car number plates collecting

I have a sad collecting hobby to confess.

I like collecting car number plates.   Its started with a visit to the US in 2001 (LA, Las Vegas and Arizona)  so I bought a Nevada state plate from a store on the Las Vegas strip, and progressed onto getting the other states I have been to, and also Florida, New York and New Jersey which I went to in 1998.

They are more fun than collecting stamps as you can hang them on the wall, its just an interesting challenge for a car nut to collect automotive history from different nations.

To look for plates to buy online, you really have to look on ebay Germany’s site, as the UK site doesn’t really have them.  Some people just get the US ones and aim to get all 50 states, after then you can get the Canadian ones and then go for Mexico and southwards.  Here in the UK, almost all large articulated trucks I see delivering things are all foreign, mostly from Poland or Eastern Europe, its sometimes fun on a long journey to spot the more unusual ones, just around were I live and work in Portsmouth and Southampton, I have seen Turkey (letters TR on blue band but not EU logo)  Morocco (white letters on green, no symbols – I think)  Estonia (blue band with letters EST)  and a car seen outside my old house from the Ukraine (UA on pale blue/yellow band)

I only collect the ones from countries I have been to.   My collection is a bit lame as I really only have the easyish ones.    When I went to Iceland on a lads road trip with Ian H, Rich T and Peter O, we got to the gates of a scrap yard near Akureyri only to find the place locked up and close and the piles of stacked cars appeared to have their plates missing.  In a used car spares warehouse in Talpiyot, near Jerusalem, they had car parts neatly labelled on shelves, and stripped out shells of dead cars waiting to be disposed  in a building close to one of my workplace their where I volunteered, when I tried to ask if they would sell me some plates, they refused (although maybe as their English wasn’t good enough) I am guessing in some countries its possibly illegal to buy plates from junk yards, maybe as it could be used for some kind of criminal activity.

Of course the other challenge is car scrap yards in most countries tend to be in fairly dodgy parts of town and therefore going shopping for a plate as a tourist with no much knowledge of the language might be quite unsafe experience.   When I visited Jordan and the Palestinian territories, bringing a plate through checkpoint would be probably land me in lots of trouble so I didn’t want to try that.

Of course particular nice ones to get are often small countries like Monaco (narrow plate with 4 numbers, white or blue with royal diamond emblem)  San Marino (another tiny EU nation popular for motor racing)  Isle of Man (part of UK, but has its own government, plates have red band with three legged Manx emblem) also various different Caribbean nations and some obscure places like Bermuda, Tuvalu etc.   For this reason the more rarer and aesthetically interesting plates might cost 50 Euros or a lot more on ebay like this one.

Some plate design change with the political eras.   Poland and Romania now have the EU logo with the letters PL or RO where as before they had their own flag, or prior to that no symbols at all.

This is my collection, just need to find a wall to hang them up again 🙂

If someone reading this would like to swap, ie: maybe I could source English or Israeli plate as a swap for something I want for my collection,
This is my wish list 🙂

Monaco (ok bit ambitious maybe!)
Finland (blue band with FIN)
Jordan (with blue or green band)
Iceland (later blue letters on white background with IS logo of possible)
Palestinian territories (green on white or white on green)

By Jonathan Posted in me

Bethlehem – journey to birthplace of Christ part III – The pools of King Solomon

Parts 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

After the chapel and the grotto park, the bus took us to another biblical location:-

The pools of King Solomon, there are three of them in fact, some background can be found here.  The bible mentions these in Ecclesiastes 2 It was a nice warm December day and you can imagine this being used as a storage for water which was so precious both back in Old Testament times and also today.    The police drove past in a rather nice new model VW Golf GTI, this vehicle decked in stripes in the usual familiar Palestinian green.  They asked one of the other members of the group to not sit on the wall as they seem quite protective of this ancient site.  (I had already got off the wall by then)   The actual pools are also guarded by fencing, although there is a small abandoned shed inside with graffiti on it.

Almost opposite these buildings there was this strange very new building, presumably built by the Palestinian government, its a conference centre and looks quite nice, but its not finished.   The main structure is all done, but there are no windows, doors or any kind of fittings, the neatly built steps and pathways are covered in weeds.  Its never been used.  I am guessing it was built no earlier that 1990s.  There is no sign of any nearby disturbance or damage, ie: signs of war.   I don’t think Israel is to blame for problems here with this or other PA government buildings.

Found some interesting information on some of PA’s infrastructure.   In preparation for planning to be an independent state, the Palestinian authority have an international telephone code of +970, Israel is +972, but either code can be used to call cities such as Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nabulus, Jericho as the telephone exchanges are still part of Israel, but some Islamic nations (Iran, Syria etc)  bar calls to Israel that have the +972 code, necessitating the +970 code.

It was then back the the coach to take us to the main thing that was centre point to Bethlehem.

Right: Looking out of a large multistorey car park onto Bethlehem’s bus station

Left: Christmas in full swing in a shop inside the multistorey car park.

More soon….

Parts 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

things to do in 2010…

Its now February and haven’t really fully thought about what I want to achieve this year.

Originally not long before I came back to the UK I wanted to get settled in my career and buy my own house, but this is to be shelved as God wants me back in Jerusalem to volunteer for a second season.

1/ Return to Israel and carry over keep the IT systems simple, reliable and effective for a Christian charity in Jerusalem.

2/ Visit sites and learn more about biblical history, not just Israel, I would also like to visit Malta, Turkey and Greece someday.  I am single chap, so I may as well make the most of be flexible to do things, as maybe that might not be so possible in the future.

3/ Spend less time on Facebook as it just eats lots of time, its nice to know what friends are doing and plan events and things but I dont really care about a lot of the extras.

4/ Cook more and learn to do Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian type food.

5/ Learn to deal better with my bank stuff, get money into an account that is better suited for overseas working, as my Lloyds TSB bank account charge loads for using debit card and ATM use.

6/ Get some extra IT qualifications, for this year to better serve my employer and for my future.

7/ Renew friendships with different people both in UK and Israel.   Also going to a wedding of a good friend who is getting married in Spain which I will visit in May.

8/ Get fitter, I am average weight (12 stone) for my 5ft 10 height, and I do a lot of walking, mainly going around town in Portsmouth and Jerusalem, but I get out of breath running, not sure why.   Really its a case of some how do some kind of physio or exercise to get strength back in my arm.

9/ Be better at bible study, I am a lot of below average on biblical knowledge compared to most Christians.

This year has a few sacrifices, I have had to sell my car as its just sitting here and rather let it depreciate in value and find somewhere else to store it again, this is sad as I do really enjoy driving, especially going through the woods to see a friend in Haslemere, close to Guildford, or when I was work driving around the New Forest.  Of course, being away from friends and family is another, but I will home in May for a short time whilst I see my sister as her baby is expected then and the above break in Spain.