Aboard Shanghai Maru

Tuesday, September 17, 1929

Up at 6:45 and took a rickshaw a couple of miles to the N.Y.K. Wayside Wharf. Third class was not so bad at all. The rooming accommodations were very good in fact. The main deck saloon had some cushioned seats which were about always full of relining energetics. A stairway led with to the dining room, three long tables with benches and one more very low table at which one squatted. All surrounding space was taken up by beds consisting of blankets on the floor. Besides there were four large cabins opening into the dining room. Two large shelves were partitioned off into perhaps 16 bunks. Going down another floor—a large room with blanket-beds in rows along the floor.

Weighing anchor at nine, we slipped down the river. Again the waving crowd on the quay and confetti—a scene that always makes me lonesome. The river banks are taken up with go-downs most of the distance to the small city at the mouth of the swift muddy Whangpoo. There are no hills, only a flat, low green country extending in all directions, broken by occasional houses or trees. The sailboats tacking their way up-stream are very picturesque and graceful. Near the mouth the wide river was especially active with craft of all kinds and several cargo vessels.

The Shanghai Maru was a speedy ship and land soon dropped from sight. As I was having Japanese food, I ate with the rest of the passengers. I was the only white in third. Got along pretty well with the chopsticks. As for the food—you were given a bowl of cooked pumpkin, another bowl empty, to be filled with rice from a wooden bucket of that national food in the center of the table. The third dish contained a cross-section of fish. This menu never varied much. A pot of tea concluded affairs. The rice bowl, when emptied, was the tea cup.

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