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Friday, May 19, 2006

Ayn Al Jawzat

Exactly 20 years ago, Ayn Al Jawzat at the village Sa’een became my favorite restaurant. It’s owned and managed by a very nice guy by the name of Majed. “Ayn Al Jawzat” is my refuge in times of joy and trouble. To drive to Sa’een you have to be really hungry. Although it’s only 20 km east of Tartous, the final 8 are a serpentine road twisting down a deep valley. The road is not for the faint of heart. If two cars are to meet, one of the drivers has to have the sense to completely stop and give the right of way to the other. Once you are there, however, the owner will personally welcome you at the front door near the spring. When it’s cold, he will gladly light up a fire for you. Comes summer, you will be lead outdoors, to a table in the shade of the giant Walnut tree (hence the name Ayn Al Jawzat = Spring of the Walnut Trees) The food is good, the service great and the price very decent. Now, don’t go expecting to find a 5-star joint. You go there, because you are a simple human being who happens to love to feast on a delicious Mezza , drink a Batha (1/4 liter) of homemade Arak and listen to Melhem Barakat. When you feel you’re halfway through the Mezza, ask for Farrouj 3al Fahem (Chicken on Coal: how about that for a translation!). For your sweet tooth, end it on a high note with a piece of Hreesse and a cup of coffee and stay there for an additional half an hour. Enjoy the stillness, feel the buzz and just plain fuck it all.

Driving Directions: from Tartous, drive east on the Dreikish road. Pass Bmalke (12 km) and continue for another 6 km. There is a fork in the road about 2 km out of Bmalke, ignore it and continue straight (don’t go left yet). Just when you reach a village by the name of Hbabe and near some large trees, look for a road forking to the left sharply, take it and drive for 2 km down the steep valley until you get to Sa’een. Ask anyone where Majed is. Enjoy your meal.
Yeah, one more thing, you can tell Majed that Abufares had sent you :-)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Abu Fares,

Can you post some picture? Or at least take some when you go there next time. Thank you.

Abu Sam

abufares said...

Most of my pictures taken at Ayn Al Jawzat are of people. Next time I go there, I promise to take some and publish them in my Flickr.

Mirzade said...

abou feras i can promis that next time i am in syria i WILL go there
i love syria more then anywere
May

Mirzade said...

aboufares sorry!!
May

abufares said...

Thanx for reading my babble May. I took a look at your blog and I love it.

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to see these pics and other from the beautiful Syrian coast.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to start reading your stuff - I'm an american. I was actuallly in Damascus almost a year ago. It was really hard for me. I didn't know anyone. I was studying Arabic - that's why I was there but no one really said anything to me - they would rarely talk. That was hard and a little lonely. I don't really blame anyone maybe if I was there a little longer it might have been different. But my point isn't that it's that it's really nice to read a blog in English from an average Arab guy. Especially as a woman - I feel like I get a little into Syrian society that I wouldn't even if I was there.

Thank you,

Amy

abufares said...

Dont worry Amy. When I go to Damascus nobody talks to me either :-)
My first year in the US was very similar to your experience in Syria. Eventually, the ice was broken, but I remember that it took the smallest of initiatives on my part. If you're ever in this part of the world again, take the last step and come on over to Tartous. Just let me know you're here

Anonymous said...

That's reassuring. :)