4.12.2012

An afternoon in Jaffa



I love Milt's days off..we get to explore Israel together.

Jaffa is a small city within Tel Aviv..the Old city it's called, and rightly so. History says that it is, ".. one of the ancient port cities on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Old Jaffa is built upon a cliff, at the foot of which the ancient port stretches out, protected by a rocky reef. Tradition says that the city was established after the Flood, and that Japheth, son of Noah, was the eponymous founder." [http://www.artmag.com]

Israel is still celebrating the Passover this week so there was a festive bustle of families, especially in the Flea Market.
Loads of textiles and hookahs and trinkets that look imported from China, but it's a fun atmosphere and if you know what you want its an interesting market place.

I spotted a fabric table runner and when the shop owner saw me touch it he began his pitch. Hand crafted of course. He pushed a piece of paper at me with his price written on it. 300. I said no, I was just looking. He pushed the paper and pencil at my hand and said what would I pay? I really didn't want the runner but I'm still unaccustomed to these aggressive selling techniques. I took the pencil and wrote down 50. To my surprise he agreed. When I handed him a 50 sheckel note he was furious. "Are you crazy?!" he shouted. Yes, apparently I am. All I can guess is that he had been speaking in US money terms and I was assuming we were talking Israeli nis. 50 nis is roughly 15.00 US. Which is why I was so surprised that he agreed to my price that was so far below what he had asked!
Since Jaffa is such a tourist attraction I guess many of the shop owners are used to selling in US currency.




Part of the charm of Old Jaffa are the old narrow medieval streets with the towering walls of ancient masonry that rise far above your head. There's a haunting air of the old world, and I can only imagine what these walls have seen. These days this area houses an artsy collection of boutique style shops, art galleries and small gift stores.
I day dreamed myself into one of the small alley shops selling jewelry and my handmade glass beads. mm delicious dream.




.. speaking of delicious.
Of course, there are an assortment of small seaside cafes...seafood, the ever present falafel [deep fried chick pea] and toast [panini]..We chose one and sitting outside amidst the hub we ate our lunch. I had a Vietnamese salad. Thinly julienned cucumber, carrots, radish, all the peppers..green yellow red, sprouts sitting on top skinny rice noodles with a salty sweet vinaigrette. Very good.
Milt had something completely adventuresome. Grilled grain sandwich with peppers, balkan cheese and..hold onto your hat..sweet potato. He liked it so I tried a bite..Surprisingly good!



Below is a view of one of the largest mosques in Jaffa..most of what you see here was built in 1812 during the Ottoman period.


This fountain marks Kedumim Square which sits in the center of the hill of Old Jaffa. Beneath the Square lie archaeological excavations which yielded findings from the ancient Egyptian, Philistine and Hasmonean periods. The signs of the zodiac encircle the fountain.

We thought it made a good back drop for the couple shot of the day.