- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
346

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
up in a year, on what was previously a swampy, unin
habitable wilderness. And in a year or two, when the
bridge is finished, the whole town will disappear again.
There are great difficulties to contend with in work
ing on this watery marsh-land, where all foundations
have to be sunk into the rock below ; and it lies deep.
And the work must be carried on summer and winter,
in order that the bridge may be finished in reasonable
time. It is almost worse in the summer, as the gnats
and flies are an intolerable nuisance, and then there
is the heat. In winter it is certainly cold, but frost
has its advantages in working on such marshy ground
as this. It may be utilized in many ways for freezing
the wet clay and mud, which thus become easier to deal
with. The health of the many workmen here collected
was relatively good, but the doctor told us that there
were many cases of scurvy ; most of them, curiously
enough, among the immigrant workmen, but not among
the Koreans who live here permanently, and who
have their own little village on the other side, outside
Khabarovsk.
We went back to that side to inspect the work on the
tunnel which is to go through the ridge on the south
side of the river, where also the station is to be built,
seven versts from the town of Khabarovsk itself.
From the height above the tunnel we saw masses of
smoke, which came rolling over the plains on the
northern side of the Amiir. It looked as if the whole
prairie was on fire. They were burning off the dry
grass, but it looked as if a good deal of forest had also
caught. It gradually increased until the whole sky
was filled with clouds of smoke, which came drifting
over Khabarovsk, and the sun was turned to dark
orange in the middle of the day
On returning to the town I visited the great exhibi
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