Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dr. José Rizal on the Suez Canal

One of the first traverses in the 19th century.Image via Wikipedia
Suez Canal in 1882.
My trip to the Suez Canal, July, 2011 was the product of serendipity.  I was commissioned  to paint a special canvas for the Rizal 150th Celebration exhibition at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center curated by James Espinas. It was to be a world map of Rizal's travels.  As I started tracing the routes Rizal made, suddenly the top of my head lighted up as a function of a hovering light bulb. Rizal passed the Suez canal five times!!!  1882, 1887, 1891, and 1896 twice.  Why has this Suez trip never been analyzed, explained, or elaborated? By default, it has become my luck to be the one to explore its significance in relation to Rizal.

The canal was the brainchild of a Frenchman:  Ferdinand de Lesseps.  It was began in 1859 and completed 10 years.  Rounding Africa takes  12,300 miles. Going through the Suez Canal shortens the distance to 7,200 miles.
Ismailia canal supplies filtrated drinking water to Suez and Port Said workers.
Tanker on the canal, view from street.
Captured Israeli tank, Suez
Ismailia canal, parallel to the Suez canal.
Peace Bridge across Suez canal, donated by the Japanese Governent, 2005
Penélope re-tracing Rizal's trip through the Suez Canal
Right canal, right camera. Shoot!
Port Said--Two Girls: a Greek and a Turk, just as Rizal described
An Ismaili girl and her clay water jar.
Suez: Where the Red Sea ends and the Mediterranean Sea begins.
On the highway to Suez, Port Said
Suez Canal toll booth
Immigration Stop. Rizal's papers, his first passport read Jose Protacio Mercado y Alonso.
Signs in Arabic

Tanker navigating the canal seen from the street.

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