9. America

April to May 1888




09. America

APRIL to MAY 1888

Saturday, 28 (April 1888)

       We arrived in the morning at San Francisco.  We docked.  They say that we shall be quarantined.  The little customs launch came to visit us.  They have unladed the silk cargo: each bale costs about $700.  They are not afraid of the silk and of the lunch.

Sunday, 28 April

       The second day of quarantine.  We are bored.  I no longer know how to amuse myself.

Monday, 30

       The quarantine continues.  We sign a protest against the quarantine and the Englishmen write to their consul.

Thursday, 3 May

       Six days of quarantine!

Friday, 4 May

       At three o’clock in the afternoon, the quarantine ended.  I lodged in the Palace Hotel.  $4.00 a day with bath and everything included.  Stockton St. 312.  I saw the Golden Gate . . . (one illegible word).  The customs-house.  A letter of recommendation.  On Sunday the stores are closed.  The best street in San Francisco is Market Street.  Stroll.  – Sanford, the rich man.  -- A street near Chinatown. – We left San Francisco on Sunday, 6 May, at 4:30 in the afternoon.  – Steamer until Oakland.  Train.  – Boat from Port Costa to Benicia.  – Fields.  – Cattle.  There are no huts and shepherds.  Tent. – Supper in Sacramento, 75 cents.  We slept on the train.  The night is middling.  We awoke one hour from Reno where we took breakfast at 7:30, Monday, 7 May.  In . . . (illegible).  I saw an Indian garbed half European and half Indian, leaning against the wall.  Broad desert land with rickety plants, without trees or bushes.  Uninhabited.  Lonely place.  Bare mountains.  Sandy place.  A large extent of white earth which seems like chalk.  Beyond this desert can be seen some blue mountains.  Fine weather.  It is hot and thee is still snow on top of some mountains.

Tuesday, 8 May –

       It is a very beautiful morning.  Immense high and cold region.  We are near Ogden.  I believe that with irrigation and a good system of canals these fields can be rendered fertile.  We are in the State of Utah, the 3rd state through which we have passed [Technically speaking, Rizal is mistaken as Utah was formally admitted as a state in the union on January 4, 1896 - rly].  Near Ogden are horses, oxen, and trees on the prairie.  Some cabins can be seen in the distance.  From Ogden to Denver.  The clock advances one hour.  We are beginning to see yellow flowers on the way.  The mountains in the distance are still covered with snow.  The banks of Salt Lake are beautiful in comparison with what we have seen.  The asses are very large.  There are mountains in the middle, like Talim Island in Laguna de Bay.  Three Mormon lads in Farmington.  There are sheep, horses, and oxen in the fields.  In spite of Mormonism this is not thickly populated.  Flocks of ducks on the lake.  Pretty houses with woodland, poplars, straight streets, flowers, low houses.  Children greet us in Salt Lake City.  In Utah those who wait at tables are women.  It shows that they are many.  In Ogden the train changed and there will not be another until Denver.  In Provo one eats well at 75 cents.  We are traveling though a narrow road between two mountains.

       Wednesday, 9 May – We passed between rocky mountains beside a river along the way.  The river is turbulent and its rippled surface gives life to the dead landscape.  We awoke in Colorado, the 4th state of the United States through which we are traveling.  At 10:30 we go up a height so that we have snow on the sides of the road.  Many pine trees.  The snow on the mountain is of a resplendent whiteness which is dazzling.  We pass under several wooden tunnels, built to protect the road from the snow.  The ice drops inside these tunnels and gives off brilliant reflections in the sunlight, looking like real cascades of diamonds with a magical effect.  The porter of the Pullman car, an American, is somewhat of a thief.  Colorado has more trees than the three states through which we have passed.  There are herds of mules.

Thursday, 10 May –

       We awoke, rather, we were in Nebraska at dawn; the land is a plain.  In the afternoon at 4:00 o’clock we arrived at Omaha, a big city, so big I have not seen one like it since we left San Francisco.  The Missouri River is about twice the Pasig in its widest part.  It is marshy.  There are low islands in the middle; its banks are not pretty.  Herds of mules and cattle in this region.  It takes 2 ½ minutes to cross the bridge over the Missouri; the train goes slowly.  Now we are in Illinois.

Friday, 11 May –

       We awoke near Chicago already.  The region is cultivated.  They announce the proximity of Chicago.  We left Chicago at 8:25 Friday evening.  What I observed in Chicago was that every tobacco shop had a statue of an Indian and always different.  (22-75 Washington St., Boston.  Miss G. G. Smith).

Saturday, 12 May –

       In a good Wagner Car we awoke to a beautiful day.  The region is beautiful and well populated.  In the afternoon we reached English territory and soon we saw Niagara Falls.  We stopped a few hours to go to the most beautiful points.  We went down to the foot of the Falls.  I stood between the rocks and truly it is the most magnificent falls I have seen.  It is not as pretty nor as mysterious beautiful as that in Los Baños, but it is so much more gigantic and imposing that no comparison is possible.  The cataract has several parts, several falls, several portions which any country would be happy to have.  We left at night.  There we hear a mysterious sound, a general echo that is imposing.

Sunday 13 May –

       We awoke near Albany.  It is a large city.  There are various vessels in the Hudson River, which runs along its side.  We cross it on a bridge.  The landscape is beautiful and it has not much to envy in the best in Europe.  We travel along the banks of the Hudson.  The banks of the Hudson are very beautiful although a little lonely in comparison with the Pasig.  There are steamers and boats, trees, and hills, mostly cultivated.  The Hudson is wide.  There are beautiful boats.  The masses of granite had been cut to give way to the railroad.  In some parts, it is very long.  There are beautiful houses amidst trees.  The day is mild.  Our grand transcontinental travel ended on Sunday, 13 May, at 11:10 o’clock in the morning.  We passed through various tunnels.  The Art Age, 75 W. 23rd Street.

       We left New York on 16 May 1888.  There was a crowd at the dock: Those of the 1st class are separate from those of the 2nd class at the entrance.  At 9:00 a beautiful spectacle at the jetty!  White handkerchiefs waving among hat bands, red flowers and other colors. . . . . 


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The Life and of Dr. José Rizal
Dr. Robert L. Yoder