Journey to Suez

Posted: December 1, 2014 by saraherhodes in 1914

We are just steaming into Suez.  It is a nice sunshiny morning, but an icy wind is blowing.  Suez is a typical eastern town, on the left hand shore are precipitous jagged mountains, and on the right there is the desert-flat wastes of sand.  There are big oil tanks, houses, palm trees, and wells, all mixed up together.

The houses are of white stone, two or three stories high with little windows dotted about – all have flat roofs.

The wells are immense affairs, with the old style of wooden upright, with a lateral sliding boom, and a weight to balance the bucket.

All our chaps were vaccinated last Sunday, and are just beginning to feels their arms.  I escaped as I was done twelve months ago. Some of them have gone through a variety of stages now.  Stagnation, intoxication, inoculation and vaccination.

I believe we are going through the Canal tonight, the sentries are to be served with ball ammunition, in case we are fired on by the Turks.  Every boat has a search light to play on the banks as we are going through.

The H.M.S .”Hampshire” took six tales from us today for her German prisoners – she must have a good number.

The entrance to the Canal is fairly wide, and protected by a break-water, the canal proper is about twenty yards each side wider than the ship.  The banks are built up with clay into two walls, a boat pulled close to one side to allow us to pass, she was only about six feet from the bank, so the banks must be just about perpendicular.

All along the Canal you can see little squads of Shiks or Goorkas acting as outposts and sentries.

The natives are a totally different type to those we have seen so far, much finer looking, and very picturesque in their gaily flowing robes. Some of the Shiks were busy sharpening  their big curved Tulwars.  We saw an Arab family on the move.  The man was leading a camel on which all his household furniture, and his wife and child were piled.  The man dressed very like a nun, in a black robe with a hood, and veiled from the eyes down.

Between the towns, the country is the essence of dreariness.  Big wastes of sand, only relieved here and there by a few trees.  In some instances the country is swampy, covered with tufts of reeds.

We entered Port Said this morning.  It was what you might call a triumphant entrance.  We were the 22nd boat through, and all the other transports were lined up in the stream, and we were cheered to the echo as we passed by.  The harbor was packed with ships, French and English.



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