20 August - When I get up everybody are still sleeping. I decide to wake Husseyn up and leave to attend to my errands in different parts of the city. I pass at the Ommayad Mosque stunningly beautiful in the full morning light. They say one should never go back to a place one liked, in order not to compare the nice memories of the first time with impressions that could not be up to them. It may be sensible advice, but this visit to Damascus has brought back so many memories of ordinary daily things I lived in this mythical city. Maybe I should not consider myself a visitor, because I feel I belong to this place that receives me as one of his sons. I saw the mosque flooded by brighness and in a splendid beauty that touched me; I saw Bab Tuma houses, the buildings climbing up the Qasiun hillside, the flavours, the scents, the corners I know of Damascus…

I take a bus from Baramke to the airport. I couldn't fit in a visit to the barber's, but I make up by shaving in the airport bathrooms. If ever I should feel embarrassed for what I am doing, which is not the case, I could take courage looking at a man beside me washing pots and pans maybe after an airport picnic. I go through relaxed security checks where the officer, while tiredly pretending to search me, shows me the last bit of this people's friendliness, asking me "Kifak?", "How are you?".

I'm sitting next to a Lebanese guy in the plane. He spent his summer in Beirut, unfortunately during the nastiest days of war, marked by destruction and suffering inflicted by the disproportioned reaction of the arrogant power. He talks about it with heartfelt sorrow that a Lebanese can feel for his country. I renew my plan to go there next summer, in Allah rad, to realise the plan I had in mind this year. But I can say that if this trip seemed at first like a makeshift alternative to my original plan, it was nonthelesss a complete success and another extraordinary experience.