Temples to the Gods, promanades, graceful carved scrolls, spaces which had enclosed shops along the walkways, staircases, and all the architecture one would expect from an ancient Roman city.
Mosaics and wildflowers. There were scarlet poppies and irises and hollyhocks among the yellow blossoms which dominated the landscape, wreathing the city in a garland of exuberant spring.
Groups of Arab youths were going around in groups separated by gender, and many of them had brought drums to accompany frequent and seemingly spontaneous bursting into song and dance. Often call-and-response verses and steps that everyone seemed to know.
The leader of the group pictured above is the one with his red-and-white checked keffiyeh (headscarf) in the middle; he waved it around as he cavorted back and forth between the others in lines who held each others' hands and danced and sang back to him.
In the South Theatre amphitheatre there were Arab bagpipers playing, amusingly, Yankee Doodle and Scotland the Brave, to demonstrate the excellent acoustics. They couldn't quite hit the high notes but they were united in being almost exactly half a step down when they stretched for them.
Every time I have seen the seemingly innocuous combination of Arab and bagpipe I have enjoyed the novelty of the whole idea. Fresh out of coins, I threw some paper Dinar in their bucket, something I noticed few of the tourists who had crowded in to get their photos taken marching with the bagpipers during their performance did. Huh.
Bethy and a couple in the South Theatre, the woman showing only her hands and eyes. We have gotten entirely used to this style of dress and barely even notice anymore, except in making an effort not take their photographs...in anything but a sneaky fashion, that is.
The kids did extrordinarily well with being dragged all over for hours under a bright sun. Thomas got his arm stuck down into a hole in the Colonnaded Street, the main thoroughfare, and needed prying out, and fell more than once, leaping from one abbreviated column to the next or toppling off of unbalanced stones. Quote of the day from Thomas: "I want to climb on the ruins!"
Neither child plunged to certain doom off high walls despite several good opportunities for such an end. A theme for parenthood in the Middle East...try to notice such things as there really are no safeguards. Both kids posed uncomplainingly for innumerable photographs, mostly taken by fellow tourists.
Which I then paid for. Sheesh.
Well, at least Bethy got heart bread.
It had been another long day, full to the brim with new experiences.