We retraced our route, then took the road to Jericho. Passed a checkpoint and showed our passports, although they were not taken to be perused. We were now entering a Palestinian-governed area. Jericho is an oasis town that Marc Antony once gave to Cleopatra. Antony’s vassal, King Herod, had to lease the land back from Cleopatra. Jericho is green, with groves of tall date palms, banana plantations, orange groves, bougainvillea, papaya trees, etc.
|Date palm plantation|
It predates the invention of pottery. Human bones dated to the Neolithic period (Late Stone Age, 6500-7800 BC). It is not known why they would have needed a wall. There was also a moat and retaining wall from about the year 2000 BC.
|Wall from 2000 BC|
|View towards the city of Jericho|
Across the parking lot, Tom and Dot led us to the Temptation Restaurant for dinner, the one for which we had to save space. Tom and Dot were known by the owner, both for working with the American Consulate and for bringing all their guests here. The owner had his son take us up to a table on a balcony overlooking the wall mosaic and fountain of the restaurant.
|Inside Temptation Restaurant|
|Kent and Tamiko at the Temptation Restaurant|
|Dot and Tom at the Temptation Restaurant|
When we were more than full, they brought out the desserts. There were two sorts of honey-rolled baklava-type pastries, one with a creamy layer and both stuffed with pistachio nuts (bourma pastries). Kent and Tom had Turkish coffee with a quarter inch of silt at the bottom of the handle-less cups. A waiter came with a bill that was just 200 written on a slip of paper. We managed to give the waiter a 200 NIS bill, so that the Ls did not have to pay, although they left a 50 NIS tip. Even with a generous tip, it came to only about $20 per adult!
We went downstairs to explore the gift shop and decided to get some souvenirs, since we did not know when we would have the chance again. A shopkeeper kept close to us, rearranging nearby displays. We went up and down the aisles and eventually lost this guy. Another man brought me a basket since I was juggling a few items, and suddenly there were several employees waiting on us. One told us the boss said we could get a 30% discount on anything, because we were friends! Oh, boy! We did pick out a couple more things than we would have. We asked Tom and Dot if they wanted anything, and they only wanted a tiny paper Palestinian flag. I reached to get one, and an employee got another and gave it to me. Kent went to look for a larger Palestinian flag, but what they had was too big. They added up our purchases of four mud packs, one mud soap, a souvenir package of vials of olive oil, water and earth from the Holy Land, and five pins of flags and the Jerusalem cross. The total was $51, discounted to about $35, but all I had were shekels. The man said ‘110,’ then to just to give him 100. I had figured it was about 112 NIS and tried to give him 110, but he would not take it. He also had not charged for the little flags, never mind that big chocolate bar for Brynne! We were told to wait a moment, and he reached under the table to get a couple handfuls of samples of Dead Sea mud, moisturizers, gels, etc. We felt showered by generosity! We were accompanied out the door by the group of employees, and we thanked them profusely.
Outside at the fruit market, I asked about the fruit that is supposed to be in season now, the pomelo (a large citrus fruit related to the grapefruit). Dot had mentioned they were expensive, but I was willing to get one. The employee here picked one up and presented it to Dot, his “love.” We tried to pay for it, but were told it was a gift. The head waiter came out to give Brynne a package of raisins. Now thoroughly laden, we finally left saying goodbye to the owner, some of his sons, and many employees! Dot was enthusiastic in her congratulations to them in Palestine. Back in the car, we drove back to Jerusalem without incident. We could see some of the Bedouin tents were lighted from within, thanks to a generator. But many more remained dark.
When we arrived at the Ls, Tom and Brynne were anxious to open gifts. We figured we would not be around Christmas morning to exchange gifts, so we went ahead and did it now.
|Brynne and Tom|
|Brynne and Dot|
|Brynne with the|
|"Brynne's room" at Tom's and Dot's|
Next: Nazareth and Sea of Galilee.