Back in 2002 I did my first long haul trip. It was to scuba dive in Vietnam. This blog will be slightly different to my previous blogs as it will mainly feature excerpts from my dive logbook. I flew from Manchester to Paris where I transferred to an Air France flight to Bangkok. On arrival at Don Muang airport all the other passengers got off the plane for an hour but the assistance team took so long coming to get me off that it was time to get back onboard when they arrived. With a new crew we then flew onwards to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon.)
Last week I wrote about my trip to Beirut in Lebanon back in 2003, which you can find here, this week, as promised, I am writing about the day trip I did from there to Damascus in Syria. On the morning I got up very early and took a taxi to the Cola Transport Hub, a major road intersection where you can get buses, taxis or minibuses to destinations in Lebanon and the region. From here I got a bus to Damascus. The bus was just a regular coach and I got myself in the rear entrance and sat in the back row for the whole journey. Travelling through Lebanon we stopped somewhere at a service centre but I didn’t get off the bus, instead the driver brought me a bottle of cold cola.
Way back in 2003 I did a trip to Beirut, in Lebanon, where I spent a week. Because it was so long ago this blog post won’t be as detailed as my usual ones. I went there to scuba dive and did three dives during the week, it was more difficult than my previous dive trips to Egypt, Turkey and Vietnam where it was normal to do two or three dives a day. I flew to Beirut on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, where I spent a night, and then onwards with Middle East Airlines. I chose to go via Istanbul because after Beirut I was to be spending a further 3 weeks scuba diving in İçmeler and then Fethiye on Turkey’s Aegean coast with the European Diving Centre. On arrival I took a taxi to the Hotel Concorde which is situated on Bliss Street not far from the American University of Beirut.