Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/492
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.
of uniform pattern. It is both station and hotel. Such provision on an equal scale of comfort would hardly have been judicious yet as an investment for private persons. These structures therefore become not only a typical feature of the scenery, but an indication of the extent to which the railroad has had to, and has been able to, by reason of its ample resources, take this bare new country into its own hands. They are of the usual reddish-brown, two stories in height, and surrounded by piazzas of generous width—an indispensable adjunct under the dazzling light and heat of the country.
The heat of Yuma is proverbial. The thermometer ranges up to 127° in the shade. There is an old story of a soldier who died at the fort and went to the place which Bob Ingersoll says does not exist, and, finding it chilly there by comparison, sent back after his blankets. Great heat, nevertheless, is not equally formidable everywhere. It is well attested that there is no sun-stroke here, and no such suffering as from a much lower temperature in moister climates. Distinct sanitary properties are even claimed for this well-baked air. So near the sea-level, it is said to be less rarefied, and to comprise, therefore, a greater quantity of oxygen to a given bulk, than that of mountain districts, which, in purity and dryness, it resembles. It is thought to be beneficial in lung troubles. Yuma, among its arid sand-hills, has aspirations to be a sanitarium. Civilized people also may yet resort there to engage in a sensible sun-worship, basking in the genial heat, and then plunging into the river, after the fashion of the resident Indians, who make of it in this way a kind of natural Turkish bath.