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Travel to go (page 5)


Then, it is navigation in Red Sea : "If it is the terror of the passengers because of the high temperature they meet there, it is also the terror of the sailors because of the winds which they do not meet there… but if a steamer experiences the agonies which I have just described, are not they little thing by comparison with those that sail boats sometimes have to withstand on the Red Sea? Those are indeed completely at mercy of whimsical and warm breezes of this area and we did not stop finding happy when our steamer went next these unfortunates sailboats which, maybe for weeks, still on this blue and glittering mirror of the sea, seemed inlaid as in a solid mass; these unfortunates vessels turned sometimes on themselves as if they had wanted to look on the horizon for the sign of the breeze. I stayed later, in my turn in this position and it is necessary there to have been through to understand all the horror of it: This Dead Sea which surrounds you, this immovable atmosphere which weighs on you, this burning sun which roasts you at its ease, the non-working sailors which boredom makes silent and glum. All the time, the look searches the horizon and the languid sail which beats air stupidly in every breath of the sea; but all the nature seems sleepy and days succeed to days in this unbearable position …"

As soon as it left this Red Sea, the vessel steers up towards Aden:

"That is right Arabia and its deserts! sand everywhere, no water, and any greenery. Some wooden houses come from England were raised up on these dunes; they are now hotels, general stores where the Englishman, as everywhere makes an active business, and, as everywhere, feeds on tea, on coffee, on gin and of salt-beef … From Aden to Ceylon, our crossing was made still with a magnificent sea and in a pleasant atmosphere. It was in the morning when we arrived in this big green island… this admirable tropical vegetation which my eyes perceived for the first time seemed to us all the more luxurious as we had just left more sorrowful sites. "

Before being called Ceylon then Sri Lanka, this island was named Serendy so that word: serendipity evokes at present the idea of a discovery as happy as unexpected, which it was for the navigators who unwillingly discovered it….

"It was with a sort of sensual delight that we went through the campaign any sparkling with sun, luxuriant of life, flowers, flavors; we plunged into this mess of greenery; we penetrated under these clumps of trees whose big height our eye In Aden, we had already left those of our companions which went either in Bombay, or in Maurice and in Reunion; here, we leave a bigger number of passengers, those who go to Calcutta, to China and to Japan; but we had had time to tighten our relations and it is not without a certain regret that we say to each other "goodbye" hoping that the coincidence which joined us together once will recur.

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