Travel Reference
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At the entrance I passed several men whose shabby uniforms suggested that they were po-
licemen. They were seated on a bench and snoring melodiously, with the regularity of waves
breaking on the sea shore. I entered and looked around, but not a soul was to be seen, except
a couple of skinny dogs slumbering in the shade against a wall. I ventured to peep into an of-
fice where I saw two men, obviously secretarios , who were fast asleep with their feet on their
I began to think I must be dreaming about the palace of the sleeping beauty. I stood there,
lost in reverie, imagining myself to be exploring the palace and finding the princess slum-
bering on her couch and waking her up as the prince did, according to the fairy tale, when
suddenly one of the secretarios moved an arm to flick away a fly that had settled on his face.
He opened his eyes and saw me. Without changing his comfortable position he yawned and
grunted that it was half an hour before working time, and then he closed his eyes again. I re-
turned later and was very well received by the officials, who showed me every courtesy.
Cartagena is one of the most interesting towns I visited on my ride. It was founded by the
ations stand today, and the dungeons are inhabited by the poor. Across the bay there is a high,
steep hill that comes to an abrupt precipitous fall on the far side.
On this hill stand the ruins of what used to be a nunnery in the old times. When Morgan
attacked and sacked the town his men thought they would go up there to have a look at the
nuns.Itissaidthatsomeofthelatter,seeingthemenapproach,jumpeddowntheprecipice. A
'historian' putthe theory before me that these nunswere insuchahurrytobethe first togreet
the pirates that they risked the short cut!
Whilst I waited for a ship that was to take us across to Panama, I had ample opportunity to
visit some of the places of interest in and around this historical town.
Here I made the acquaintance of an American lady, Mrs Kerr, who had lived most of her
life in the jungles, shooting for the Museum of Natural History of New York. Although she
was seventy years of age at the time I met her, she was like a girl of twenty in mind and body.
She was running a small curiosity shop where all the 'rough necks' from the oil-fields would
congregate to have a yarn with her. Even at her age she had the reputation of being a 'mean
shot' and able to compete with the best. As we had a great deal in common, I spent sever-
al hours yarning about mountains, plains and jungles with her, and often since my mind has
wandered back to 'Mrs Kerr's Cabinet,' as her place was sometimes called by her friends.
TheRoyalNetherlandsship Crynsson arrived,andIwastoldtobereadytoloadthehorses
early next morning. We arrived at the appointed time, but were kept waiting in the broiling
sun near the wharf until after 4 p.m. After standing in the sun for a few hours the poor horses
began to pant with the infernal heat, and I had to cool them down by throwing sea water over
them with a tin, lest they got heat stroke. Finally they were lifted on board by means of slings.
Mancha showed his disapproval of such treatment by kicking in all directions when he landed
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