My time in Syria was brief, as part of a single combined trip with Jordan. The UK had no diplomatic relations with the country at the time and it was regarded as a pariah state. Quite the opposite of what we found, a country full of antiquity and tradition, of hospitality and decency toward strangers.
From outside the hotel traffic noise begins to filter into my mind around 6.30am, though I’d known of and had felt people moving through the city all night, sporadically waking and sleeping in time with passing truck horns. It seemed that it took until this time of the morning for the air horns, cycle bells, mendicants cries to reach a critical level of continuous cacophony that would remain at that level until around 11 that night. Some cities are said to never sleep, but Madras does sleep, although never long enough in my humble opinion.