A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Stealing a page from the past…

alo alo
Before the advent of a hot cellphone market, there was “Alo”.
“Alo” is no more, but a lot of “Alo” phonebooths remain standing as a rather humorous tribute to the ephermerality of time- “Yeah, we don’t work no more and we haven’t worked for years, and most of us are as banged up as hell, but hey, look, we stay.”


حواديت كأس العالم


World Cup Fever


  1. heh yes there was also JPP remember those? they died faster than Alo, and their booths also :)

  2. JPP, pronounced “jeib” :)
    Back in the day, my gf used to use those to page me…

    The booth you have in the pictrue is in surprisingly mint condition.

    In any case, no advancement in communications will take the place of good old out loud yelling “WALAK AHMAAAAAAAAAAAD! IMMAK BID DAR NIJY ANA W IM MA7MOOD NISHRAB 3INDHA FINJAN 2AHWEIIIH?”

  3. Anonymous

    You know these are still useful if the area you are in is exceptionally noisy. Stick you head in there and chat on your cell phone without the annoying sounds of passing cabbies or general shabab hubub interrupting your converstation. You heard it here first!

  4. And they provide real anonymity :) Caller ID … will not work

  5. Great! I miss those Alo phonebooths,
    they used to save my life when I missed the bus in school!

    “Hey, ma3ak betaqett Alo?”

    I have a friend who keeps a bunch of them with the different designs. I would love to rip them off one day! hehe

    Surprisingly, I didn’t officially use the Red telephone booth here! I will one day, and GET PHOTOGRAPHED! LOL

  6. Wait I dont get it. Is this a phone booth where you pay to use the Phone?

    I heard about those things ;)

  7. Linda,
    well you have to insert some sort of card with a little chip. Not coins…

  8. Vas

    Roba… you reminded me of my first call back home, when i first arrived in jordan 5 years ago. Friday morning from an Alo booth. According to the instructions of the “Lonely Planet” guide. I kept the card, and the impression neat and clear.

  9. If anything, the remaining Alo & JPP booths are a living example of corporate failure & greediness (JTC cutting them off after a dispute), lack of enforced regulating guidelines (at the time) and (most notably) the overall recklessness of the masses & their inherent deficiency of discharging their frustration upon objects that are there to serve them… It won’t bring back Palestine or lower fuel prices if you decide to spit in every other public-phone speaker or jam the card slot!

  10. i used to vandalize those when i was a kid hahaha

  11. Now this is taken on campus, right roba, we also have some in our campus that are still in perfect condition… you wont find any on the streets, cause even those that resisted were removed by the cities’ municipalities later on.

    hehe, and yes, i used to collect Alo cards as well..

    By the way, alo cards are still sold!

    Yes, here in Jordan!

    Irbid Municipality bought Alo’s Autopark machines, they have a computer software that charges those cards and they still sell them for people in order to use them in the autopark, u can park ur car in irbid’s downtown without one even!

    of course they reuse cards, this explains why the cards sold in irbid still have the ALO logo on them :P
    Jordanian Creativity

  12. THat’s actually at the Royal Cultural Center ;)

  13. Roba, You brought back some really nice memories with this post. Thank you :)

    I wonder is anyone remembers the even older payphones that used to take “bareezeh”? They had one at JU in the post office next to the “square” and it always had a long line of people waiting to use it:)

    Those were the days.

  14. LotusGem


    I remember those phones. There was a special move/flick with the coin that you had to do to get them to work.

    It wasn’t uncommon that someone would be frustrated trying to get the bareezih to work, only to leave and spare me the the time I have to spend waiting for his/her phone call. *Its all in the wrist baby*

    I wish I could dig up some typical-happy-nostalgia about the Alo phones but I cannot. I remember they were horrible, often malfunctioning and overcharging, and overpriced when they did work at all.

    There are times, however, when they saved my *** when barely catching that special someone to tell them that we are no longer meeting in *I cannot remember the name of that italian place in shmesani*.

    Anyways, I am really surprised they still exist. I will try to find one and take a photo of me taunting it with my cell.

  15. That Italian place in Shmesani was “Milano” I think.

  16. Why did I have a feeling it was Mamma Mia?
    Where’s Milano?

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