Flashback Friday: Things in Syria that made me laugh

1. On one of our first days in the country, we found this creature in the basement of City Mall. Take a good look (at the creature, not me):

His name is Hessfeld, and he delivers a Happy Toy by method of "Get Surprise in the ball." That became a kind of motto for our time in Syria. That, and also that time I opened a box of Kleenex and found a toothbrush inside. Life in Syria is just like that. Surprise in the ball.

2. Jeremy once chit-chatted with some random Syrians in our neighborhood and one of them busted out his English skills. He told Jeremy he was an English teacher at a local school, and asked, "You think I am clever?" Except he pronounced it "KLEEV-er." I shudder for his English students. Incidentally, "clever" has been on the list of words I can't pronounce correctly ever since.

3. We once met a taxi driver named Bruce. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that Bruce is not a common name in the Middle East. But it was true, his name was actually Bruce. He showed us his driver's license and everything. It turns out his parents were really big Bruce Lee fans. Like, REALLY big fans.

4. Taking another look at this honest-to-goodness newspaper ad always makes me laugh. Yes, it is what you think it is - an advertisement for a cologne called NOSE.

5. We lovingly referred to the street we lived on as Iron Maiden Street, due to the graffiti someone had sprayed on it. It made for a nice landmark when we were giving directions to our house, and it was classier than "behind the tire shop."

6. Arabs love to decorate their cars and some of the decals they chose were inexplicable.

This "Crying Dima" sticker was everywhere. And no one could ever tell us definitively why she was so sad.

And I still have no idea why these No My Friend in dripping blood stickers were so ubiquitous. Aside from pictures/holograms/illuminated flashing light representations of President Bashar al-Assad, Crying Dima and No My Friend were the most popular vehicle decorations.

Then of course you have this Go Near the Poo sticker. Our friend Steve Robertson took this picture so if he has anything else to say about it, he can be my guest.

Yes, despite the difficulties of daily life, there was always something in Syria that could put a smile on my face.

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