At 5 a.m. I wake Joseph up, who leaps up: “Si signore”;

February 16th, 1850, 7pm

At 5 a.m. I wake Joseph up, who leaps up: “Si signore”; At 6 we leave for the lake, the Sheik leading the way.

After two hours walking, we leave the greenbelt - the dry ground is cracked with long, regular slits. Bahr-Yousouf canal = deeply encased valley. Water runs at the bottom among stunted patches of green. Unexpected picturesque of the mountains in a flat country. The lake is dark blue. We have difficulties reaching the edge, because of the marshes - people from the Sheik’s following go up to their knees into the water, and catch fishes with their hands. We don’t see the end of the lake, neither on the right, nor on the left, but only what’s in front of us and the bank where we are.

Back to Abou Gaush - we eat a piece of sheep meat with our hands.

Back to Medinet. The buffaloes, the sheeps, the goats, everything is coming home - kids riding astride herbs-loaded donkeys, dust whirling around the animals’ feet. Dinner at Saha Cahil. The good Padre eats meat as a courtesy to us, and gives us permission to eat meat as well - the host teases the Padre about it. Reminds me of Mr the Mayor teasing the Priest, invited to eat on Sundays. Our host nevertheless abstains from meat. His wife, fat ugly Syrian, nice figure, pregnant (with the Padre’s child?). Drinks to “la republica francesa”. Brave, welcoming, religious man - his civilities move us.

David Wade, Paul and Craig said thanks.

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Gustave Flaubert

"Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." [extracts from Flaubert's travel diary written in 1849-1851]

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