So, what does Africa Smell Like?

When I was in Cape Town six years ago, it smelled like oranges and spices and the sea.  There was a special mix of scents that I would somehow catch about once a year in the States and I was instantly transported back.  You know the sense of smell is the one most linked to memory.  I have special scents associated with a certain Herbal Essences conditioner, vanilla mint chapstick, cinnamon (which is a general warm & homey feeling giver for most people), and so much more.  There are plenty of taste memories too. I have certain songs that take me back to beautiful or melancholy or beautiful & melancholy moments.  My only visual memory stimulator are deep blue nights.  I don’t think I have any touch memory stimulants, maybe just babies’ skin.  What about you?  Any special senses that bring you back to an exact time, place, or event?

So, what does Africa smell like this time?

SMOKE.

Someone is always burning something or other–purposeful or accidental.  I went to a friends house for dinner and drove by a brush fire on the way.  You could hear the crackling all the way through the steel car.  Crackling is nice when it’s in a fireplace or from a campfire, but when a fire is crackling without purpose, it is quite frightening.  When I came home over three hours later, it was still burning and had even grown.  I had to drive through a bit of a smoke screen to get past it.  Don’t worry, I was safe.

By the way, today marks my three week anniversary of being here.  This throws me for a loop everytime because I only spent three weeks in Africa last time and yet I felt its spirit, smelled its scent, carried it with me for the past six years.  I am certainly not ready to leave this quickly.  And I have no idea what five months will do to me.

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2 Responses to “So, what does Africa Smell Like?”

  1. You nailed it. Smoke. And things not meant to burn.

  2. Good question! Very interesting, Jennifer.

    I’ll never forget my first whiff of Australia (it had just rained when we walked out of the airport terminal) and also the hot, spicy smells of Sri Lanka.

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