Had an amusing moment at Palmyra when visiting the tower tombs. Only two are open, and you have to turn up at specific times to get in. So we duly turned at 0830 and waited for the doors to open. There were some very enegetic selllers of scarves, jewellery and postcards around so I stayed in the car while Issy and Helen got out to wander round. They came back in a few minutes and said: we've just been talking to some American tourists, and they say you have to get tickets in advance from the museum in Tadmor. As Tadmor was about ten minutes drive away and the museum was very unlikely to be open, I suggested we spoke to the man on the door when he arrived. Which we did, and he cheerfully took our money and let us in. Issy bumped into one of the American ladies later, who was very put out that we had got in without tickets, quite rude in fact. Issy, who can hold her own with anyone, told her mischievously that their guide must have misinformed them. We had the impression that they wanted their experience to be extra special, and didn't want to think anyone could just wander in and get the same thing - without a ticket!
Interestingly, as we were leaving the second tomb, I found the crowd of sellers around us getting a bit too much. So I said "hallas, habib" (that's enough, mate) to one of them, and the whole atmosphere changed. Very sorry, where are you from (Damascus), very sorry, etc. I think there is an unspoken deal that foreigners are fair game, but locals - which I sort of am - get left more or less alone. On which happy note we left Palmyra and headed back to town.