Port Said, Egypt

Sunday, February 24, 1929

Saturday was cloudy and cool. I took a long walk up the beach about three miles and then out on the breakwater a half-mile. There were several boats in, the New York, German, and two large Britishers. A Moslem whose name is Houda asked me to dinner today. This is the month all Moslems must fast from 6AM to 6PM. Thus I had to eat alone. Had his leg shot off in the war. Like many other people over here, he dislikes the English and says that soon a big war will come along and the Egyptians will drive out the British. He told my fortune also. It seems as though I am going to India soon, but will get a letter from home upon reaching there that will make me return home at once due to trouble in the family over me. Wherever I go I shall have luck and shall soon be rich after I get home and soon be married. The coffee cup refused to reveal more. As I suspected, part of what the health officer told me about these ugly scars on the men’s cheeks was bunk or at least not what I was after. These big gashes distinguish a man as belonging to a certain class, family, and village in the Sudan.

There are four large vessels in today, all bound for Europe; the Cathay [P&O, bombed and sunk in 1942] and Norvada are British, the Pilsna is Italian, and one up the Canal taking oil. It rained this morning and since has been alternately sunny and cloudy.

Yesterday I saw another Moslem funeral procession, some two hundred strong. Near a hundred and fifty men and boys walking, the wooden coffin carried on two long poles supported by some of the men. Five wagon-loads of women brought up the rear. All in black with their features covered by their mandeels, they sat dangling their feet over the sides of the flat wagons. One Moslem sang sort of a chant and every twenty seconds or so the rest would chant the chorus.

These people are terrible bike riders, always falling off, bumping into each other or a pedestrian. One just now put a nick in a pedestrian’s fender. A big argument and crowd resulted. The other day a boy hit a little girl but didn’t hurt her; and two days ago three came together on the corner in spite of the cop who directs occasional traffic. Riders sprawled in all directions. As unusual, another scrap on the corner, but better than usual because the Moslem wanted to kill the woman, or the man, he was fighting with. Three cops interfered and one had a shaking match with “Vicious” in which both lost their hats. Mostly this “now you push me” stuff with plenty of hot air.

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