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Travel to go (page 2)


These journeys were then unlimited; one did not know to take advantage of or to avoid them those currents of the sea so regular in their walking that our rivers; direction and intensity of winds in every place and every moment of the year were far from being determined as they are today : that is with an almost mathematical precision; one did not know how to avoid neither the regions of calms and one would run a risk, between the tropics to be left in place, still as a cliff, during several months. In all these difficulties of the journey, it was necessary to join formerly the lack of fresh foods … Today one knows how to keep food with as such art that after long journeys they do not almost lose anything of their primitive savor.



On land "excellent news" waited for the passengers: the river Nile having overflowed in the point to cover the railroad from Alexandria to Cairo, it was possible to visit Alexandria, Péluse's ruins and its subterranean mummies, Cléopâtra's monoliths and of Pompey while the load of the steamer was transported on the back of camels up to Suez.


"So, from Alexandria to Cairo, it was necessary to follow a particular route to cross isthmus and to go on the edge of the Nile to the village of KafreZaya's…There, a small steamer had to get back up the river up to Cairo, steered by natives who made noisily but actively their job "… As soon as the sun had abandoned us we slowed down noticeably the speed of the vessel.


It was not easy matter that not to lose the channel, furthermore, one thousand various litter, vegetables, trees, carcasses of wild and domestic animals passed, taken by this vast and wild current … As long as it was daylight, one could not only go with exactness but still avoid striking the steamer against thousand debris transported by the river; we had passed in the day close to gigantic trunks which, alone, weighed maybe more than our vessel and its load and would have been able easily enough to sink us immediately.... Our pilots hurried up in front, the body half tilted outside the vessel, lit with the flame of torches, these half-bare beings, showing a black skin seemed to us fantastic… we watch curiously running away far off and fading gradually in darkness the cause of our first terrors: sometimes it was a mess of trees which formed an immense raft, sometimes a sort of island of which the violence of waters had managed to remove from end of some moor of ground and which, carrying a fragment of forest still fixed on a heap of sheets, humus, roots, followed the stream of the water swirling around …"

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