Jericho – 2. Jericho’s town centre

This fountain stands in the middle of the square in Jericho.   As it was close to or exceeding 40c today, I really wanted shove my face in it, with lots of people around I decided to be civilized I opted to soak my hat instead.

Right by the fountain, I spotted this old Arabic coffee flask, now this bus service I like, I am not certain, but it seems customers riding on this bus get some Arabic coffee before they hop on.  Even if this at extra cost, I think this is a great idea 🙂

Two things you see in Palestinian cities, butchers shops with mostly whole animals in the windows, and bright yellow taxis with green licence plates.

This logo seems to appear on cars and buildings owned by the Palestinian Authority.   I don’t like this at all, this eagle symbol reminds of another force from history…. Oh never mind.

We took a quick look in this phone and computer accessories shop.  My friend Jeremy wanted to get a case for his iPhone, this shop has these odd looking speakers which seem to be aimed as playback of music from a phone via USB or Bluetooth.  I notice Arab people often play music on their phone in the street, and probably use them to play Islamic prayers and teaching material.  By the way we were here a few days before the start of Ramadan.

The news seems to show all Palestinians as poor, but there is plenty of shops in the main cities like Jericho, Nabulus, Bethlehem, Ramalah and Gaza seem to have all type of businesses selling all the same goods you can find in Israeli cities.

I found the people of Jericho to be extremely friendly, not just the people that were trying to sell us stuff, people outside of shops and fast food places wanted to chat to us as we didn’t look Arab, so it was pleasant to chat to folk that we (well my two friends were on holiday from England, I didn’t mention about my reason for being here) and I didn’t see anyone else obviously foreign.

This particular iPhone 4 case here is distributed by a Palestinian company (you can just about make out the .ps domain address)

Apparently Jericho only has 20,000 people so it is quite a lot smaller than I thought it would be bigger being the oldest city in the world with a consistent population.

Soon! The mount of temptation where Jesus went to pray and fast, and I got to visit an old tree that had could of had some very special significance from the time of Jesus!!

1. Crossing into the oldest city in the world2. Jericho’s town centre3. Church on the cliff4. View of Jericho’s plain –  5. The tree

Jericho – 1. Crossing into the oldest city in the world

Heading to Jericho which is in Palestinian territories is only 40km from Jerusalem, This ancient city is somewhere I had always wanted to visit, and scouring the internet seems to not have much in the way of safety recommendations but seems popular with all kinds of visitors to the holyland, as some good friends from the UK were over it was a good chance to take a jolly over and investigate the oldest still inhabited city in the world….

After driving through an Israeli checkpoint, no action is needed as you only get ID’ed on the way out, so its just a case of driving slowly past a kiosk, a bit further is another checkpoint, just some concrete barriers and two soldiers from the Palestinian government who just asked for passport from my friend who was driving.

This picture was taken some distance away, and this is the best zoom I could do, as for obvious reasons I don’t want to be found taking pictures of any kind of checkpoint crossing anywhere!!   Seeing uniformed soldiers with their lapels in Arabic with Palestinian symbols was quite scary for a minute there!

I came to the city trying not to have any preconceived ideas, I have been to Bethlehem and passed through a few small Palestinian towns and also visited Arab Israeli cities like Nazareth and Akko.

This corner shop was the first business we came to.   CocaCola is a brand you find everywhere in the world, especially in this corner of the world and I remember somewhere, one of the Arab nations were trying to make an equivalent Cola drink for the middle east market.

This part of the West Bank is quite odd, there are old and new parts of Palestinian society together.   For instance, there are run down looking houses, factories and farms, and there are large overhead gantries over the main road advertising technology and home furnishing trade conventions.

This sign is for Jawwal, a Palestinian mobile phone operator.

This concrete wall, isn’t a separation barrier, or any kind of border, seems to be a fortified car park for police vehicles, it does look unfinished with unrendered concrete looking like just as a imposing as the wall I see next to Bethlehem about 3-4 miles from my house.  Maybe its inspired by the ancient walls of Jericho…

Next: to Jericho’s city centre!

1. Crossing into the oldest city in the world2. Jericho’s town centre3. Church on the cliff4. View of Jericho’s plain –  5. The tree