Seen on the Syrian highway

I made a special goal on our most recent trip to Syria to capture some images of strange loads seen on the Syrian highways. I've said before that everything in Syria is a surprise, and believe me, their vehicular traffic is no exception.

A big, but probably extremely light, load. My best guess is that these will be cut into mattresses. I know all we ever slept on in Damascus were foam pads like these.

Here is a truck containing bottles of ghaz - fuel for the stove. This must be a distributor truck that delivers the goods to the smaller Suzuki trucks. The Suzuki trucks (kind of like the one in the top photo) then putt around the neighborhood with smaller loads. There is always one guy driving and one guy sitting in the bed of the truck, banging on the cans with a wrench and yelling "ghaaaaaaaaz! ghaaaaaaaaaz!" at the top of his lungs. Ostensibly, this system is great because when you run out of ghaz while cooking a meal, you can easily run out and get more. In real life, however, mostly you just end up being annoyed at the noise. The price we pay for convenience, I suppose.

I spotted this strange load in the traffic circle east of Sheikh Saad. If you look closely, you'll see a pickup truck with a water storage tank in the back of it. To keep it steady, there's a guy riding in the back with it. The water storage tanks generally go on the roof of the apartment building. Sometimes, you have two tanks, and one of them is in the basement. If you run out of water from the roof storage unit, you can pump up spare water from the basement storage unit. In theory, anyway. We ran out of water on occasion in Damascus, but I don't think we had a basement unit, on account of the fact that our building didn't really have an empty basement.

Who says you need a U-Haul truck when you're moving? This is a version of the truly ubiquitous Suzuki truck I mentioned earlier. They have extremely small cabs and not very much power, but they certainly have maximum truck bed space. This is the functional vehicle in Syria. We used one to move into our apartment in Damascus. A friend of ours got turned away from entering Jordan at the border and hitched a ride late at night back to Damascus in one (driven by a total stranger and filled with others in his same predicament, I might add. And also free of charge).

I'm not sure what is inside the bags in this gigantic pile. At first glance, I thought it might be bags of bags, perhaps fresh in from a harvest of the land near the highway (it's always strewn with cast-off plastic bags). Upon closer inspection, however, I think it might be something more substantial. It can't be too substantial, though, because even by creative Syrian standards, I don't think this truck could handle too heavy of a load.

Keep a clear eye on the roads of Syria - you just never know what you might see.


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