My neighbourhood, rain and towers of noise

I noticed after prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu avoided making any compromises on land after pressure from Obama in recent meetings last week, the next day it rained here in Jerusalem.  🙂 No trivial thing when water is precious here and four or five months can go with absolutely no rain at all.

On Saturday I went walking around my neighbourhood, my house is close to an Arab town of Al Sawahira, as after looking on Google maps I can see my flat is right on the 1949 Armistice line.  Yep you guessed it, I live next to the Palestinians.  From a brief look around, there’s not been any signs of unrest here, seems people generally live together ok.  When walking out and about in this street on Saturday, people seemed pretty friendly, perhaps a little surprised to see a foreigner there.

Looking out of my bedroom I can see in the distance this scrap metal yard in the distance.   Standing 100 yards away, here in the foreground you can some fruit trees which don’t appear to be affected by any chemicals that’s quite likely to seep out of waste metal products.  Recycling and caring about environmental impact isn’t a high priority here in the middle east.

Here you can see one of the minarets, these are Islamic prayer towers that give off this terrible noise that have often woken me up (like when I was in Jordan in December in a hotel right next to one)  as this one is at least 1km away, its not too noisy.

I like this picture as if you take a closer look you can see the rather grey cloud surrounds this tower but the weather is bright and clear in the distance 🙂

On day 2 of my return to Jerusalem I was walking through the Peace Park Promenade which is 1.5km in the other direction, and the voices from the towers started up, the blackbirds which were singing nicely in the trees in the park suddenly stopped and standard making their frightened “ping-ping-ping” sound like when a cat comes near them.   When you think that animals and birds usually get used to man made noise that regularly appears near them like trains, its funny that the Blackbird one of God’s most vocally talented birds doesn’t like the minarets either.

Accidental archaeology

I was walking through part of the old city with this Irish priest I got chatting to the sunday before last.

I took a shortcut through the centre of the old city, up the steep edge of the south side of the city

These interesting bits of pottery were just spotted loose within the grass.  Don’t know how old they are or from what period (Byzantine, Ottoman, British Mandate?) of who was in Jerusalem at that time.  I put them on the wall to photograph and put them back from someone else to discover afterwards.

Click on the picture for a bigger view, if you can identify any of the markings please do comment.

Who is Steve’s Packs? The famous business in Jerusalem that isn’t online

Steve’s Packs Jerusalem is quite a famous business, for one thing I have seen the merchandise, rucksacks and outdoor gear with the instantly recognisable sun logo sewn on the UK, so its a famous enough brand I have seen all over the place, and a label that should be popular with Kibbutzniks and young Israelis who like to go traveling around the world after they have done their mandatory army service.

But since last year, the web site leads nowhere, its dead.  But you can become a fan of Steve’s on Facebook, and the internet has a fair number of people asking similar things like me.

I went looking for a backpack last year and looked for the Steve’s shop in Hillel street in central Jerusalem, but couldn’t find it, so ended up buying a generic dark green rucksack from some other outlet which both the plastic fasteners on the straps broke whilst out on a expedition into the desert.  Meh. 😦

Later I found out the shop has moved to another part of the city, so I wished I got one of the famous bright yellow logo products from there now.  Looks far cooler than these wannabe surfer/snowboarder type brand name type outdoor brands I see back at home.

So here is the famous Steve’s Packs store, its just off Ben Yehuda Street, about half way down on the left.

So Steve, if you are watching this, please say hi and tell us about you and how you started your outdoor supplies shop which is shrouded in mystery, and please get your web site up and running. 🙂