Saturday, 22 March 2008

Letter 34 - June 05, (1919)

The George Nungovich Egyptian Hotels Cv., Grand Continental Hotel & D’Angleterre, Cairo

Dear Family,-

I’m still here trying to work – tho the temperature is over 100F in the shade and at least 120 in the sun. As a result the people here do nothing at all (they rarely assert themselves anyway) and it is most impossible to accomplish anything. I’ve been trying to buy Fords, typewriters, stationary etc. for 5 days now – and during spare time trying to get me some shoes and sightsee. I’ve finally located some new Fords- @ £300. Imagine that’s over 400% of the price @ Detroit. But we need them badly so the chances are I’ll take them.

Yesterday I lunched at the local diplomatic club with our Charge d’Affairs. Mr. Gottlieb, a very nice young fellow, and incidentally obtained some valuable information.

In the afternoon Jack Mosseri took me to the Khedeir Club, the aristocratic sporting club of Cairo, where all the generals and Pashas and things drink tea.

In the evening

He took me to one of his relative’s houses for supper. His family is the oldest Jewish family in Cairo, and one of the oldest European families in Egypt. The Cattataonis (where we were) are Pashas (the highest nobility in Egypt) and have a tremendous home. Each room is a masterpiece of architecture and is fitted with luxurious extravagance. Rich silk laces on all couches and chairs, ivory inlaid wood work in the walls and ceilings, a number of beautiful paintings and one of the prettiest Gainsborough’s I’ve ever seen. My fist experience with extreme oriental luxuries has made me quite envious of these people, who really know how to live in their homes.

Reports are current that Weitzman & Brandeis and a number of others are due within the next few days, but as none of them are apparently authentic – I’ll not wait for them but am returning tomorrow evening.

A commission composed of nine Americans including Crane, a Chicago lawyer, Captain Yale, a representative at the Peace Conference and other whom we don’t know is reported to be en route for Constantinople to eventually spend three months in Syria and Palestine to decide on the policy to be followed in these countries. Originally this commission was to have been “Inter-Allied” but it was apparently decided to leave the decision to a neutral nation at the conference. We are optimistic.

Lots of love,


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