By Olympic Gold Medallist M. N. Masood
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Port of Call in Port Said
|Port Said looked like a
European town. But the inhabitants therein, clad in European dress with bright
red fez caps or long-skirted Arabian dress, did not appear to fit in the
Just as the figure and dress of an Indian villager does not harmonize with the environment of a big city, in the same way, the Egyptians, at that hour of the day, did not appear to assimilate with their city.
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he first thing that strikes a visitor at Port Said is the huge crowd of vendors who stand waiting for their prey and rush on it all together. They sell every odd thing and would not leave you by any means. They cling to either side, they follow you in the streets all the time pushing their merchandise under your noses.
They ask enormous prices for petty articles, but patience and perseverance bring them to accept normal prices. A pair of cuff-links were sold to Shahabuddin for 3d., after the vendor had initially asked 6s. for it.
These vendors seem, however, full of spirit. When asked to go his way and leave us alone, a vendor replied vehemently in broken English, "This is Egypt, not India," by which he probably meant that due respect should be paid to him, even if he were only a vendor of petty things. India can tolerate to kick her poor, Egypt treats them in a respectable way.
We roamed about the streets for an hour or two, and aroused a mild interest in the citizens of the port. The city itself is a clean place, very well laid out, with broad streets and and two to four-storied houses. It looked like a European town. But the inhabitants therein, clad in European dress with bright red fez caps or long-skirted Arabian dress, did not appear to fit in the environment.
Just as the figure and dress of an Indian villager does not harmonize with the environment of a central place in a big city, in the same way, the Egyptians at that hour of the day, about five in the evening, did not appear to assimilate with their city.
What could have been responsible for this, I cannot say. Perhaps they have not yet quite rid themselves of Eastern habits, which appear a bit awkward in an European setting.
We sailed at 9:00 pm from Port Said, and after two days of calm seas and bright weather, reached Malta in the early hours of the morning when most of us were asleep. The ship anchored here for only two hours to unload some of her cargo, and she had already sailed when we woke up to see the receding hills of the small island of Malta and some of its buildings built in high rocky places.
Cullen sunbathing in the Olympic Village