The great un-written-about sense.
Really nice writing here. Any chance the Samantha Brown who took the photo is the Travel Channel host or the one from Generation Xit who lived in Bali a while? :)
In Vietnam the smell of street barbecues, those little burning briquettes I suppose combined with sizzling pork, fish sauce of course and, in Saigon, that vague sewery smell, the same as the one in Paris; I suppose teh French built the sewers.
An herbal soap I used while on unnelectrified Koh Chang takes me back. It had/has has a very distinct yet pleasant aroma. Anytime I smell it I am back in a happy place.
I live in Sydney and there's a Nepalese barbecue place not too far from my apartment. They cook with some sort of wood-fired setup, and if the breezes are just right and bring in the frangipani scent from some of the back streets, the combination aroma of those flowers, cooking meat and burning wood teleports me directly back to Cambodia.
You're absolutely right about smell, especially writing about it. We're in Athens right now and the orange trees are full of blossoms that smell so...sweet. The best I can do is to say it's a light sweetness that isn't overpowering but is oh so lovely. It reminds me of jasmine, another delicate smell I love.
Clove cigarettes and cheap gasoline. Walking past a Singapore food court as the sun is rising. Decomposing bodies (too much disaster reporting back in the day)