Tall And True Short Reads

The Al-Rabie Hotel

Episode 12 (25 January 2021)

The photograph is gloomy, and the colours are fading. But it was twenty-five years ago. I’m sitting in the high-ceilinged inner courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Old Damascus, catching up my travel journal. My wife calls out from the first floor. I stop writing, look up and wave for the camera.


The Al-Rabie Hotel

Show Notes

Season One: Episode 12 (25 January 2021)

The Al-Rabie Hotel is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead.

Read the story: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-al-rabie-hotel.

Read Syrians Love Peace: https://tallandtrue.com.au/travel/syrians-love-peace.

Podcast website: https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com

Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

Story Insight

The Al-Rabie Hotel is the short story I wrote in November 2020 for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly Furious Fiction writing competition. For November, the 500-word story:

  • Had to take place at a HOTEL
  • Include a PHOTOGRAPH

I was working on a travel piece when the brief arrived, based on ten days I spent backpacking in Syria in 1995. In addition to my travel journal from that period, I had pulled out photos to use in the piece. And one was of me sitting in the courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Damascus.

My journal had an entry about meeting a well-travelled American in the hotel courtyard, whom I’d described as a “know-all”. But I’d also noted we had a good conversation when I steered it towards “subjects on which he had knowledge as opposed to those where he had an opinion”.

There was also an entry about another traveller who had offered to write a letter for me to give a hotel manager in Amman, Jordan, to claim a book he’d left for safekeeping.

I used the photo and journal entries to create a mystery short story set in the Al-Rabie Hotel. As for the words from the brief, did you hear them in the story? Here’s a tip: I used each word once.

I’ll leave it to your imagination what Klaus’s envelope may have contained. However, it’s worth mentioning, the black market and security forces were ever-present during my time in Syria in 1995.

I hope you enjoyed your short stay at the Al-Rabie Hotel. You can read the short story and my travel piece on Syria, Syrians Love Peace, at TallAndTrue.com.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to listen to earlier short stories.

Don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. And please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it on your favourite listening app.

Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound Effects

Royalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.

Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:

Production Notes

Tall And True Short Reads is produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.

Podcast episodes are recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the land of the traditional custodians of the Eora Nation.

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