Suez Canal Day 4

St Barbara's Web Diary
Peter & Sue Goldsmith
Mon 28 Apr 2008 08:51

30:35N 32:16E

12.00 28th April

Half way up the Suez is a harbour where I sit, there isn't any other harbour
quite like this.
Its not at the bottom, its not at the top. But this is the harbour where we
always stop.
With special thanks to Kermit the Frog I thought I'd start today's blog with
poetry! We are moored pleasantly alongside and now waiting for the wind to
move a little before setting off for the second half of the canal and our
emergence into the Med. Its anticipated that we'll be able to do so tomorrow
so not long to wait.

Ismailia is a friendly, very laid back place. Gone are the tourist shops and
harassment of vendors. Most people look curiously at us but always with a
smile and a warm welcome. We are here over the Egyptian Easter week-end so
things are a bit strange - perhaps how it used to be at home. Yesterday was
a quiet day in town with many shops shut and little hustle and bustle. The
call to prayer from the minarets of the mosques competed with the ringing of
church bells and around midday the sound of fire crackers being let off
outside the Christian churches - in celebration I am sure. Today is
completely different. At 0800hrs, if we were not awake already, the sound
system started up on the beach opposite the harbour (about 400m away) and by
the time I emerged the beach was packed, people were in the water and on
pedaloes and the party was fully underway - not bad for 0830 in the morning.

This town of Ismailia was created in the late 19th century with the opening
of the canal, so doesn't have a long history. It does however have some very
attractive, colonial style buildings with wooden balconies and carved
shutters and door frames. Everything is, in the inimitable style of this
country, in need of some tender loving care, a good rub down and some
varnish or paint and you could imagine it being very attractive. There are a
number of canals, so the place is often compared with Amsterdam, although
this is perhaps by people who have taken the long way here from the
Netherlands and are very homesick! There are lots of formal gardens, all
very well tended with plenty of colourful flowers, lots of effort and lots
of pride. This is also the first place where we have seen as many women out
as men, the park in the centre of town was full of families, children
playing with mums and dads. Its a really great little place.

Hopeful that the weather is kind for the next few days. Our plan is to motor
the rest of the canal with a pilot then once in the Med and with favourable
winds, we will passage north to the Turkish coast. We are heading to a
harbour near Bodrum, but may stop of at a Greek island, perhaps Rhodes,
if that's where the wind takes us - more of that as it unfolds, for today
its back to Easter bank holiday and celebrations, for he is risen, again!