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Volume 1280
Remarkable Summer of '93

Chicago World's Fair of 1893
Ch. 6: Midway II
Exotic Lands
July 3, 1893 
Notes & Photos
The Adventures of 
Edgar Rice Burroughs
As Interpreted by
Bill Hillman
I left the girls to their shopping frenzy while I took a quick tour through the adjacent South Sea Islanders' village with its ornate gate, 10-foot high enclosures and bamboo huts.

The huts are all raised above the ground and each one has a portico that serves as a workshop where the natives labour in their construction of weapons, ornaments, cloth, baskets, matting appliances and instruments -- all to the accompaniment of music rendered on native instruments. I was drawn to the source of the music -- a native orchestra in a large thatched theatre that was providing rhythms for ornately costumed dancing girls. 

I was about to pay the 25 cent admission to see the show when Emma caught up with me and "suggested" that we best move on to the Samoan village across the avenue. She had caught a glimpse of the muscled, bare-chested warriors in their war canoes and was sure this would be a great opportunity for me to pick up some pointers to pass along to George and Harry, who were avid oarsmen, having been on the rowing team during their terms at Yale.

Samoan Village..Samoan Village
The entrance to the Samoan village is in the form of a large war canoe, constructed of dark redwood bound with a crude carving of a sea god as a figurehead. Inside, sails made of matting, long oars, a gong, bows, arrows, axes, and other implements of warfare are displayed. The huts, 30-foot high beehive-shaped structures, are constructed of wood from the bread-fruit tree. The men depict the shock of battle in song and dance. They sing war songs, cast spears, throw axes, and paddle their war canoes. The tall, attractive native women perform their own songs and dances which complement those of the male warriors.
Samoan Belle
A Samoan Belle

Reaching the Natatorium we were tempted to leave the sometimes stifling heat of the Midway and join the frolicking bathers, but curiosity lured us on to explore the many other unusual attractions. We came to the 6,000-square-foot panorama of  the Bernese Alps and then entered a portal guarded by the figure of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fires and found ourselves in the volcano of Kalauea.

Turkish Mosque
Turkish Mosque
Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
Turkish cafe on the Midway
Turkish cafe on the Midway
Moorish Palace
Moorish Palace
Leaving the simulated volcano with its heat and glowing lava we passed the Ottoman Empire exhibit with its luxurious pavilions and bazaars, a 60-foot-high  mosque and minaret, a theatre, and Turkish sedan bearers giving 75-cent-rides to tourists. Passing exotic articles of furniture and decoration we made our way to the adjoining Moorish Palace with its wax museum of famous people through history. Integrated with the wax figures are hundreds of distorted mirrors placed at unusual angles to form a labyrinth in which visitors become disoriented and confused -- to everyone's amusement. The girls laughed as they saw their girlish figures balloon to matronly proportions and then shrink to broomstick size.

I had read in the Chicago newspaper that mother had sent to the Academy a few months ago, that it was from this mosque that the Muezzin had summoned the faithful to the dedication ceremonies. Over 3,000 of them -- mostly Shriners in red Fezzes -- came in a long procession headed by a military band. 

In front of the oriental bazaar are reproductions of two ancient monuments, Cleopatra's needle and the Serpentine column. The latter is fashioned of three intertwining serpents, and was erected at Delphi. An attraction in the village familiar to most visitors is a small, white-bearded  man whom Mark Twain -- a favorite author of mine -- introduced to the world in Innocents Abroad as his Constantinople guide, "far-away Moses."

Twain's Constantinople Guide

German Castle
The German Village covers about one sixth of the northern side of the Plaisance and is made up of 36 structures illustrating the mediaeval architecture and rich cultural history of Bavaria: a tall German castle with chapel and armoury and surrounded by peasant houses, dining rooms, town hall, museum, and the Edelweiss beer garden. 

The queue was too long for us to consider visiting the beer garden -- and Emma again expressed her disinterest in castles -- but just as we were about to move along I was thrilled by the sights and sounds of a 48-piece military band in red, white and blue uniforms, that had just started its musical march from the village and down the Midway. This was the band we had heard previously during our ride on the Ferris Wheel.

Persian Palace
Persian Palace
Persian sword dancers
Persian Sword Dancers
We followed the band past the Zoopraxiscopic hall that features regular lectures on animal locomotion as applied to art. I attended a very instructional lecture on drawing horses here last week and was hoping to catch some of this week's lectures on jungle animals. Noting that it would be some time before the next lecture we stayed in step with the band, leaving them to enter the Persian Palace 

Emma was all for buying one of the famous Persian carpets being woven in the booths as she thought this would be a fine gift to take home to the Hulberts. She went so far as to enter haggling negotiations with Barsoom, the carpet maker, when I dissuaded her, reminding her that we had many hours of fair-going ahead of us and that the rug would be much too cumbersome to carry through the crowds. 

Instead, we took in the entertainments offered in the theatre. Before us, in a small pit, magicians thrust knives and swords into various portions of the body, while tall, swarthy athletes swung clubs, wrestled, and threw heavy weights. The girls could take such sweaty spectacles in only small doses and we soon wended our way back to the Palace lobby area.

Donkey Boys in Streets of Cairo
Donkey Boys in Streets of Cairo
Temple of Luxor
Temple of Luxor
Streets of Cairo on Midway
Streets of Cairo on Midway
.In great contrast to the Persian splendour are the sights, sounds and smells of the street of the nearby ancient African city of Cairo. The street teems with Arabs, merchants, donkey boys, half-naked wrestlers, oriental musicians, performing monkeys, snake charmers, slapstick jesters upon camels and Arab dancing girls. 

 I hurried the girls past the entrance of the Hoochie Coochie show with its long line of male patrons waiting to see Little Egypt's afternoon appearance. Bert and I and some of the other cadets had visited this attraction numerous times last month. We all marveled at the girl's exotic beauty and her exotic gyrations. In fact, we had even bought a few sets of racy stereoviews from a peddler hawking his wares. He had assured us that most of the packaged cards were of Little Egypt but they were just regular peep show views -- a bit of a disappointment. 

Little EgyptArab harem dancing girlsAfricans Arabs bandarab village street
Little Egypt ~ Arab Harem Dancing Girls ~ African Arab Band ~ Arab Village Street
A fascinating character in the Cairo street is Hadj Hamud Nuir, an eccentric fortune teller descended from a long line of seers. At the end of the street is a copy of the ancient temple of Luxor with walls, inside and out, painted to represent the warlike deeds of the Rameses and the events in the lives of the Pharaohs. 

From the mosque towering above this melee came the mid-afternoon chant: "God is great; God is great. There is only one God, and Mohammed is his prophet. Let us pray; let us begin. God is great; God is great."

We passed the Ferris wheel again, on our loop back along the Midway. vowing to take our second ride sometime after dark to experience a bird's eye view of the fairyland of electric lights.

Chinese Theatre
Chinese Theatre

Chinese Women
Chinese Joss House
Chinese Joss House
Chinese Stereoview Card
Almost all of the Chinese village is contained under one roof, including the Joss-house and drama theatre. The Chinese Joss-house is a place of worship for believers in Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Joss is the central figure, and there are many Josses, the chief one occupying the post of honor enthroned in hand-embroidered robes. In front of him are incense burners, cups of tea for him to drink, calabashes of water for his toilet, and vases filled with huge artificial roses, while prayers and praises are inscribed on the sides and background of the dais. Lions and griffins guard the doors and keep watch beside the shrines; and illustrating episodes in Chinese history are figures in wood and clay, with lanterns in many fantastic forms. 
AsianA gallery room with oriental furniture
Here and in another gallery is a collection of oriental furniture, curiosities, literature and works of art. Among them is the great dragon of China, 36 feet long and mounted on a pedestal, with mirror-like eyes and scales of burnished brass. Much of what is represented here was probably in use at least four centuries before the Columbian era. 
We eventually found our way to the theatre.  Chinese drama is rather odd with bearded actors playing multiple roles facilitated by rapid costume changes. No women appear on the stage, as the female roles are represented by female impersonators adorned in heavy makeup and elaborate costumes. These actors are so adept in their roles as women that anyone not knowing the conventions of Chinese theatre would be totally taken in by their performances. They are certainly far better at it than the lads who played the girls' parts in last December's Christmas pageant back at the Academy. 

Click for full-size preview collage
Thousands more Chinese Stereoview Cards from this time period in our Hillman site:
Bedouin Camp
Arab Girl
Next we approached the Algerian and Tunisian village which provided another chance to study Arab and Africa culture. I came across many items of interest in the bazaar: long barreled muskets, old fashioned flint-lock pistols, jewel encrusted gold handled scimitars with finely tempered blades, as well as fine embroideries, jewelry and perfumes. 

Around the nearby Bedouin camp, suggestive of desert life, camel drivers shout at their stubborn beasts, which refuse to rise when too heavily burdened. Not far away are snake charmers, conjurers, as well as swordsmen and swordswomen putting on intricate displays of sword trickery with fearsome scimitars. 

We stayed long enough to see the ubiquitous dancing girls perform their provocative scarf, sword, and belly dances. We then made a hasty retreat part-way into the men's savage torture dance which Emma found revolting.

The Dahomey village, inhabited by West African negroes, consists of native huts made of rough mud walls thatched with saplings along with wooden floors and glassless windows. They contain very few pieces of furniture and the inhabitants sleep on the floor rolled in skins or homemade coarse blankets. One of the huts, an open structure, serves as kitchen and dining room. Most of the living huts double as workshops. I noticed the village blacksmith in one hut. His principal business appeared to be the sharpening of spear heads and the repairing of the spikes which protrude from Dahomean war clubs. Their tradition is that the Dahomey women, if not nursing their babies, go forth to till the soil or to fight, leaving tasks like embroidery and weaving to the men. I first saw these fierce black amazons in one of the Midway parades in which they gave a most impressive performance. These warrior women hold positions of esteem and are the most trusted guards of Dahomey royalty.


Dahomey Amazon Warrior Women

Dahomey King
A large, unwalled shed with thatched roof serves as a theatre. At one end we observed a group of naked musicians playing their grotesque instruments. Meanwhile, seated on a platform, the obese king leaned forward with his hands resting on a club while a slave held a sheltering umbrella over him. The start of the frantic percussion and singing from the band launched 30 warriors -- men and women -- into their barbaric war dance. As the dancers whirled into a frenzy, they brandished their weapons as though nothing would delight them more than to kill and destroy. Women in the audience, Emma included, stayed huddled in the arms of their male companions until the music and dancers reached a crescendo of screams and shouts, followed by complete motionless silence. I suggested to Emma that we visit this exhibit again during future visits.
An African Bimba
Eskimos and whips
Eskimos with whips
There are two Exposition colonies from the Arctic: one of Eskimos from Labrador, and the other from Lapland  in Norway. The Eskimo, or Inuit, colony consists of several families, each living in a cabin covered with moss or bark. They even had a snow house during the first weeks of the fair. Displayed in a lodge are kayaks with paddles, harpoons, nets, sleeping bags, and all the other articles needed for the outfit of an Inuit hunter. Within the enclosure is an arm of the lagoon, where the Inuit demonstrate their methods of boating, fishing, and seal hunting. Strong, furry dogs -- Eskimo draught animals -- have the run of the village. A feature attraction is a sled driven by a whip-wielding Eskimo boy dressed in seal skin clothes: tunic, pantaloons, moccasins and hood.
Bedouin Encampment
Bedouin Prize Steed
One of the most remarkable attractions at the western extremity of the Midway is another encampment of Bedouins known as the Wild East show. It consists of a typical group of Arabs with their dromedaries and steeds. The men are dressed in native costumes and are armed with scimitars and spears. 

I've often seen them parade along the avenue, chanting in discordant notes. Upon the fence of their encampment are crude paintings showing Arabian life in the desert, and within the enclosure Bedouins live in their tents with their families. 

The Arab horsemen indulge in various games and contests of speed and weaponry, as with loud shouts they race around the course. Many of their riding styles resemble some of the exhibition performances we put on in Detroit this spring. Their Arabian horse Aigme is one of the fastest horses I have ever seen. 

After the money that father paid for Captain, I would doubt that he would be interested in helping me buy this incredible steed -- but I can dream.

Totem Poles of the Quackuhl Indians
Proctor's Indian
Proctor's Cowboy
We saw several exhibits by North American Indians including the original log cabin of Sitting Bull and numerous relics from the battlefield at the Little Big Horn where General Custer met his death.

Sitting Bull's Log Cabin
Other intriguing attractions we visited on our way out of the Midway included the California ostrich farm and the captive balloon -- I'll never forget my first ride in that tossing gondola basket -- and of course I proudly pointed out the grounds devoted to military encampments. It was with a feeling of regret that I noticed that another military unit has already moved into the area that we abandoned last week.

Michigan Military Academy Camp

Lillian RussellFlorenz Ziegfeld
Lillian Russell  ~  Florenz Ziegfeld

Before leaving the Midway though, I couldn't resist leading the girls to another exhibit I've visited numerous times over the last few weeks. During my time at Brown School I had heard many stories of two flamboyant students who had attended the school a few years before -- Florenz Ziegfeld and Lillian Russell. Surprisingly, both were involved in entertainment on the grounds. I had missed Miss Russell's performance, but when I heard that Flo had put together an attraction for the Midway I made a point of seeking him out. 

Eugen Sandow

Click for full-size preview collage
He was very excited about Eugen Sandow -- a body builder and physique artist he had discovered, whose musculature suggests the grace and form of ancient Greek statuary. Flo had brought Sandow to Chicago to perform in his father's night club, the Trocadero, but they had been lured by the excitement of the Midway and they now make regular appearances on the grounds. 

Flo was outside the tent doing his regular spiel to attract the Midway visitors and I soon caught his eye. After swapping a few more tales about our days at Brown, Flo took time to lead me and my female companions past the long queue of patrons awaiting admission to see the Great Sandow perform. Men and women alike are obviously impressed by the display of large pictures that decorate the entire front of the exhibit entrance. In most of these photographs Sandow wears only a leopard skin loin cloth or, more daring still, a fig leaf!  Every nude pose emphasizes the incredible muscular development of this strong man. 

The super man's feats of strength are truly amazing. Ziegfeld is so confident in the strongman's abilities that he offers $10,000 to anyone who can come close to matching his display of strength. Sandow still seems to be smarting, however, over the way Ziegfeld had introduced him to the Fair goers a few weeks ago. He had him sit in a small cart to be pushed around the grounds by a hunchback. I think Flo has quite a future as a promoter and showman.

Ziegfeld's boast that Sandow is the prime attraction at the Fair is not an idle one, as Chicago's richest and fairest are all clamoring to see the perfect man perform. He confided that he and Sandow are planning to add a daring and spectacular feature to the act: a barehanded fight to the death with a man-eating lion! Needless to say, the girls were quite impressed by all of this -- Jessie went so far as to ask Sandow if he had any plans for sharing his regimen with ladies to develop a perfect female body. 

We didn't have time to leave the grounds to show off my old stomping grounds, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, which is located just outside the gate. We were amused, however, at Flo's claim that at age 16 he out shot Annie Oakley in a shooting match and had run away to join Buffalo Bill's troupe. Emma and Jessie, who had been entertained by many tall tales from this colorful showman, both rolled their eyes at that one. As soon as father gives me another day off from manning our ABC exhibit I'll take the girls over to see the show. It'll be a thrill, especially if I get to ride as a standby rider again. 



Illumination and the Great Search Light

As the sun dropped below the western horizon, we moved over to watch the water and music show of the "colored fountains," where we waited for the electrical illumination of the Fairgrounds. 

We joined the crowd in a cheer as we were blinded by the igniting of the thousands of electric lights adorning the gilded dome of the Administration Building and the entire Court of Honor. This was followed by the nightly fireworks display over Lake Michigan. It is hard to imagine a display more impressive than this, but according to the newspaper announcements and posters there will be an even more extraordinary show tomorrow as part of the Independence Day celebrations. 

Father's decision to delay the debut ride of our Electrical Horseless Carriage for tomorrow looks like a wise one as there will be record crowds on the grounds. 

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Edgar Rice Burroughs' 
Remarkable Summer of '93
Chapter 7: Master Mind of
The World of Tomorrow
A Docu-Fiction Series by Bill Hillman
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See Scandalous Images of Unclad Beauties
Peep Show Stereoviews Album No. 6
ERBzine 1280s
Remarkable Summer of '93
A Docu-Novel by Bill Hillman
Ch. I: Welcome to Chicago's
Columbian Exposition
Ch. 2: Invasion of the 
Boys from Orchard Lake
Ch. 3: Grand Adventure
Strange New Worlds
Ch. 4: Magic City
The White City
StereoViews: Chicago
StereoViews: Buildings
StereoViews: Exhibits I
StereoViews: Exhibits II
Ch. 5: Midway Adventure I
The Great Wheel
Ch. 6: Midway Adventure II
Exotic Lands
Ch. 7: Master Mind of 
The World of Tomorrow
Ch. 8
Ed and His Electric Flyer
StereoViews: Midway
StereoViews: Peep Shows
StereoViews: Ed's Tour I
StereoViews: Ed's Tour II
Ch. 9
Complete All-Text Version
Ch. 10
Sister Jessie's Notebook
Ch. 11
Web Refs & Appendix
PART II: Time Shift Adventure
Back to ERB's Tarzana Ranch
Ed's Tour III
StereoViews from ERB Library
Souvenirs | Tours: IV | V | VI
Back To Tarzana: All Text

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