Giant red ball, anyone?

Aleppo is known for being more conservative than Damascus, and you can tell just by looking at the crowd. Even at just a casual glance, it is apparent that more women wear
the veil in Aleppo, and when they do, more of them choose the full black covering.

This particular crowd is mingling at the souq area in the Al-Jdeide quarter of the city, not far from Bab al-Faraj.

If you're in the area, you can buy one of these huge red balls for yourself. They're only five lira, direct from China.

I find the contrast in this picture between the garish red ball and the quiet, conservatively dressed women very striking. I also remember how the busy, bustling souq atmosphere disappears suddenly and entirely as you step off the main thoroughfare into one of the cobbled sidestreets in Al-Jdeide.

You may recall that our favorite
splurge hotel and restaurant are located in this area.

But whatever you do, do not take the overnight train from Aleppo to Damascus. It may only cost five bucks, but you will wake up feeling (and smelling) like you spent the night an ashtray. Trust me on this one.
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