Friday, December 28, 1928

Still here. Xmas morning I climbed into the parade dress and went to the Scottish Presbyterian Church where I sang all the hymns. After the service the Rev. I. BrownSmith [perhaps Rev. John Brown Smith, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church] and his wife invited me to coffee the following evening. Returning to the hotel, I opened my presents and mail. My check and 25 extra clinkers from Mother and Dad, and a big box of cookies, candy, figs, and stuffed dates. Also an Xmas tree and a stocking full of candy. Dudie sent 5 berries and Dick Huggard a dandy pocket-knife. Jean’s box was a surprise. Some plenty good-looking golf socks from her; a nice pair of gloves from Bobby, something I have been too dumb to buy for myself for the last two or three months and much needed, even here, in the winter. Deedie Mama sent me some pretty handkerchiefs. Had a letter and card from Grandmother Mac, a letter from Dad, Eleanor, and Bob Lewis and a card from Harry Fitzgerald, Sis Sullivan, and Frances Huggard. And such mushy cards!!! Lots of devilment going on in Columbus and something rotten in Denmark besides.

For lunch the same 7-course endurance test and for dinner soup, eggs, fish, steak, french frieds, peas, turkey, boiled spuds, coffee, and cake and cakes. In the afternoon I walked around a bit. The soldiers were having a good time and many were all dressed up in crazy costumes. I took a picture of a couple, talked a while, and went on, soon to meet a soldier and sailor who saw my kodak and wanted their picture taken. Both had indulged too heavily in Xmas cheer and were so comical that I crashed through with a picture. The soldier was very talkative and was going to do lots for me. Wanted to show me through the hospital. Said I would be unexpected but welcome. I couldn’t let him be so kind to me, though.

In the evening and all through the night it was more like Halloween. Gangs parading up and down the street yelling and singing. Lots of street fights, etc. They have an affair here they use to make noise and accompany their singing that isn’t at all musical, but it is not unpleasant to hear. Sounds something like a primitive war drum. It is a clay urn, but instead of the regular bottom, one of a parchment membrane through which a slender bamboo stick is worked up and down like a piston. [It’s called a zambomba.] The day was nice and a little cloudy.

Wednesday most everything was closed so I spent most of the day on the other side of this big razor-back and on the beach. In the eve I went out for coffee. Had a very nice visit.

Thursday morning I went up to the Lower Galleries with a guide from the hotel. Guides are required. The lower galleries don’t take you far up, but that is all that is permitted. The walk is practically all through a big tunnel cut through the solid rock in 1789 and thereabouts. The tunnel leads up at a fairly steep angle. At intervals are holes through to the outside for the guns. Only a few old ancient guns are in this part now to appease the many tourists. But 400 soldiers are at Gibraltar now and somewhere in the rock is a supply of food sufficient to withstand a siege of ten years.

On my way back, I stopped to see the American Consul, Mr. Sprague. He is very nice and called up a passenger line to see if I could get a job, but n.g. I then went to several agencies and shipping companies, but not much luck. I could have had 3rd-class passage to Port Said on a passenger boat for £11, but it is too much. Most of the freights want £22 to £25 to Alexandria 1st or 2nd class. One line has a deck passage for a little over £4 to Alexandria and if I can’t get a job or do better, I’ll probably take that. I will have to wait, though, till about the middle of January. Deck passage promises to be lots of fun, especially if it is cold or rainy. Have to live on the deck for ten days and carry your own food. One stop en route, at Malta in four or five days.

At three I took a boat for Tangiers and arrived after dark at six-fifteen. Got in a good hotel, English, for 8 pesetas dinner and breakfast. The Hotel Cavilleon on the Big Market. Took a walk before dinner. Started into one of these darned mosques but only got inside the outside door for everybody in the shops across the busy street yelled at me. At dinner I met a Mrs. Sammet of Boston who has been traveling about alone for nearly a year, 59 years old and as lively as a kid.

Tangiers is a complete change from Europe in about everything. It is made up of English, French, Spanish, Moors, Bèrberians, Negro slaves, Jews, and about everything. All languages are spoken there, all money used,, dollars, pounds, francs, pesetas, and Moorish coins. The streets are very narrow, twisty, quite dirty, and very busy. Life is decidedly Oriental. Most of the natives wear the flowing white robes, many the brown or black robes, all the hood over the head. Few wear stockings, just sandals and bare legs. Turbans or red Turk hats on their heads and lots of beards. The women are all in the  robes too. Some in the higher classes wear the drapes across their faces. The little crowded shops that line the narrow ways are full of goods and curios. Many oriental bazaars have lots of beautiful things to sell, but they ask plenty. In the little coffee dens you can see the natives all sitting around on the floor in a circle, legs crossed, sipping coffee and smoking long pipes. You can look in at many shops and watch them work, making jewelry, sewing, etc. The little dirty kids are all over and the small donkeys do overtime on big heavy loads. There are lots of beggars. Even the kids beg, turn flips, do acrobatic stunts, and then pester you for money. The Moors are too lazy to work much and this accounts for lots of begging. Some parts of town are distinctly Moorish, others Spanish, and others English. In the market square the natives have their stuff spread on the ground before where they are sitting. At night, and Thursday is a big market day, they all sell by the light of the little lamps or coal-oil jets placed on the ground. The whole thing looks like a big witch scene and those in white robes like so many ghosts moving about. A wonderful moon came up over the bay and Spanish Morocco. It was so bright that it was like day, and from my window overlooking the market-place I could see all the city bathed in the moonlight, the white houses, buildings, and churches standing out very distinctly—and all of those white figures moving about below. The inside downstairs of the hotel was in Moorish style and one room especially in which were lots of interesting and pretty things.

Today Mrs. Sammet showed me about the city; the Alcazar where a fake sultan and harem are living to help poor innocent tourists see the sights of oriental life. The place is far from striking and has only the Moorish style to take it from the ordinary. The old fortress is the scene of a former battle and I believe the Battle of Trafalgar was fought just off this coast. There are several mosques. The men step inside the outside door (as far as I got). In stepping over this step they leave their sandals on the outside, turn, pick them up and walk in barefooted. Thus I suppose I committed a crime by entering the threshold in my boots.

As today was Friday—their Sunday—many shops were closed. We went in one that was open to buy a leather cushion cover I wanted to send Mother. They have some beautiful patchwork in leather and all done by hand. Talk about salesmanship and jewing down. I took a fancy to a leather cover and the Moor asked, I believe, 35 pesetas or nearly $6 for it. We said too much and I offered him 20. He came down to 30. Well, it went on for nearly 15 minutes. I stood fast and Mrs. Sammet was right with me. He thought he was talking it up by calling it common leather and we promptly hopped on him and told him it was no good. They have plenty of time and like to talk. When he was down to 23 pesetas, I gave him 20 and the blue leather was mine, $3.20, and a real bargain at that price. As Lucy would say, “Je l’ai pour rien.”

At 11 AM the boat weighed anchor under a cloudy sky. The wind from the Atlantic was pretty cold. From the bay the city is very picturesque. It is built on a sloping hill and you can see the white houses all over the town rising one above the other. Three hours later I again was in Gibraltar. No mail today, though I had a letter from Harry Fitz Thursday.

The next thing was to cut my 9s per on hotel and meals. After talking to the manager, we cut it to 6s per, but with only lunch which is the biggest meal. I have a hunch the hotel will also furnish about enough for another meal a day but doesn’t know it. Now, with expenses at $1.50 a day, I can live here and save a little while I wait for a job or boat passage to Alexandria.

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