Monday, 19th, while I was washing, entrance of doctor Colucci, brought in by the Pasha, small man, good, honest, kind.

November 19th, 1849, 12pm

We go out with him; we visit a rice factory: large wooden crushers completed by an iron screw. Hand-operated cotton mill: man who turned the reel, bent double, which came again and again like a horse at the mill and smiled in front of us to ask for the baksheesh. Through a half-open mosque, we see painted columns in the courtyard. On the door stands a young Turk who resembles Louis Bellangé. We go to a sort of hospital where in low rooms the sick lie on planks - they look quite sick to me. Antique oriental hospital. Smell of fever and sweat, sun coming through the gaps between the planks in the walls. We go up to the Pharmacist’s house, he offers us a pipe. I’m starving - back to the barracks - visit to the Pasha - coffee again, chibouk again. At one-thirty, dinner: at least thirty dishes (a nigger swats the flies for us with a small broom - the window is open and overlooks the sea - numerous menials, a motley of skins and silk clothes); the pastry seems good to me, the rest awful; I taste arab bread, uncooked dough in large patties. I watch myself as much as possible so as to do no improprieties. In the afternoon visit to Abou Mandour, on the left bank of the Nil. Garden and reefs (the only place on the Nil where I saw reefs - nearly none are present on the banks of the Nil) - great sun on the water - at Abou Mandour the Nil turns left (right bank) and on this side are high banks of sand; a tartane boat goes by - here is the true Orient; melancholy and lulling; you already sense something huge and merciless in the middle of which you are lost. On a fortress a muslim doing his prayer and prostrating towards the setting sun. Abou Mansour is the tomb of a muslim saint - the man who watches after the tomb offers us a few fruits from a sycamore tree, which resemble figs. What we call sycamore in Europe doesn’t resemble a sycamore. The tomb’s guardian also gives me a few dates - a dog follows me - I’m sick with the colic. Here the Nil bends, the desert is in front of you and on the right; at your left beyond the Nil are huge green meadows with large puddles. We go up to the telegraph, the guardian kisses my hand. Back to the barrack. The three of us eat in our rooms, European style - excellent beans. Our goodbyes to the Pasha - night good.

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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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