Thursday, April 21, 2011
It is Friday and was hoping for a peaceful day. Fridays are the day off here and recently a day for demonstrations. Two Fridays ago was called "day of rage" by the anti-government group and last Friday was the "day of martyrs" but Palmyra has always been peaceful. Woke up in middle of the night to screaming and cars racing down the street. Heard gunfire on three occasions so gave up on going out before sunrise to photograph. There is only one road from the hotel to the ruins and didn't want to get stuck there. Went out after sunrise and everything seems peaceful, no one can tell what was happening although the desk clerk said he didn't hear anything and said maybe someone got married-maybe, but Thursday afternoon we saw several cars and trucks with serious looking armed guys, some in uniform and not cruising the town.
Had two tasks for the day, get the laundry back and find gas for the car. Last night was told the laundry would be ready in "one hour" and was told the same thing this morning. A couple hours later the laundry came back but was still damp. Took it up to roof to dry then headed out to the ruins.All seems peaceful and on a back street we did find a gas station and filled up. We had seen several large stations on the way up from Damascus but all were abandoned. There is a large abandoned Mobile station outside of town that has a Beduin family living in a tent out front of where the pumps would be.
After getting gas went to the Roman theater in the ruins. It is a small theater that has been restored, perhaps over restored.
There is an open pit mine, avery large one to the SW of town and there are five very old and abandoned steam shovels. Went there this afternoon to photograph them. With there long arms it looks like prehistoric animals in a Jurassic Park of ancient mining equipment.