6. Suez, Ain Miisa, and the Red Sea.
On arriving at the busy station, the traveller is usually beset by a
number of cicerones who speak broken English, French, and other
Hotels. Hotel Suez (PI. a), situated on the coast, at a considerable
distance from the station, a first-class house, fitted up in the English
style, and kept by a German; board and lodging 16s. per day (less if a
prolonged stay is made). There are two scales of charges: (1st) break¬
fast 4, tiffin 4, dinner 6s.; (2nd) 2, 2, and 4s. respectively. Bottle of ale
or porter Is. od. The servants are Indians, — quiet, attentive people,
with delicate features and of slender build. English Church service on
Sundays. The shady court of the hotel affords a pleasant lounge. News¬
papers for the use of visitors. — Hotel d'ORiENT, in the Rue de Colmar,
the principal street, '/< M. from the station; pension, with wine, 10 fr.
per day; unpretending, but tolerable. — There are also several disreput¬
able looking cafes and beer-houses.
Post and Telegraph Offices (Egyptian) at the station.
Consuls. British, Mr. West; German, Hr. Meyer; French, M. Eynaud;
Austrian, Hr. Remy Bergenowich; Russian and Spanish, Sen. Costa.
Disposition of Time. If the weather is calm, the harbour and en¬
trance to the canal may be visited by small boat. Calm weather is also
very desirable for the excursion by land to the Springs of Moses (p. 406J,
as the driving sand is excessively disagreeable in a high wind. The
beautiful clearness of the green water, with its curious shells and sea¬
weed, and the almost invariable beauty of the sunsets render a boating
excursion here unusually attractive. The situation of the sandbanks and
of the navigable channel is of course best inspected at low tide.
A charge of 6-8s. is usually made for a rowing-boat for half-a-day.
The boatmen are apt to be extortionate in their demands, as travellers
on their way to or from India, and making a short stay only, are often
too lavish in their payments. In fine weather a day may be pleasantly
spent as follows. Row early in the morning down the gulf to the
mouth of the canal, ascend the canal for a short distance, and land
at the usual starting-point for the Springs of Moses. Donkey (which
is brought in the boat from SuezJ 5-6 fr. for the day. We now traverse
the desert, which extends down to the sea-shore, to the (2 hrs.) Springs,
where luncheon (brought from Suez) may be taken. An hour or more
may be spent here in resting or looking for shells on the shore, after
which we regain the boat in 2 hrs. more. We next row (again taking
the donkey with us) to the quays, land there, and dismiss the boat. Re¬
mounting the donkey, we ascend to the docks, inspect them at our
leisure, and then return to the hotel. The whole excursion, occupying
about 8 hrs., may be accomplished without much fatigue. If the wind
is favourable, the traveller may sail as far as the so-called caravan land¬
ing-place (comp. Map, p. 406), whence the Springs are reached in half-
an-hour; but the charge for the boat is then higher, and if the wind is
favourable in one direction, it is adverse in the other, so that nothing is
to be gained by this arrangement, unless donkeys are altogether dis¬
pensed with. In stormy weather the pier and docks only can be visited
with comfort, as the waves render the boating tedious, and the driving
sand makes the ride through the desert very unpleasant.
The 'Ataka Mountains (p. 405) may be ascended on the S.W side,
but not without great difficulty, as the rocks are bare and precipitous,
and competent guides are not procurable. The view, according to Fraas,
is most beautiful and interesting, as the whole of the isthmus and the
canal lie at the spectator's feet like a vast map.
Natural History of the Red Sea (by Dr. C. B. Klunzinger). Among
the numerous natural products of the Red Sea, which is of a tropical
character, with a fauna almost entirely different from that of the Mediter¬
ranean , we need only mention those of commercial value and those
frequently offered for sale to travellers as curiosities. The prices de¬
manded are usually exorbitant, but may be reduced by bargaining.
Baedekkk's Egypt I. 26