quinta-feira, 7 de março de 2013

O diário de Walter Richardson (1902): exclusivo Macau Antigo - 2ª parte

Tal como prometido no post anterior, aqui ficam os excertos inéditos do diário de Walter L.  Richardson cedidos pelo neto William T. Coyle. 
"My grandfather was born in 1872 in Waltham, Mass., USA, and died in 1956 in Porterville, California, USA. This is an unpublished piece (about 50 double-spaced pages) he wrote for his four children (one being my mother) close to the time he passed away. The diary excerpt I sent you is from his unpublished diaries (6 hand-written volumes) which I transcribed about 10 years ago." Bill Coyle

Hong Kong, China Wednesday, December 17, 1902: We breakfasted at eight o’clock this morning and then went out for a stroll while we were waiting for a chap here in the hotel to go out with us to buy some clothing, etc. We went down Queen’s Road with its arcade of shops the whole length of the street.  At a Chinese tailor shop I ordered a suit of clothes and took my bolt of silk down to have it made into two suits. These Chinese are quick, polite and good businessmen.  They are like the Indians in driving a good bargain. Some places have only one price and they will not come down.  I purchased a beautiful camphor wood box for $7.00, a little more than $2.50 gold. The money here is Mexico dollars mostly but there is a Hong Kong coinage and currency.  Some of the Chinese speak very good English but the Pidgin English is more generally understood. I bought a few small articles and then returned to the hotel for dinner. After lunch I went down to the Steam Ship N.D.L. Cos. office and got my ticket changed for another. I will go on the boat sailing on the 25th, Christmas Day. I ordered another suit of clothes at another place. I was amused at how the tailor took my measurements. He had a piece of paper like a ribbon and he took all the measurements upon it and doubled it up and bit a little piece out for each measurement. 
Hong Kong, China Thursday, December 18, 1902: It has been raining all the morning but in spite of the rain Mr. Bingham and I got out and went around town a little. The streets are arcaded in places or rather the sidewalks so that one does not get wet. We went down and found out the sailing of one of the Chinese steamers for Canton. This is a good comfortable boat that will take us for two dollars. We about made up our minds to go this evening but it looked so cloudy and rainy that we decided to go to Macao next morning if it did not rain. We took a long walk out towards Happy Valley where we looked at street life and amused ourselves till nearly teatime.  Hong Kong is an interesting place. The Chinese here are a pretty smart lot, they have rubbed against the Europeans so long. The men wear their large bamboo hats and palm leaf suits to keep the rain off.
Macao, China Friday, December 19, 1902: The hotel attendant called us early this morning as agreed and got our breakfast ready so that we might catch the 7 AM boat for Macao. We took two chairs down to the wharf and only reached there just in time. The morning was rather foggy and as good for getting views as we could wish.  The first stop that we made was at Seng Chau, a small but picturesque little fishing village on the next island to Hong Kong. Sampans came out to take some of the Chinese passengers off and bring others aboard. There was an incessant uproar.  It only takes a few excited people here to make a good deal of noise.  Women at the oars behind scull these little crafts as though their lives depended upon it.  Whole families are born and raised upon these boats and live and die there.  There is always a woman with large trousers at the helm. She gives orders and seems to run things to suit herself.  She cooks and does all of her work there as well as taking care of a family of children.  We are crossing the Pearl River. There are many barren mountainous islands that we pass among.  On these islands there appears to be no one living.  Junks are sailing about here and there and some pass quite close to us. As we got further out, the sea became a good deal rougher.  The wind was pretty strong and the little boat plunged a good deal.  I was quite sick for about a half an hour.  We are in sight of Macao now.  It looks very pretty.  The blue sea dotted with the brown matting sails of the junks and the white and buff-colored buildings among the green of the land makes a pretty picture. 
The small peninsula of Macao is a Portuguese colony.  The Portuguese occupied this place in 1622. (Nota: os estabelecimento dos portugueses em Macau é de 1554-57) It was given to them for the services they rendered in destroying the pirates that terrorized the population along the coast.  The Chinese government used to exact certain sums of money from the Portuguese up to 1848. Then the governor tried to stop this but was murdered.  Trouble followed and since then Portugal’s right to Macao has been maintained.  We go around to the other side of the city that we first see, between hundreds of junks and sampans and tie up to a little wharf.  It is a busy sight all along the water front. Here are large junks unloading all kinds of cargo.  Some of the junks are mounted with old iron cannons. These weapons are not as useful as they were once, but there are still pirates on this river. There are boats unloading fish, which they are drying. There are many kinds of fish displayed here. Some of them are almost transparent and delicately colored. The odor from this place is anything but pleasant.  We engaged jinrickshas to take us to the hotel.  
At King Kee’s Hotel  (Nota: King Hee hotel) we found the proprietor, a fat faced good-natured man of whom we engaged rooms and board for the day.  The hotel is a good roomy building and the table is first class.  We went for a walk along the promenade, Praia Grande that is lined with beautiful trees and is along the sea wall.  We went up around Fort San Francisco where we took a photograph of the city.  There is a very pretty garden near this fort. As we were returning there was a wedding procession. It was impossible to see the bride and groom. They were in large sedan chairs that were covered up. The bearers and all were decorated in red. There were children participating as well. They bore large red signs decorated in golden Chinese characters. Then came the presents consisting of pieces of furniture enough to furnish a house all borne by men. It was a novel sight.   
We had a very good dinner on our return to the hotel and afterwards we took a jinricksha each and went out to see the town. These ricksha boys are so used to tourists that without a question they will take you out to see all the sights and bring you back to the hotel again or if you get in one at night they will take you straight to a gambling house or in the morning to your boat. Mr. Bingham took a view of the ruins of the Jesuit Church of San Paulo, which was destroyed in 1835 by fire. The façade is of granite and has some carvings upon it and bronze statues in niches.  Just above this upon the hill there is one of the old Portuguese forts.  It is still in use and is a sightly place. 
We were next taken to the garden and grotto of Camões named for the distinguished Portuguese poet (1524-1580).  This is a beautifully kept garden and there are some nice flowers in bloom now.  Many large boulders add to the beauty of the scene.  Graceful bamboo and pretty foliated trees grow all about.  Upon the hillside and under a group of boulders there is a statue and some inscriptions to Luiz de Camões. Returning to our jinrikshas our boys took us down through some busy market streets. Streets and walks alike crowded with baskets of fowl, fruit, eggs and all manner of Chinese delicacies hanging from poles.  Here are live hogs with a bamboo net braided tightly over them.  We stopped at a gate where many children were gathered about. On going inside this proved to be a silk factory. There were hundreds of women here each sitting with a basin of hot water in front of her in which silk cocoons were popping up and down. The woman would delicately gather several ends, thread them through an eye, and fasten them upon a wheel that was revolving slowly behind her. They gave us some samples when we left.  At the gate we were beset by Chinese youngsters who all wanted cumsha (a present). 

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