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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

There were only two sawars and no animals


Girdi-chah (altitude 2,200 feet), a desolate spot in a desolate region, remains impressed in the minds of visitors merely and only for the vileness of its water. Sadek brought me a glass of it for inspection, and it was so thick with salt and dirt that it resembled in colour and density a mixture of milk and coffee. In flavour I do not know what it was like because I would not drink it, but I induced Sadek to try it and let me know, and he said that it tasted like salt, sand, and bad eggs mixed together. Unluckily, Sadek had omitted to fill the skins with good water at Warmal, and after our long march of 36 miles we should have been in a bad plight, had not the Beluch men in charge of the other caravan offered us some good water from their supply to drink and cook with.

The post station at Girdi has a high wall round it, with two rooms for _sawars_, and one adjoining for their families, and grain shop. There are four watch towers at the corners of the wall of sun-dried bricks, and a path on the top to go from one tower to the other. A canal has been cut to drain as much rain water (the only water obtainable here) as possible into a small pond, but the pond was nearly dry and only had in it some filthy salt water densely mixed with camel refuse. It was of a ghastly green with patches of brown, and some spots of putrefaction in circular crowns of a whitish colour. The surface was coated with a deposit of sand, dirt and salt.

justify;">A few yards from the British Consular post-house stood a small hut in which two Persian Customs soldiers were stationed. They were picturesquely attired in peaked white turbans, long yellow coats, leather belts with powder and bullet pouches, and various other adjuncts. They were armed with long, old-fashioned matchlocks.

These men and the postal _sawars_ complained of the terrible water--and no wonder!--but although they seemed painfully worn and thin it had not actually caused them any special illness so far. They generally laid in a small supply of better water from the well six miles off.

On our way in that direction when we left the next morning we again saw in the distance to the east and south-east four or five ruined cities. Tamarisk was plentiful and grew to quite a good height.

We passed the post-house of Nawar-chah with its well of fairly good water. The well was some three feet in diameter and water had been struck fifteen feet below the surface. The shelter, with a low mud enclosure round it, was very similar to the one at Mahommed Raza-chah.

At each post-house one was generally greeted by a Beluch cat with pointed ears, who came out in the hopes of getting a meal, then by picturesque, bronzed-faced Beluch _sawars_, with luxuriant black hair and beard, and white turbans and cloaks. This being a minor station, there were only two _sawars_ and no animals, whereas at stations like Girdi there were a _duffadar_ in charge, four _sawars_, two attendants, two camels and two horses.

Some three miles south-east of Nawar more ruins could be seen, a small tower and three large square towers with north and south walls in great part blown down, but with eastern and western walls standing up to a great height. A separate domed building could also be observed a little way off.


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