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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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1 entry, paper

34.4345947, 35.8361633

Sun 10. [10 December 1899] Head wind which delays us and makes us roll considerably. Very well, however. Just before 11 we saw the white tops of Lebanon standing up on the horizon. The mountain range is wonderfully fine here, a mass of snow on it. In the afternoon made all my arrangements for a possible ride from Beyrout [Beyrouth (Beirut)] for with this wind it is highly probable we shall not be sure of landing at Jaffa [Tel Aviv-Yafo (Joppa)]. We got to Tripoli [Trablous] about 3 and I went on shore with a boat load of Turks and Arab seamen shouting Arabic. Very rough, the boat danced up and down and we called loud and often on the name of the Prophet. Landed inside some rocks. At [sic] little gentleman in a red jersey and a fez seized on me and carried me off through the lower town (he had a little of the English) very picturesque, stone houses often arching in great buttresses and bridges over the street. Took a tram with 48 Arabs and driven by 2 small mules, went up to the upper town through orange gardens. Flew up the dark streets to the Crusading castle - magnificent view, the 11/2 miles of plain and the sea, and Lebanon all white behind. Ran down in the dusk buying figs on the way, took a cab and walked through the lower town. Flaming sunset. The town lighted with a few hanging oil lamps. Got to the landing place at dusk. A Syrian family were carried into my boat and fervently embraced their porter (I didn't). She sat holding me while we danced over the waves, I fed her children on figs. Safely back and I gave the rest of the figs to Russian pilgrims. My boatmen wanted bakhshish but Mr FitzGerald intervened. "You get right home" he said "and draw in close to your fireside, that'll dry you better'n any piastres." They were wet through. Nasty night with a cold.

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