Thursday, June 30, 2005

Beijing can assault the senses in a variety of ways, particularly the olfactory sense. This from, supposedly, one of the more modern cities in China. It's much worse outside the major city centers, where the lifestyle is less developed, environmental disregard is happenstance and there are fewer outsiders who generally make a stink about these kinds of things. None of the Chinese really seem to mind.

There is a small underground grocery store near our apartment. It's a little depressing for a variety of reasons, but we usually buy our milk there as it's just the closest place to purchase some our necessities. I don't like to go there unless I absolutely need something. The entire store simply carries a strange smell. Angela thinks it's the bakery.

The smells in the bathrooms here are pretty bad, too, including the bathroom in our apartment, which regularly emits its licentious odors. It's just something we have learned to live with. Public restrooms are notoriously awful, and now that it's hot and humid, the scents have taken on a riper edge.

My coworkers live near a dump. I guess that's the best word for it. It's more like the neighborhood's trash depository. Like nearly every structure in this city, it's concealed behind a dirty brick wall. Walking past it, unrecognizable fluids can be seen bubbling out of pipes and holes in the wall. Dropping them off one day last week, I was struck hard by the smell in the air which seemed to float over everything; a rotten, humid, cooked-up garbage smell. I was immediately thankful that I lived on the sixteenth floor, far removed from such a place.

Finally, riding the bus home yesterday and, while waiting for the light to change, I was again accosted with the strong scent of garbage. I looked out the gaping windows and saw what must have been a garbage truck next to the bus. The bus was under attack. Holding onto the bar above my head, I tucked my nose into my shoulder like a duck and tried to filter the air through my shirt. The air was so thick with the smell I could almost feel it and closed my eyes.

3 comments:

Dad said...

I am preparing mentally for the smell upon my visit. My biggest decision now is having your mom read this but I will. She will be prepared. Sandie! Sandie!

Roberto Iza Valdes said...
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Roberto Iza said...
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