AB Steele’s Shipboard Journal – 13 April 1886

Arose at 5 to find we were nearing Port Said, arriving there at 9.30. We cast anchor close to the shore, and very soon the ship was surrounded with small boats to convey us to the shore. We visited most of the special principal buildings; but it appears to be a very filthy place. The streets are all sand and gravel – no paving stones to be seen. A very mean place when compared with Naples.

The huts, or houses, are only one storey high, and in a very filthy condition. The natives smell very bad, and have scarcely any clothes on. We visited the Arab town, which had been burned down just recently, but was in rebuilding. We went through the graig gardens as they called them – but I have seen much nicer village gardens in the old country. We next visited the market, which consisted chiefly of vegetables. I could not fancy to eat them at all, they looked so dirty. The chief trade is selling vegetables and fruit to the passengers on ships calling at the Ports. Lemons and oranges were in abundance being sold at 3d per dozen – and jolly good ones too.

Port Said is a terrible place for dogs and goats. I can safely say there were a few thousands running about in every street. There were however very few horses, donkeys being in favour. Port Said is a coaling place for ships passing through the Canal from the opening of which Canal the town has really sprung up. There was not a single shrub to be seen anywhere. The wind blows awfully hot, almost scorching one’s face, causing the perspiration to flow at the least exertion. We passed a few huts – built close to the Canal – erected on purpose for the dredgemen to live in who are employed to dredge the Canal. They looked more like habitations for pigs than human beings.

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