MODE OF TRAVELLING.
muleteer is called mukdri, a word sometimes corrupted by Euro¬
peans to 'muker'.
Camels (for riding delAl, in Egypt hegin; for burdens jemel; the Ara¬
bian camel with one hump is the only one known in Syria). The patient
'ship of the desert', which the traveller will scarcely use except for a long
journey through the desert, is a sullen looking animal; and although he
commands our respect, and even admiration, he rarely gains our affection.
The difference between camels bred and trained for riding and camels of
burden is quite as great as that between saddle and cart horses. Riding
on the former is far from unpleasant.
In hiring a horse or camel, it is of great importance to secure a
well-trained animal of easy gait; and, having done so, the traveller
should carefully note its colour, size, and other peculiarities, as it is
a very common trick of the owner, after the completion of the con¬
tract , to substitute an inferior animal for the one selected. In the
case of horses, mules, and donkeys the traveller should also satisfy
himself that they are free from the sores from which they too often
suffer. As to saddles etc., see p. xxi. Before starting, it is usual to
give the owner a ghabun , or earnest-money, which falls to be de¬
ducted from the final reckoning. If this be done and the route sti¬
pulated for at the time of hiring, the traveller is not responsible for
any injury that may occur to the animals.
The style of travelling varies according to the traveller's means
and his love of comfort. He may travel:
I. With Dragoman and Xents. Travellers who are unacquainted
with the language and customs of the country will find a dragoman
(Arabic terjumdn, generally very reliable people as far as their con¬
tract binds them) indispensable.
Dragomans in Syria are contractors for the management of tours
and of caravans, and they relieve the traveller of all the difficulties
of preparation and of intercourse with the natives. The Syrian dra¬
gomans usually speak English and French, a few of them German
and Italian too. In knowledge of the country, and especially of its
antiquities, they are often sadly deficient. So accustomed are they,
moreover, to certain beaten tracks, that it is often a matter of great
difficulty to induce them to make the slightest deviation from the
usual routes, which in all probability have been followed by the
caravans for many centuries. For tours of any length it is advisable
for the traveller to enter into a written contract with the dragoman,
and to get it signed by him and attested at the consulate. The an¬
nexed form of contract is one which includes almost every possible
detail. Explanations are added where necessary.
Contract. The following contract, dated......, has been
entered into between the travellers A. and B. and the dragoman C.
§ 1. The dragoman C. binds himself to conduct the travellers
NN.,.....in number, from Jerusalem to Beirut by way of Na¬
bulus, Jenin, Haifa, etc. The dragoman may not take other persons
on this journey without the express permission of the travellers.
The route should be laid down beforehand with the utmost possible
accuracy, as the dragomans always endeavour to take the shortest way.