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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Chirol, Valentine

-7.5360639, 112.2384017

Tues 17. [17 March 1903] Up at 5 and had a bath in the pitch dark. Grey unlovely sunrise. I went out to the gardens and saw the morning flowering nymphaea which were most lovely. So through the park and met H [Hugo] at the station. Off at 7.15. Herr v Ditman also going to Garoot [Garut] but we did not travel together. We had 3 people in our carriage, 2 a horrid newly married couple. Lovely lovely journey between Salak [Salak, Gunung] and Ghede through rice fields and over rivers running in deep rocky beds between gorges of bamboo, and little grips filled with rice terraces. The whole island runs with water. Tea plantations and coffee. Over the pass between the 2 volcanoes we came into a great plain of rice, broken into terraces and bounded by hills. We had lunch brought in to us at Badong, greasy beefsteak, vegetables, pineapple and mangosteens. We crossed another pass by a perfectly even volcano cone and had a beautiful run down into the plain below to the junction where H got out for Garoot. The air was electric, I was glad he went before we came to blows. The great hills to the right where he was going were capped with cloud. This was at 2. I went on through a most beautiful plain even more fertile than before - tree ferns. I was alone for a bit but presently got in a large family, husband wife and 3 children. She was a most charming woman and he very handsome and agreeable, a doctor. They were returning from Holland to Surabaya. She wore a cotton smock after the approved mode. (I saw a woman come down to the station this morning to see a man off in the most unmistakeable low necked cotton dressing gown. We ran out of the volcanoes and into the great marshy plain, which used to be and still is very unhealthy. When it grew dark we talked. He said that things weren't going very well - tea coffee sugar all falling in price. They mean to keep their children out till they're 10. They go up to the hills at the changes of season when it's unhealthy. Their hill station is Tosari, which everyone says is most lovely. The journey seemed long in spite of the conversation and I was glad when at 7.15 we reached Maos. They can't run the trains at night because the railway servants are natives and can't be trusted - or are too lazy. It's a govt hotel at Maos for the accomodation of travellers - not at all bad, but lots of mosquitoes. The plain here is very low marshy and unhealthy - I don't think there's any place[?]. There's a beautiful volcano behind, a perfect cone. Had a bath and changed, dined and went to bed.

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