Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THE RMS FRANCONIA CIRCLED the world in 1929. Yesterday’s Part 1 got us from New York to Monaco. Today we complete the circumnavigation, with even a couple of interesting variations, with information gleaned from The Supreme Travel Adventure: Around the World in the Franconia 1929, Cunard Line and Thos. Cook & Son, 1928.

How to Dress? “A good supply of lightweight summer clothing and Palm Beach suits will be desirable….  Passengers will be expected to dress mainly for comfort, but they should be prepared for semi-dress occasions…. full dress being essential only for official functions.”

You’re advised, “A sun helmet will be desirable but it can best be secured en route.”

Holy Land Adventures. Optional Tour No. 5, Monday, February 4, to Sunday, February 10, travels from the port of Haifa to Jerusalem by train, then by aeroplane over “the Wilderness of Judea and the waters of the Dead Sea that cover the Site of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Motor car and horseback then take tourers to Ain Musa (the Fountain of Moses) and Petra (“one of the most mysterious of Eastern cities”) and back to Jerusalem. Then on to Cairo for two days and catching up with the Franconia at Suez. 

Ceylon. “According to the natives,” the book says, “the Island of Ceylon is situated only forty miles from heaven; a fortunate thing for Adam, who is supposed to have landed on its highest mountain peak when he was thrown out of Paradise.”

A native market in Ceylon (today’s Sri Lanka). Source of “fruits, cocoanuts, sweet cakes, tobacco, tea, sandal wood, baskets, mats, and a hundred and one odd knickknacks.” 

“An Inland Tour will be made by automobiles to the picturesque city of Kandy, the old capital, where we visit the famous ‘Temple of the Tooth,’ the marvelous Botanical Garden at Peradeniya, one of the finest of the East, and other points of interest.”

Readers of SimanaitisSays may recall Sam Spade’s Kandy Tooth Caper.

Shanghai. “Shanghai boasts a real European theater, a racecourse and no less than four public parks reserved for foreigners. In contrast to the modern city is the old native town, enclosed by a wall and containing narrow, winding streets and ancient Chinese houses.”

“Shanghai—The Bund. China’s most modern and imposing thoroughfare stretches along the harbor front, lined by foreign banking and commercial establishments, government buildings and clubs.” 

As I noted here at SimanaitisSays, “I remember The Bund and its Peace Hotel (now part of the Fairmont chain). Colleague Tim Considine and I enjoyed single malts in its rooftop bar. We were entertained there by a duet, a woman playing alto sax; a man, on electric piano. Their favorite number was ‘Fascination.’ Indeed, to the best of my memory, it was their only one.”

Thanks for your familiarity with The Bund, Tim. He passed away earlier this month at age 81. 

Japan, April 20 to April 29. The Franconia sails to Kobe on the Inland Sea of Japan “which is called the Paradise of the World.” 

Optional Tour No. 13, Sunday, April 21 to Monday, April 29, includes “the principal points of interest in Kobe, Nara and Kyoto with other members of the Cruise. From Kyoto the night express train with sleeping cars attached will be taken on Tuesday to Miyanoshita.” After two days of its “scenery, cherry trees, invigorating climate and splendid views of Mt. Fuji,” Friday is spent in Tokyo with a Saturday visit to Nikko. The book cites a poem about the latter: “Tonight I stay at the Summit Temple./Here I could pluck the stars with my hand.” 

“On Monday, motor in and around Yokohama and to Kamakura, rejoining the ‘Franconia’ that afternoon.” 

Kamakura’s Daibutsu, erected in 1252. “Within the head of the great Buddha is also a small Buddha of gold.” 

Inclusive extra fare for Tour No. 13 was $75; figure perhaps $1260 in today’s dollar. And a real bargain.

Decisions, Decisions: The remainder of the Franconia Cruise back to New York includes the Hawaiian Islands, Los Angeles, the Panama Canal Zone, and Havana. Or….

Homeward Route A: “As an exclusive feature of the ‘Franconia’ Cruise we have made special arrangement for a limited number of members who so desire to return home from Yokohama via Manchuria and the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow, then across Europe…. The extra from Yokohama via Miyanoshita, Shimonoseki, Harbin, Moscow, then via Warsaw to Berlin, providing for railway and sleeping car tickets, all meals, transfers, sightseeing drives, etc. and the services of our representatives is $650 in addition to the Full Cruise Fare. Full allowance has been made for the unused section of the Cruise from Yokohama.”

In retrospect there’s second guessing, not inconsequentially October 28, 1929.  ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022

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