National Geographic : 1954 Apr
493 U. S. Navy, Official Saud ibn Jiluwi, Governor of Hasa, Inspects the Bridge of U. S. S. Greenwich Bay During the tour of duty of Captain Eller (right) three vessels alternated as flagship of the Middle East Command: Valcour (opposite), Duxbury Bay (page 505), and Greenwich Bay. Long famed for pearls and dates, Saudi Arabia's province of Hasa assumed world importance with discovery of oil beneath its sands. center, established there after the partition of India and Pakistan. But the centuries had left other things of interest. In this quiet, old-world port, through crowded streets I came to a reminder of Spain. Adjacent to a venerable synagogue I saw Hebraic, red-haired people whose an cestors found refuge in India from the Span ish Inquisition. The synagogue has its Old Testament writ ten on scrolls in gold-encrusted cases. In the wall above the blue-tiled floor our guide opened a vault and brought out treasured copper plates recording an early deed of land to Joseph Rabban, headman of the Jewish community. Cochin, heavy with solid Dutch architec ture, has in St. Francis Church one of the his toric memories of the sea. This old church holds many Portuguese and Dutch tomb stones, some of them dating from the 1500's. Among them is that of Vasco da Gama, Co lumbus's contemporary, who was first buried here. His body was later removed to Portu- gal.* Had he been one of the Dutch who later held the port of Cochin, his memorial slab in the quiet church might have borne his exact age and hour of death, with the inscription: Hier oonder ist. Elephants Are Traffic Hazards While operating in the Indian Ocean we touched twice at Ceylon, the idyllic isle. Its steaming coastland is tropical, with palm and rubber plantations, flowers and fruits-espe cially around Colombo-and jungles in which wild elephants roam (page 520).t Much of my time in Ceylon was spent at a South Asian conference in the land of the sky at Nuwara Eliya. Mounting a breath-taking road where elephants compete with auto mobiles for the right of way, we burst into a different climate. Temperate-zone flowers * See "Pathfinder of the East (Vasco da Gama)," by J. R. Hildebrand, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, November, 1927. t See "Ceylon, Island of the 'Lion People,'" by Helen Trybulowski Gilles, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, July, 1948.