How will I be treated as an American?

Warm WelcomePeople in the Middle East are excellent at distinguishing between the actions of a government and those of an individual. No matter what country you’re from, the first rule of hospitality in the Middle East is that of kindness to visitors.

An American in Syria“The hospitality here is so amazing that when I walk into a store everybody inside stops their business and welcomes me to Syria. No joke! This happens everywhere I go –in the buses and taxis, walking down the sidewalk, and in all the stores, restaurants, and internet cafes. The Syrians are so intent on improving their inaccurate reputation as bad people that they find it their duty to impress travelers with overwhelming kindness. Sure, they are nice to each other, but as an American I receive special status. Hey, I’m not complaining!” Read more on Tyson’s website

If anything, as an American you may receive special attention because so few Americans come to this part of the world. It’s common for people to ask you about your politics, sometimes in the form of the question “George Bush. Good or bad?” but these are not usually attempts to start an intense debate and it’s easy to change the topic.

“We don’t like American politics but we don’t like our own government either,” one Iranian told us as we were served tea and sweets in his home.

You certainly don’t need to worry about being shot in the streets because someone has mistaken you for being American or any similar scare stories that family and friends may like to tell you.

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