and names. I will send their phone numbers later.
Beirut Airport Taxis: The taxi drivers who stand by Beirut airport are their own mafia. They over charge. If you cannot avoid them haggle with them to get to the Beirut hotel. It’ll be $20-$25 for a $7 trip.
Beirut Hotels: The Assaha, Golden Plaza and Golden Tulip are all near the airport in case you cannot travel onward because of plane delays or whatever or if you need them on the way back. Damascus taxis can pick you up there.
Visa Charges to Syria: Cannot be avoided and will probably be steep. It is best paid in US$. You can withdraw up tgo $600 from the ATM in Beirut Airport.
Transport in Syria will be free.
Dama Rose Hotel: Is base camp in Damascus. It is a 5 star hotel we have at a special rate. Though much cheaper accommodation is available, a trade off between convenience, cost and security is needed.
Syrian Prices: Sanctions are causing Syrian prices to sky rocket so bear with that and a little discomfort.with the Syrians I work with being considerably cheaper on average.
Drivers: Will help with the paperwork between Beirut and Damascus.
Lebanon Exit Visa: Be sure to get the exit visa stamp from Lebanon to Syria. It saves a lot of hassle on the way back. Our designated drivers know the ropes.
Transit Caveats: The three hour road to Damascus is very safe and very heavily patrolled on both sides. The Lebanese side passes mostly through Shia, Christian and Druze areas. There are very many road checks on the Syrian side, which is probably the most secured road in the country.
Costs: Because of EU sanctions in support of the terrorists, the Syrian economy is on life support and those with hard currencies will find it very cheap.
Currencies: Lebanon uses the US $ inter changeably with its own currency. Beirut airport ATMs give US & Lebanese currencies. Syrian currency can be bought at the Syrian border or in Damascus.
Syrian Hotel Payments: Foreigners are required/expected to pay in hard currency.
No Visa/Debit/Credit Cards: As part of the EU’s sanctions in support of the terrorists, plastic does not work. Cash only.
What to Bring: Both travel and semi formal clothes. Pack a green tie/shirt/dress for the cameras. (Orange if you prefer). It gets cold at night.
Shopping/Tours: Syria needs your money. Tours or shopping can be arranged, preferably for a fee to the guides.
Danger Level: Damascus and environs are very safe. One of the saddest things about this extermination war is Syria was one of the world’s very safest countries before it was put on the hit list.
Bombs & Bullets: Very little, if any of this as the Syrian Army have continued to extend its safe zone.
Hot Zones: Special permission is needed from the Syrian military to go into war zones. These are not for everybody as serious business is afoot there.
Yarmouk Palestinian Camp: Is at a stalemate. It is possible to meet Palestinians on the Syrian side of the lines but, like others, they need material help more than compassionate tourists.
Internet/Wifi are available in hotel etc.
Sim Cards: Can be bought at special stores. Top ups are widely available. These may or may not be worth the hassle, depending on the length of your stay. I intend to reactivate mine.
Alcohol: is widely available in government-held Syria. NATO backed rebels murdered an 85 year old Christian in Idlib for selling booze. Syria is not the place to get sloshed.
Cigarettes: Syrians smoke much too much. The government’s plans to curb this revolting practice was put on ice as a result of the rebel invasion. The ability of ISIS to prohibit smoking leads one to ask how they could implement that very non Arab rule. Arabs have a big problem with smoking.
Shaking Hands: is another national addiction, large numbers of Muslim women excepted.In government-held Syria, religion hangs loosely on their shoulders and should just be respected on a mutual, non-aggressive basis.
Main Itinerary: Has been worked out. It divides into several time frames: up to an including Sunday march 12th, March 12-17, March `17-22. Specific details are best kept under wraps as the rebels loathe normality and wil attack if they can.