Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The Voyage East VIII - Suez – You Rather Hoped Not
I posted early in this series (an attempt to recreate eventually the voyage from London to Shanghai) about Alexandria and Port Said, the northern end of the Suez Canal and Port Sudan which was a fairly common stop after sailing through the Suez Canal. I’ve also mentioned Aden, the more popular stop and the jumping off point for the lengthy voyage across to India heading east. I missed Suez as most people didn’t stop there as it was generally regarded dirty, scruffy and not much to see. But sometimes boats stopped there and people sent postcards so in the interests of thoroughness…
Suez was a generally dilapidated Arab town of some 50,000 population, connected by a causeway with the Egyptian garden city of Port Tewfik which was good side trip if you did stop at Suez. The British used Suez as a military staging post eastwards which didn’t improve the attractiveness of the place for civilians much.
In general, as the postcard opposite shows, it was significantly less built up, smaller and less grand than Alexandria or Port Said at the northern end of the Canal and so not really aiming for the tourist market the way those cities did. Anyway Suez was only. 170km south of Port Said but was also 120 km east of Cairo which made a day trip impractical fro many.