Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
move the safety chains, or govern the water valves, are set in motion. A most intricate and in-
the operator from making a mistake. Should he, by carelessness, try to turn a wrong handle,
an error that might have disastrous results, this safety device would make the engines refuse
to work.
Every man being trained for his particular job, things at the Canal go like clockwork; there
is no shouting or wild excitement. What a difference between this and some ports I had seen.
Often did I wander to Gatun, where I could have sat for hours watching the ships being put
through the locks, and as I sat there, admiring and fascinated, I called it 'The Silent Canal'.
onaship.Onboardthecaptain ofthevesseldideverything tomakethedayapleasant onefor
me, and the pilot saw to it that I should learn something.
Unless one keeps the eye on the compass one is bound to lose direction completely. I
thought I had developed a good sense in this line, but when at one point the pilot turned to me
to ask me where north was I was completely out. He told me that even expert navigators in-
variably lose their bearings at this very same point, unless, of course, they consult the needle.
This is due to the fact that there are several twists and turns, owing to the nature of the hills
Good Times
The army and navy officials were particularly nice to me, and I was shown as much as time
permitted. On Christmas Day I had dinner with the 4th Field Artillery, in Gatun, and a very
enjoyable evening I spent.
After having stayed for some time in Cristobal, on the Atlantic side, I shifted over to An-
con, on the Pacific, where I stayed for some days.
At the post office something happened that always amuses me when I recall it. I had gone
to buy some stamps and when I saw the word 'gold' written over a window and 'silver' over
away. Although I am not of Scotch origin I did not like the idea of going to 'gold', silver was
quite enough for me, especially as I had only paper notes, silver and nickels on me, so I re-
turned to 'silver' once more, and then the clerk realised that I was a stranger. He explained
that 'gold' was exclusively for white people and 'silver' for the coloured. Much relieved, I
boldly stepped over to 'gold', where I obtained what I wanted, but as I walked away I could
not help thinking that whoever thought of this classification must have been colour-blind, or
else possessed of a very extraordinary sense of humour.
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