Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
DECEMBER 1939
 
 
 
 
 
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JANUARY 1940
 
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FEBRUARY 1940
 
 
 
 
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MARCH 1940
 
 
 
 
 
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MAR 1940
9

Departing Gorontalo, Sulawesi aboard the Poigar

Written by Edward Beckwith on Saturday, March 9, 1940

The Poigar, a ferry vessel

The Poigar, a ferry vessel that carries passengers along the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Deck of the Poigar

Deck of the Poigar off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Deck of the Poigar

Deck of the Poigar off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Mr. von Elsner went with me to purchase supplies for the boat as none were  available on board. The whole thing came to about 18 guilders. I then air mailed 3 smaller [Bantam] Kodachromes, cost 11.25 guilders. Almost equal to all our supplies.

The day was fine after the heavy rains of the last two days and we hoped it would continue, since bad weather on the boat would mean being closed in at close quarters with a lot of natives.

Spent most of the day packing up, and we have supplies for about a week although we will be on the boat two days and three nights. Went to the town with Hugo to buy a bucket for hauling up salt water for washing, also two enamel ware cups, which we had trouble in finding. I wanted to take some Edam chesse and Hugo made a special effort to find some. There was none, which seemed strange in a Dutch colony. It can be bought everywhere in the Philippines.

We then drove to the port to look at the boat, more from curiosity than anything. The “Poigar” was larger than the “Nasteur” and was a boat carrying natives and freight. The lower deck was piled up with sacks, with goats and chickens¬†on one side. The deck above this was entirely filled with natives, sitting or lying around with all their baggage and cooking things beside them. Towards the stern 2 quite thick mattresses had been placed side to side. We learned that these were for Hugo and me.

There was a family near them with a baby being bounced up and down with by a coiled spring suspended from the ceiling above. There was canvas on the sides of this deck which could be closed in in wet weather. The arrangements were of the most primitive kind possible. There were no bad smells in evidence, however, and it seemed that if the boat were in motion there would be plenty of ventilation. The natives were all quiet and did not seem of the noisy, talkative type.

Miss Tumankol, a native teacher in the Chinese school, came to the hotel to get Hugo to play tennis. While they were away I had a talk with Von Esner about the war. He was very pro German and thought Germany would win. He thought there would be much greater activity this spring and many surprises.

Hugo and Miss Tumankol returned and we had tea, port wine, and peanuts which she had brought us.

At about 8 we went to the boat in 3 carts. Wongso helped with the baggage and seemed efficient. Von Elsner went along mostly out of curiosity to see the boat as he may wish to go on one sometime.

The boat was pretty well crowded with natives and I had a less favorable opinion than in the afternoon. They were talkative. There were smells. A goat was bleating loudly as we came aboard. We learned that the time of leaving was 12 instead of 10.

Hugo and I got our mattresses out and put them on the forward part of the deck near the bow. A native immediately tried to occupy the place we had left under the awning. Hugo made him get out, since we would have to move in if it rained.

I undressed inside my canvas sleeping bag – an invaluable part of my equipment which Daan loaned me. There was much too much noise to sleep, with natives talking and walking on the deck all around us. I finally moved my mattress right up to the railing so that they would only be on one side. The whole boat was thick with them, men, women and children, and their belongings and cooking arrangements were all over. The deck below was so closely packed with freight that it was difficult to get to the staircase to the upper deck where the passengers were. I can imagine the panic that would occur in case of a fire and as far as I could tell the protection was entirely inadequate.

In case of heavy rain and wind I cannot imagine anything worse than this boat.

 

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