I keep thinking about the Damascus streets. It’s true the names don’t really matter. It matters more what’s sold in any particular place. So you get the spice street and the animal skins street and the alley where they sell wood burning stoves. That’s Old Damascus, which is part straightened out old buildings. Straight Street where St Paul underwent his conversion to Christianity is like this.
Just behind all this, tourist friendly part, is another Old Damascus, more for people who actually live there. There are kids playing football, many old buildings well on the way to falling down. In among them some Ottoman houses have been renovated.
Elsewhere the huge Four Seasons Hotel, a major landmark, has developed a European style covered plaza complete with coffee shop chains and higher end designer labels. Behind this is an area known as Sha’alan which has Benetton, Kookai, Promod and plenty of coffee and juice bars. In the evening this is full of people out to be seen and see who and what is around.
Walking in between these areas one evening I passed a young child, about ten, sleeping on a footbridge with a selection of sweets laid out for sale on a piece of cardboard in front of her.