21 September 2012

CoC - Gaslight: Ah, Egypt!

We arrived at Alexandria on the 1 December 1890. It was a glorious day and the wind carried with it the first scents of the exotic country we were about to enter. As I disembarked I was immediately fascinated by the smells, the people, and the atmosphere. A few hours later we were to board our train to Cairo. So there was no time to explore the town.

In the evening we entered Cairo and were brought to our accommodations in the Shepheard's Hotel. We were all tired from the journey. Hence we all went to our rooms and retired for the night.

The Shepheard's Hotel (1880)
The next morning we all met for breakfast. Even Dr. Burnside was in an agreeable mood. I guess to have had the opportunity to share his pain with us without being judged had taken a big weight of his shoulders.

We knew we had only one short day in this city, so we accepted Mr Roquefort's proposal to show us a little bit of this amazing place. But he had some urgent business to attend to that morning. So we agreed to meet at 3 pm.

I took the opportunity to walk around a little bit in the near vicinity of the hotel. And I started to like the surroundings. If Cairo has one major flaw, it is its climate. The heat and the absence of even a slight breeze was nearly intolerable. I guess you had to grow up with it, to really get used to it. Nearing noon, I fled the heat and went back to the hotel where I met Sir Jeffrey, who suffered in the same way as I was. We exchanged pleasantries about the weather and the city and distracted ourself with a game of Cribbage. Afterwards I left for my room to change and get ready for our private tour of Cairo.

It is no secret that I sometimes cannot agree with how Mr Roquefort behaves or handles matters. But I have to admit, he showed us parts of Cairo which not many Europeans will ever see. Most of the time we were the only non-Egyptians in the streets. He provided us with very useful insides like not to drink the water but to drink peppermint tea instead. The reason being that the water would almost certainly make you sick. Also warm tea should be better to quench one's thirst in this heat. It took a while getting used to it, but he was absolutely right. For the conclusion of our tour he brought us to the local equivalent of a café. There we had some coffee which is called Mocca here and comes in a rather small cup. But it had to because it was pretty strong stuff. Afterwards my transpiration increased and I felt my heart pounding in my chest. But overall it was not an unpleasant experience. Then he ordered something called a Sheesha. It is some strange smoking-apparatus, where the tobacco-fumes are bubbling through water before they get inhaled through a long tube. I had never been the smoking before, but I gave it a try. It was not particularly bad but I guess I am just not the smoking type.

We had a vivid discussion about our situation, and who we could trust. Dr Burnside pointed us to the fact that Inspector Fox seems to be rather attached to his bag. I don't remember how brought it up, but in the end we all suspected he might carry the Ibis-dagger with him which was used to kill Higgins, the butler. We also agreed that if push came to shove Fox might be the only person on this whole expedition, who would not be working against us. Unluckily he appeared more and more exhausted during the journey.

Our - in hindsight - rather paranoid conversation was interrupted by a young boy who delivered a small metal figurine of a cat to Mr Roquefort. He was rather upset about seeing it and told us that an old lady-friend of his must be in trouble, and that he had to meet her immediately. Since Mr Roquefort couldn't tell how long this would take, Dr Burnside didn't want to come along. He pointed out he had to attend to Inspector Fox this night, because he had had serious trouble sleeping because of some rather strange dreams. Hence only I accompanied Mr Roquefort to his friend. What I heard and saw there, I will never forget in my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment