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ARRIVAL AT CEYLON., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIV, Issue 3471, 19 January 1915
ARRIVAL AT CEYLON.
IN COLOMBO. Colombo Harbour, Sunday, November 15. 12 30. We have at last arrived at Colombo, and anchored in tbe harbour within •two hundred yards of the wharves.We have an excellent view of the wharves.. To start at the beginning: Last night we all knew that we would reach Colombo some time early in the morning, and at four in the morning most of the men were up looking out for the land, At daybreak we could see the land, quite distinctly. Huge high peaked mountains and sloping hills, stretching down to the heavilybiphed shores, made a lovely view at sunrise, and those who slept in missed
a grand first view of Ceylon. Our ten sbip3 and three Australians eteam ed on at full speed, and reached tb6 outdde of Colombo Harbour at 10.15 We anchored and sent off signals for pilots. While -waiting the Sydney, whom we had not seen since her fight with tbe Emden, steamed past us into the harbour. She had German prisoners on board, and you could see quite clearly that she had been in action. The paint had all peeled off her guns, but otherwise she appeared to have suffered \'ut\s damage, 1 have since found out tbat the Sydney was hit seventeen times. She fired 600 shots altogether, and the Emden fired 200, As |he steatned past we gave her our full salute, but we wore not allowed to cheer, or make any demonstration, hecsuse she had German prisoners on board. Numbers of tbe Sydney's men were walking about with bandages on. I suppose they were some of tbe wounded. After waging for some time our pilot came off, and we were soon anchored in the inner harbour in an excellent position. Our first words were, "Is there any mail coming on board for us." No one seemed to know, but we are hoping for the best. Colombo is by far the prettiest and most quaint place I. have ever been in. It even beats Akaroa and Hobart. Probably Akaroa, with a few thousand niggers running about, would be rather quaint too. Looking through the telescope you can see huge buildings of gorgeous houses of all shapes, colours and sizes Cocoanut plantations are to be seen everywhere, and their dark green coloured tops form a very pretty background for the ma.ny coloured houses and buildings. This is our first view of an Oriental town, and I must say that we are all deeply impressed with the magnificent scenery We are all hoping to get ashore, and have a tour round for an hour or two So far we have seen few white people, but niggers are everywhere in thousands. We have not seen any fruit yeti but have all got newspapers with tbe news from November 1 till yesterday. We paid 6d per copy for the newE papers, but they would have been cheap to us for a shilling, as we were all so hungry for war news. Church bells are commencing to ring everywhere, and people are beginning to put in an appearance. I suppose j it is their church ti_6 Dozens of rickshaws are to be seen, and a few
bicycles, Most of the people are walking. If,we get ashore I guess there will be something doing in tbe rickshaw line. They look very com fortable, and the darkies tow them along at a good pace. We have seen dozens- of <|veer birds, and the cows we saw just about take, the biscuit. I must buy some post-cards, and send them on to you, Lunch time, so goodbye for tbe present. It is getting very hot here now, and all drinks are in great demand.
It EXPERIENCES AT COLOMBO. 8 . Monday, 3 November 16. 1 1 Well, my usual good luck was with 3 me yesterday. A chap named Sesley r and I were off our signalling duties all day, and we got permits to go 1 ashore. We bailed an old tub manned 3 by two dirty niggers, and, after a ? risky passage, we reached the wharf, ! The niggers asked us ten shillings ' for the passage, but we told them to Jgo to -, and then they accepted - sixpence. Well, our first "place of 1 call was tbe pub. We. bad several ' spots, and then started on a tour 1 round. At the hotel we met an Eng lisbman and hie sisters, and they took us in hand, and just did everything they could for us. We did the town in rickshaws and paid sixpence each for the pleasure, and then went through the native quarter for a walk, We started out, and were simply pcs' tered to buy all sorts of things from tbe natives.' Our English friends ad vised us not to buy in a hurry. We took their advice, and when we got to the end of the street the natives just rushed us, and we bought at our own price, These are some of the bar gains we made: 5 dozen bananas 3d, 50 oranges 6d, 50 good cigars Is 6d, 20 packets cigarettes Is Bd, 12 packets dates Ib, 3 light singlets 8d leach, 12 silk handkerchiefs (all colours) Us 6d, silk pyjamasuit Is 9d (by tbe way everything is silk here), a watch 23 4d, a white suit and bowler hat- 4s 6d and lots of other rubbish. Show the natives money, and you have got tbem. By the way they put a good one on to my friend Sesley. He gave them a pound, and got what he thought was eighteen single shillings change. When he came to pay out again with these supposed snilllings, he found that tbey were worth about 2jd in English money. We had to go and have several spots to drown his sorrow. We went back to the Grand Hotel, and had something to eat. The Grand Hotel is a huge modern place with a thousand rooms, and has a lovely garden i-oof. from which a good |
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view of tha unvn and b-irbour can lv obtained. Tie sight we had an? par ticufarly good, ac all tbe New Zealand and Australian tiTops were at anchor in the harbour I don't suppose the r same poena wiU ever ha seen again. Tbe whits people in Colombo were quit 9 excited about us, and tb<>«e who got ashore had a good time. We had iced drinks oq the roof and then came down agiin. Our Eng'-i. _ friends left ua here. Tbey very kindly, asked us to meet them again. Nnm j ,bers of people own motor cars here, j and altogether the white population appear to he very prosperous. \ We saw the wounded man beine j taken off tbe Sydney. There were about 200 altogether, nearly all Ger mans. We went for a stroll for an ' hour, and then came back to the hotel, had a good meal of bacon and eggs, and then came on board, quite satisfied with our interesting and sporting day Tbis morning at 10 o'clock mo . of the men were given leave, but half an heur later the order was cancelled, t and gangs were sent ashore to bring tbe men back. It was very disßpi v pointing for them, but they took it in tgood form, and all were on boaid again in a f-bort time. We bad a Garman officer and six , men, prisoners from tbe Emden, brought on to our boat, and then we weighed anchor and went out into tbistream. The Germans are all fine looking chaps, and looked quite happy They were particularly well dressed and cleaned up, and looked aB if they were going on a holiday. A cabin on the forecastle deck was prepared for them. The officer is allowed anywhere, and does as he pleases. ON THE WAY TO EDEN Thursday, Nov. 19;b, r i9u - We left Colombo on Tuesday morn ing, and are steaming west, so I sup pose we are making for Aden. We t have 200 tons of coal to take on yet, so we expect to get it there. Ten of tbe Australian troopships remained at Colombo to get water and coal They ** will overtake ua at Aden We have only one escort now, the Hamp shire, so this part of tbe world must be very clear of Germans We have * had another death One of our N.Z. officers on tbe Arawa (Captain Webb, N. 1.), broke his neck a day or two bofore we arrived at Colombo. He.was still alive when we arrived, and he was taken ashore to tbe hospital there. We beard of his death by wireless tbis morning, Our troop 3 were all paraded for a church service. It is still very •* hot here, but we are getting used to the beat now. Our horses are still *■ doing well. No deaths have been re - ported for some time. '' m THE EMDEN PRISONERS. The Bix German prisoners we have on board are having a good time. I have had several chats to them, Two of them can talk bad v English. Tbey told me tbat they were getting our wireless messages the whole time, and knew exactly where we were. They t said they were getting badly treated towards tbe last, and were all very sick of their life on board tbe Emden. I A guard is put over them night and xlay. The officer dines with our officers, and does practically as be pleases The men have .the same food as we * get, and dine after we nave finished. They say they are quite satisfied with their lot on our boat. * It is just pouring, with rain now. s Five minutes ago tbe sun was shining, and in five minutes' time it will be w shining again. We have these showers very often now, but the heat is always the same A number of our men are out with soap and no clothes, and are having a good bath. It is quite refreshing after the ealt water.' Tbo 5 o'clock morning baths are as popular as ever. We are getting on well with signalling now, but we have long hours on duty. Mackenzie, son of the High Commissioner's sons, is with vi now Ho* is in tbe 6tb Wellington U.K. 12 80, lunch time So good bye for the present. , THE OCEAN LIKE GLASS. Tuesday, Nov. 24th. 18 hours out from Aden. §t\. We are nearing Aden, and I hear ' we will be allowed to post all letters
■|t'"imn without <beui b it g censon rl . -vu will only rem uri in Aden for a I . bourn, as we are to coal at Port • ■ Bnid We are still getting wonder > ! fully fine weather The ocean tp day .is like a sheet of glass. The men i; have bpeo walking the horses rouDd ' 'no deck all day. Nothing exciting has happened the last few days, but every day now it ig petting cooler, and we are so much nearer our journey's end, so everyone js feeling lively again. We passed on the north side of Socotro Island yesterday. Tbe island appeared Ito be very rugged and bare of vegeta I tion, but I believe it is inhabited, and |is a cocoanut and date growing place. ARRIVAL AT ADEN. Nov 25th, 4 30 p m. • We are just arriving at Aden We have been in fight of land ail d>ty, and will be anchored cloee to Aden bar bour in half an hour's time, From here Aden apjeus to be a very diy barren place. Nothing is to' ba eenn excf p ing a few stone building?, ar d a lot of high rocky mountains on which we can pen forts ; at least we imagine them fo re foi'tß. We can see tbe coast cf Africa to the south. We are sailing at 6 o'clock to morrow morning for Fort Said, and our letters have to be posted by 8 o'clock to night, and then tbey may not be able to send them ashore. We are told tbat letters will most probably be censored, so if tbat is the case I cannot post tbis. Anyhow, 1 am hoping that we will get word to say that the censorship has been removed. The Australians are posting letters from here rjrjcsnsored, and it,, will be rather queer if we are not allowed to do tbe same. THE SUEZ CANAL. S S. Tahiti, Deo. 1, 1914 We ate at present in tbe middle of the Suez Canal, and hope to be at the other end by the morning. We bad a good trip all through tbe Red Bea, ai though it was blowing a gale most of tbe way. We could easily see land on either side, but it was not at all interesting, being mostly barren rock; hills. SHOUT STAY AT SUEZ. We reached Port Suez early this morning, and anchored in the stream for a few hours. During tbe time we were anchored tbe doctor examined our chip, and we got a pilot on board, Arabs came out to U3 in the boats, and soH ua apples (20 for Is), oranges (20 ' for Is), figs (Is 6d per string), dates : (Is packet), and dozens of other things' [ which we were in need of. They did ■ a roaring trade for a few hours. From < where we were anchored Suez looked a dreary looking place. The town it self seemed to be in tbe middle of a big desert, and its square grey buildings seemed to be in keeping with tbe J j dull 6urroundingß We weighed anchor, and were soon . into tbe canal Tbe left bank, as we entered, was very pretty. A big hotel and lovely residences in the middle of i a plantation of palm trees made a very ' pretty sight, and a contrast to the ' sandy desert. On tbe same side a beautiful avenue of palms, and about fifty modern English residences could be seen along the bank. The canal itself is about one hundred yards wide and anyone could easily have a chat to people on the shore. Tbe English people gave us a good reception as we steamed along, and the pretty girlß came in for a good share of attention from us. Tbey were not at all sby a bout waving flags, handkerchiefs etc, and throwing us kisses. A Maori Haka from us was much appreciated by tbe white people,, and tbe Arabs were highly delighted. Altogether cur trip through the Suez was good sport for us, and we were sorry wbf n we left it behind. We are now steamirg at about six knots an bour, each ship two miles apart By tbe time tbo leading ship reaches the end of tbe Canal, tbe last ship will hardly have started. There are about forty boots altogether. So far od each eid9 we can ses nothing but desert with an occasional patch of greeD trees, we Fee any amount of camels and donkeys on tbe banks. I would like to tell you something interesting relating to our canal trip, but being forbidden I cannot do so, Some time in tbe future perhaps. i To be continued.
ARRIVAL AT CEYLON., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIV, Issue 3471, 19 January 1915
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