The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
Returning to Mesopotamia, one is immediately struck by the vast improvement and progress everywhere, made under British occupation since our first advent here, some two years ago. At Basra miles of jetties and more under construction, railway a and motor lorries rumbling continuously, innumerable launches sputtering up and down, with a ceaseless stream of passenger-laden "Bellims" poling the bank shallows.
In the town, modernity shows in the flaring posters of "Movies", and still farther when one finds a motor lorry service is ousting the delapidated, ramshackle "gharries" in which we formerly risked life and limb. River travelling, too, is now luxurious compared with our first experience, when horses, men, mules and gear of all descriptions left little room for comfort. Anyone whose ideas of Baghdad are based on "Arabian Nights" would be sadly disillusioned. True, there are golden domes at Kazi-man, and many fine domes and minarets throughout the town; but "after viewing these and the Bazaars, one would be preparer! to deprive Ananias of ''The Belt", and hand it over to Haroun's editor.
Our Wireless Station has been slowly progressing towards the locality where old Noah is said to have gone aground, experiencing all sorts of weather, and having so far escaped the dreaded heat of the- plains. In fact, for the last three months, we've had frequent attempts on the part ot the Original blood o repeat itself; in between times, hanging on to our hill top while gates have raged. Our last location was in a barren, boulder-strewn region, ab unding with many interesting looking ruins, reputed to date back at least 2000 years; but facts are difficult to ascertain.
The villages, which resemble those of Palestine, can give points for fifth and smell to anything Egyptian and that's "going some". The poverty of large numbers of the inhabitants, and the apparent callousness of the ot ers is an eye-opener. They, the Kurds, maintain the ancient tradition and are as expert thieves as their brethren, the Arabs. In this connection our "Bobiqee" has made a name for himself as a "Sherlock Holmes", his deductions resu ting in the unearthing of a veritable 'Den of Forty Thieves", and the recovery of much gear and kid; but not, alas, of £10, the loss of which ''one of ours" is still mourning.
Game abounds in parts; geese, sanderouse, partridge, duck and "Captain Cookers" have figured in our bill of fare—up here Chicaw and huge bares have been seen Not so lung ago Sergt. Hayman had a good day with the porkers, without any ill results to our digestions. A few shot guns, and I guess we'd be "quais katea". All hands are well and looking forward to still further treks; nevertheless, the rumour, prevalent here some "moons" ago, of a change of fronts for us caused much joy; but—ask the Boys in Palestine not to shoot if they see us coming over the hills near Constantinople.