Monday, March 2, 2009

Congo (20) At Sea (Anversville) 12/19/1920 [DCS]


Dec. 19, 1920

My own dearest homefolks,

Still alive and feeling fine. The boat doesn't roll much now-either that or I don't feel it anymore.

We spent several hours on shore yesterday and enjoyed it very well. It was so different from anything I had ever seen before, but I can't say I would like to live there or even spend one night in Tenerife. It is absolutely a filthy place, both the place and the people. There are mountains around the coast that are very beautiful. Most of the time we were there there were clouds between us and the mountains which made it still more picturesque. There was a rainbow, too, that stayed for quite a while and made a complete semicircle in the sky. It looked as if it came quite down to the water's edge, and shining on the mountains looked so pretty. They looked much prettier at a distance, I thought. Some took a ride up to the top of one of them, but we preferred looking around in town. The land on this island does not seem to be very rich as they have to work to make what shrubbery there is grow, and the mountains are almost bare. The inhabitants of Tenerife are mostly Spaniards and their mode of travel is on burros with a few cars and horses. I saw my first three horse shay while on shore. Of all the beggers, I never saw the like. Crowds of children followed us through the streets begging for "one penny." I suppose this was the only English they knew. There were also people crippled, blind and covered with sores. It was all pitiable to see. I said at the first of my letter that I "enjoyed" my stay on the island; I don't believe that is just the word to use, but instead I will say I did find things very interesting, for I never dreamed of there being such a place as this. B.M. says he has seen worse conditions than this on some of the other islands he has visited, but I can't see how it could be much worse. We saw both men and women barefooted walking through the streets, and bad odors coming from all directions, flies swarmed everywhere. They carried heavy loads on their heads with flat topped hats made for this purpose. We got some real good fruit there--grapes, bananas, oranges, etc, but I was careful to wash it before eating. They had lots of pretty table scarfs and the like to sell, but all I got was some little doilies, a dozen for five francs, about $.40 in our money. They are all hand made and I think very pretty. I am going to send you one to see in this letter if I don't forget it. I believe I have all of Tenerife out of my system now so I can start on another subject.

We stop at Dakar day after tomorrow and will mail this letter there. I don't know whether we will go ashore or not.

I am wearing my summer clothes again now, have on my tricolette suit today, and wear my tam on deck. We put on our helmets at Dakar.

I saw my first porpoise this afternoon. We struck a school of them and three or four kept up with the ship for about a mile and a half. We are expecting to see some flying fish later on. B. M. says they are numerous further on south.

Mon. afternoon.

Will finish this now as we have to mail it before five, rather six o'clock so that it will be put off at Dakar.

Have just had a nice hot salt water bath, am indulging in one every day and hope they will do me good. The only thing about them -you can't use soap and I don't feel very clean afterwards.

Is the telephone working? Do you ever talk to town? If so, the first time you talk to Mrs. Miller and Miss Cassie, give them my love. Have been sending them cards along. Have sent cards to nearly every one I had on my list now I think.

I have to close for this time.

Lots of love to all,


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