Thursday, November 15, 2012

14: Mozambique to Yemen, February 1932

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Arrived at Port Amelia, February 1st, but not allowed to go ashore. Reached Daar-Es-Salaam February 3rd. This means “Haven of Peace” in Arabic. Formerly German East Africa, then British East Africa. Beautiful green palm trees. This is the center of native shipping industry. Arabian dhows sail under many flags from here carrying mangrove bark, copra and other tropical produce. The dhows stop at many lesser ports and creek mouths. Lots of Indians come aboard selling curios of ivory and ebony, also clothing, shawls, wraps and every rubber footwear.

Natives at water hole.  Dar-es-Salaam.  Also Mr. Strutt, So. Rhodesia.
Note paraffin tins (Kerosene).
February 1932

Left Daar-Es-Salaam at 6 a.m. February 4th and arrived at Zanzibar, 48 miles away, at about 11 a.m. It is the most important trade center and the largest city in East Africa. The 640 square mile island and nearby Pemba (380 sq. miles) formed a British protectorate. Population for the whole island in 1921 was: Europeans 270, Swahilis (natives) 165,000, Arabs, 20,000, Indians 15,000, Commorians 3,000. Total 203,270. We saw the sultan’s palace and traversed a maze of cross streets. English church was quite nice, built of coral and cement. Indians and natives of all varieties, most wearing white or red fez. Some lovely dates in the market but they were covered with flies. Also huge bananas. Native boys come on launch near boat and dived for coins.

Talked with a young fellow going back to his father’s farm between Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro*, 9,000 feet above sea level. No winter or summer but a log of rain in winter months. Big game hunters go through in summer he said. Licenses cost up to 100 pounds ($500) for aliens.

Native War Memorial
February 1932

I also stopped briefly at Tanga [Tanzania], then went to Mombassa [Kenya], arriving February 7. Went ashore with another fellow and saw Catholic and English cathedrals with native worshipers. Big oil storage center on north side of island. Saw camels turning a primitive mill for grinding seed for oil. This port had been occupied in past by Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Portuguese. Legal status of slaves not abolished until 1007. We could buy a pineapple, green coconut for its milk and naartjes (tangerines) for cheap prices. Crossed the equator somewhere in that neighborhood.

Fort Jesus
Mombassa, with old tablet
January 1932
[The picture is dated January, but the narrative states February]

Image: Wikipedia

Fort Jesus, Mombassa
Old Harbor
Erected first by Portuguese

Arrived at Aden [Yemen], a majestic sight Sunday February 14. It has great bleak mountainous precipitous barren crags and is part of a wildly distorted volcanic peninsula. It had a population of 56,000 with a fair number of impressive buildings. It was an important trade and coaling station annexed to Great Britain in 1839. Drinking water was distilled from sea water. Arab water cart was an interesting sight. The driver delivered the water in a brass jug. Arab traders and lots of Indians thronged the streets. Lots of goats around. Fish and bundles of green stuff for fodder were hawked about. We viewed at a distance a Parsee burial ground with attendant vultures. Millet in a nearby oasis is reported to grow 12 feet high.

February, 1932

*Around 2006, a son, a grand-daughter, and a grand-son went to Africa and hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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