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Published: June 28th 2020
I was reading a book, and came across this rather colorful description of a stinky situation. I am sure each of us has a story that may top this one. But here you go: This is from Tim Moore in his book, "The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold" as he cycled along the old Iron Curtain, in a Russian shopping bicycle with only two speeds. "After 1700 km of odorless, aseptic Finland, my nostrils were befouled by the rolling miasma of unregulated (now in Russia) neglect and decay, sulphur and solvents, fermenting rubbish, burning plastic, poo, and wee." I actually had a similar experience when I was peering out the window from the Trans Siberian Railway. I could "see" the stench that Tim Moore is talking about. That sounds pretty bad. But I have a few of my own to share. First, on a flight back home from Costa Rica, we were seated in first class, row 2. The older Latina woman in front of us decided her seat would double as the Water Closet, as she farted her way from the gate to the takeoff. I started fanning the air, rather frantically, with a book, much to the
chagrin of the nearby flight attendant. But the couple adjacent to us had completely covered themselves with a blanket, and were laughing uncontrollably, not at her, but at us! She finally went to the WC after takeoff, solving our problem! Second, my first experience with durian, in Kuala Lumpur, nearly caused me to lose the contents on my entire GI system on the streetside durian "boutique" where we were seated. Imagine not being able to choose between barfing, and spitting out the durian onto the street! Thank you, Angela! I had a physician friend who could "smell" a patient and diagnosis him or her correctly. He should win a Nose-bel Prize in Medicine! My friend Ric, who rescues animals from faraway places probably experiences some rather foul smells in his airplane? He sits in the back with all of the crated dog and cats. You are my hero, Ric!!! Not to down play the smell of disease, death or burning flesh, but many of the gym locker rooms I experienced were equally bad. Add the humidity of the shower, and it was a cesspool of bacteria and sweat. Speaking of sweat, that is part of my description of durian, a
cross between rotten onions, and dirty sweat socks! Burning flesh is at least tolerable for short periods. Tim Moore describes the stench more eloquently than any of us dare to. These are among the stinkiest things people have experienced: Rotten fishNatto (fermented soybeans) I agreeLimburger cheeseIru (fermented locust beans)Doenjang (fermented soybean paste)Lutefisk (for all my Swedish friends)Vieux Boulogne (a type of cream cheese)Surstromming (Swedish sour, fermented herring)Durian (of course) Speaking of durian, what if you made a kombucha out of it? I am sure you can add to the list, or have your own stories. Traveling certainly can have its olfactory challenges. Maybe it is best to carry a clothes pin?
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