# Page:A short guide to Syria (1943).djvu/20

below will give you the approximate rates of exchange of the various mil pieces.

 1 pound (1,000 mils)=\$4.00 U. S.     100 mils=40c U. S 50 mils = 20c U. S. 20 mils=8c U. S. 10 mils=4c U. S. 5 mils=2c U. S. 2 mils=0.8c U. S. 1 mil=½c U. S.

The Moslem Calendar. The official calendar of Syria is the same as ours. It is used for all business transactions. But the Moslems reckon time by a lunar (moon) calendar. So a given date in the Moslem calendar will vary from one year to the next on our calendar. The lunar calendar is of no importance to us except in telling the time when Ramadan will occur. Ramadan is the Moslem Lent, about which you have read earlier in this guide.

Weights and Measures. The metric system is used for all official measurements of distance and area in Syria. The unit of length in the metric system is the "meter" (meet-ur), which is 39.37 inches, or a little more than our yard. The unit of road distances is the "kilometer" (kill-oh-meet-ur), which is 1,000 meters or 5/8 (a little over a half) of one of our miles.

The unit of square measure is the "hectare" (heck-tair), which consists of 10,000 square meters or about 2½ of our acres. A local square measure is the "dunum" (du-num), which is equal to 1,000 square meters or about 1/4 of an American acre.

The unit of weight in the metric system is the "kilogram" (kill-oh-gram), which equals 2.2 pounds in our system. A local measure is the "rotl" (ruhtl). This unit varies from one locality to another. It ranges from about 5½ to 6½ pounds.

Liquids in the metric system are usually measured by the "liter" (lee-tur). A liter is a little more than one of our liquid quarts.

SOME IMPORTANT DO'S AND DON'TS

Don't enter mosques.

Never smoke or spit in front of a mosque.

If you come near a mosque, keep moving and don't loiter.

Keep silent when Moslems are praying and don't stare.

Discuss something else — never religion or women — with Moslems.

Avoid offering opinions on internal politics.

Shake hands with Syrians; otherwise don't touch them or slap them on the back.

Remember that the Syrians are a very modest people and avoid any exposure of the body in their presence.