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OLD METHOD OF TRANSPORTING COAL-BY CAMEL,
REMARKABLE CHINESE CABLEWAY
DR. ALFRED GRADENWITZ
TO the west of Pekin there extends for some distance a mountain range rising to ever greater heights, and which in the Liao-ou-tai Chan reaches to approximately 10,000 feet.
In these mountains are found many ancient monuments and temples, as well as Imperial castles inhabited only in summer, and these heights afford a welcome refuge to European residents of Pekin, anxious to escape the heat and dust of the plains in order to enjoy some fresh air, at least in the evenings. The PekinHan-Kevu Railway, with a branch line to To-Ii at the foot of the mountains and on the banks of the Liou-li-Ho, leads in this direction. The Liou-li-Ho comes from the western part of these mountains traversing a valley full of the most variegated landscapes, cut deeply into the
high mountain range. This valley is worth coming far to see.
The horseman proceeding uphill will meet on his way thousands of camels, mules and donkeys carrying heavy loads of coal sacks from the coal mines to the railway station of To-li. The narrow path is taken up by an endless file of beasts of burden among which the camels stalking majestically behind one another produce an especially odd impression. Each camel driver guides six to ten camels, the front one being connected for simplicity's sake by ropes with the noses of those following behind so that the driver may confine his attention to the first camel. This in conjunction with the mud and dust, and the swarms of flies attracted by the enormous heat, makes the transport of coal a torture to those poor beasts.
THE TERMINAL OF THE CABLEWAY AT NANTZIOU.
This pitiable state of affairs will, however, soon disappear, as the Chinese coal miners and merchants have united with a view to increasing their production and sales at Pekin by the aid of improved means of transport, and the cableway recently constructed will do away with all previous drawbacks. As the narrow valley with its many sinuosities did not allow of the installation of any ordinary railway, a cableway freely suspended above valleys and heights obviously was the only solution of the problem.
About six hours' ride up the mountains commences the coal district, where many villages are spread over the more or less precipitous valleys. The coal mining is carried out on a system quite novel to western travelers. Whereas in Western countries large mining companies are formed which, in order to get at the veins, have to sink expensive shafts hundreds of feet deep, keeping an army of miners at work below ground, the anthracite in the rocky valley of the Liou-li-Ho comes to the surface, so that
each peasant is able to carry on his mining separately with the assistance of his sons, by furrowing tiny mole-like galleries into the mountains. The coal is mined in a most primitive manner without any working funds or machinery, being taken to the surface on sledges with wooden runners. As a rule, four to eight men are found working alternately in the same gallery, the coal being accumulated in large heaps, whence formerly were loaded the camels and mules transporting it to the railway station. Here now begins the cableway which extends down to the valley city.
While the means of transport have now become thoroughly modernized it will be long before any up-to-date methods may be introduced into the exploitation of these coal mines as foreigners are not so far allowed any share in the mining business of the interior of China. The fact that European engineers have at last, for the first time, been admitted into these secluded districts is significant of the new spirit in China.
JAI ALAI, the great gambling game of Cuba, is unique among all other gambling contests in, that it calls for as high a degree of bodily skill as mental. One who has seen the game describes it as "a superb display of human agility and high training." The successful Jai Alai contestant must accustom himself to sustain a strain of continuous violent exercise. "The Jai Alai player," says the same authority quoted above, "dies young."
In Havana, the contests are scheduled for every Tuesday and Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons. Thousands of spectators, the most of whom are there to gamble, often witness the game at one time. The prices of admittance range from $2.50, each person, down to $1.00, according to the fame of the contestants. High walls of stone enclose the Jai Alai court on three sides; the floor also being paved with stone. Metal markers against the wall designate the limits within which the ball must strike. The ball used is one of India rubber covered with leather, and weighs
about one-quarter of a pound. The ball is thrown to the wall from a small curved basket attached to the wrist of the player, and is caught again in the rebound by means of the basket. A failure to catch the ball on the rebound, or the throwing of it outside the proscribed limits is counted a miss, and scores one for the opposing side. The scores, as fast as made, are registered in sight of the spectators. The score runs to thirty. When it is nearing completion, the spectators go into a frenzy of excitement. Some have gone insane on the spot from losses; others have committed suicide. It is now played under police restrictions, but still many scenes of horror occur. The more morally inclined Cubans have made frequent attempts to have the game suppressed by law. In a speech in the Cuban Senate some time ago, Senator Sanguilly scathingly pronounced Jai Alai "a social cancer, whose results are the ruin of many persons, the cause of commercial failures, and of the suicides of fathers of families and of youths of brilliant promise."
TO STOP AEROPLANE
AND AUTO ACCIDENTS
HENRY M. HYDE
WHAT makes an automobile skid? What is the cause of the terrible accidents to machines running at high speed, occurring chiefly on the curves of race tracks?
Why is it that most of the fatal acci
dents in aeronautics have occurred just as the aeroplanes were turned into the horizontal plane, after a long sweep down from the heights on a sharply inclined plane?
In all these cases the accidents are most frequent and most dangerous just