National Geographic : 1935 Nov
THE SUEZ CANAL: SHORT CUT TO EMPIRES Photograph by Dr. Robert Ransdell A LULL IN THE DAY'S OCCUPATIONS IN PORT SAID, THE CANAL'S COSMOPOLIS Gone is the time when "Little Egypts" picked up carelessly tossed baksheesh from the floor. Tonight visitors from many nations will meet in a night club at this midcity hotel. But morning belongs to the natives, who need no newspaper to know what's going on. Port Said, a sandspit town, born of the Canal and named for the Khedive Said, now has a population of 105,000. The harbor is a place of infinite interest. Fishing boats sweep up the Canal entrance in pairs, dragging a net between them. When evening comes, these sturdy but graceful boats, manned by Italians from Bari, edge up to the pier with three or four men clinging to the long tip-tilted masts and furling the sail, once bloated by the breeze but now hanging in senile wrinkles. FISH IN ATTRACTIVE TRAYS Their very mixed catch is sorted and piled up in trays until the shrimps make one's mouth water and even unattractive little fish are so arranged that they seem eminently desirable (see pages 621 and 625). The harbor fills and empties in a mar velous way. One liner slides in from the north. Another from Suez has just made fast. Coal barges move out and attach themselves to the flanks of the liners like baby whales or submarines along the mother ship. Pontooned causeways curve out from shore to gangplank (see page 614). Water barges move into position to pump their load into the thirsty steamers. Tugs hustle here and there. A traffic cop seems called for, although one knows that each berth is allotted, each movement made in accordance with orders from the handsome Company building with its clean-tiled dome (see page 629). An hour later, the ships have gone their several ways. The barges have taken their sooty men with shining teeth and eyes back to the coal piles. The harbor is as empty as Wall Street on Sunday.