Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Five Senses of Nepal - Smell

Smell…oh man, smell is a physical entity in Nepal, I can assure you. Unfortunately, there are many more foul odors around than pleasant scents. I would rather list them than describe them, so here we go:

Truck exhaust, diesel fumes, rotting fruit at the end of the day, cigarettes, five varieties of excrement, butcher-shop offal, body odor, dirty diapers, garbage fires, halitosis, and unseen decomposing animals. 

But away from those, the air is fresh and crisp, which soaks into laundry as it dries in the sun. The tiered crops growing along my path to school recall autumn, but the flowers recall spring. Sometimes my nose is overwhelmed by a chromatic collection of spices and incense that remind me of the New York Renaissance Faire, or frying foods that call to mind the Dutchess County Fair. If I close my eyes and inhale, I am in the Animal Kingdom’s fake Nepal rather than the real place. 

I am overjoyed that I cannot smell myself.

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