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Volume 6813
Wartime Journals of Correspondent Edgar Rice Burroughs :: December 1942-April 1943
DIARY OF A CONFUSED OLD MAN
or Buck Burroughs Rides Again

Written April 1943 ~ Copyright ERB, Inc.
Shared by Danton Burroughs from his Burroughs Family Archive
Transcribed and Illustrated for ERBzine by Bill Hillman
PAGE THIRTEEN

Australia: December 27 and 28
. . . drinking and there was a lot, but I never had too much myself and do not recall having seen anyone else who had had too much. There must be some psychological explanation for it that has to do with the effect of war on the nervous system. Perhaps a subconscious awareness that one must always be ready for any emergency.

Had breakfast with Sam on the 27th (December 27). Then, it being Sunday, I decided to see something of Sydney. Took a train to Manly Ferry, and had a thirty-five minute trip through Sydney Harbor (Port Jackson, I think it is called) to Manly. The tram and ferry were loaded with a typical holiday crowd, nearly all carrying boxes of lunch, bathing suits, towels, and fishing gear. There was standing room only. It was rainy and cold and I don't like crowds, but I enjoyed the experience.

Manly is something of a Coney Island, and it was crowded. Manly Pool, the largest in Australia, was next to the ferry landing. It looked about 800 feet long and was protected its full length from sharks by vertical iron bars. I visited the Aquarium and watched several large sharks, stingrays and other "denizens of the deep". One shark was fully 12 feet long. They are wicked looking devils. And, regardless of what Dr. Beebe says, they eat people.

Returning to town, I took a huge double deck camouflaged bus along winding roads over innumerable hills through a district of neat bungalows to The Spit by Middle Harbour where a fifteen year old girl had been killed by a shark in two feet of water the day before. There I changed to a tram and came into town over the great bridge that is the pride of Sydney. The whole trip cost me 28 cents US money.

Sydney is a beautiful city. Unlike Rome, which was built on seven hills, Sydney appears to have been built on seven hundred hills. Every spot that is not built upon is green with lawn or trees or shrubbery. The great harbour is reaches into innumerable coves and inlets between the hills and and there lie pleasant craft and houseboats.

Back at Usher's, I stopped at Sam's room, Ham was with him. They twisted my arm. We three played poker again for about an hour this afternoon. I couldn't get used to the fact that Australian paper money had any value. It was like stage money to me, and I tossed it around recklessly. Pretty soon I had won so much that they wouldn't play with me any more. They never played with me again.

Capt. Ronald Adams, USMC, phoned and asked me over to the Australia Hotel for cocktails and dinner. His other guests were two Australian girls. In the cocktail lounge we were told that there was no more Scotch. I think the hotels have some kind of rationing system. After they have sold a certain amount during a day, they say they have no more. But I have found that if one has a pull, one can always get it. So we went over to Usher's for cocktails and back to the Australia for dinner. One of Adams' guests was elderly, the other young. I smelled mouse. So, figuring that the plan was to unload the old dame on me, I excused myself after dinner and went back to my room.

Monday the 28th was the fourth holiday. I not only could send out no laundry; but I couldn't get a hair cut, which I needed badly. Colonel Duprez took me over to 7 Winyard and introduced me to Wilson C. Flake, American consul, for no good reason. Authorizing Tarzan seems to have placed me in the same category with the two headed boy. Only nobody pays admission to see me.



The Manly Ferry: South Steyne

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