More Writings from Leota Henson Turner
|Loudin's Jubilee Singers, Leota is seated to the right of the keyboard|
Continued from Part 2.
"About 5 P.M. we reached our destination and went immediately to Sheppards Hotel, the famous well-known hostelry. At 7 P.M. dinner was served and is customary in England and other countries it is the big event of the day, and a formal dress affair. We hurriedly tidied ourselves up as best we could and we were soon ushered into the spacious, well-lighted dining room. It was filled with Military men in full dress with plenty of gold braid, medals on their uniforms. Their ladies in formal dress wearing plenty of jewels of all kinds. We felt very much out of place in our traveling attire but no one seemed to notice us particularly and we went through the eight course dinner with good grace. After dinner we went to bed immediately as we had to arise at 4 A.M. At that hour carriages had been ordered to take us out to see the Pyramids. We arrived at the Pyramid ‘Cheops’ just at sun rise. As we alighted from our carriages we were immediately surrounded by large groups of Native Egyptians all wanting to show us the sights. Each one of us had two natives, that is, one on each side of us, who helped us climb to the top of the Pyramid. From the top was had a wonderful view of the Sphinx and numerous smaller Pyramids. There we were taken up on the inside to the King’s Chamber and I was glad when we landed on the outside for there was too much slipping over on the smooth marble floors to suit me. On our way back to Cairo we stopped to see Moses’ Well and then we stopped to go into a native house. It was a round circular affair made of sand stone with one opening on the side, where you went into one room. There was no foundation, just the bare ground on which the natives sat or rolled themselves into a blanket, when they went to sleep. In the center was a wood fire burning, the smoke going out of the hole in the hut. One of the women had a goat skin filled with milk which was shaking back and forth evidently for food of some sort. After visiting stores of the Bazaars in the city and buying some curios, we caught a train at noon and were on our way to catch our steamer at Suez. We arrived about 5 P.M. and saw our steamer out in the bay about 10 miles distant. My uncle hired some man who had a sail boat to take us out to the steamer. They were to charge $5.00 for the trip. When we got about half way, a storm with heavy winds came up and it looked as if the boat would capsize, and the man saw we were frightened. They stopped the boat and said they would have to have $10.00. My uncle said O.K. but when we reached our steamer they were paid the first price.
Next stop was at Aden, which is on the Southern corner of Arabia. We stopped there for coal as we were about to enter the Indian Ocean, and it would be three weeks before we would reach our destination: Melbourne, Australia. On our arrival, about thirty native men began coming up the gang plank one by one, with huge baskets of coal on their backs. The coal was to be used for the engine. These men were entirely naked except for a loin cloth around their waist and between their legs. This procession continued for several hours and finally we started off again.
The next big event was crossing the Equator, leaving the Northern Hemisphere and going into the Southern. The Officers spoke of it as 'crossing the line.' Some of the passengers did not know that it is an imaginary one. Many of them were asking questions how the steamer would get over this line and some planned to stay up all night so as not to miss the sight. When the crossing was made no one was aware of the fact but the Captain and the Officers on the bridge at the time. We soon noticed the change in the temperature from cool to hot and the hot winds at night instead of cool breezes. We then realized that we were in the Tropics. One day we sighted a water-spout many miles away. It seemed to be a huge volume of water extending from the sky to the sea. It was a wonderful sight but I was glad we were many miles away."
In the next article you will read of the group's adventures in Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Then there were more concerts in India, China, and Japan.