Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dirt and diesel

Equitorial Hotel. Shanghai. 9:05pm 

It amazes me that a city can smell like dirt and diesel equally and at the same time. The smell pounded me as I finally conquered customs at Shanghai International Airport. When it hit my senses, I smiled and inhaled...I'm in China again! Every major Chinese city seems to smell this way. I suspect the source is the smog that never lifts and turns all my photography grey and non-descript.

(I heard once that "they" still use photography of China from 20 years ago for marketing materials. The smog no longer allows for stunning, flattering pictures. I believe it.)

The last 6 hours have been full of smells. The final airplane meal of fish and rice certainly saturated the cabin with a distinct flavor. My new RMB from the currency exchange counter smelled of freshly-pressed cheap paper, and the handsome Israeli man in front of me in the customs line was not so handsome after I got close enough to smell him.

I think I currently smell like detergent and chapstick...I give off the aroma of chemically created heath products. Who knows, the Israeli man in front of me may have found that perturbing as well.

Picture from internet of Hong Kong Harbor

Picture I took in 2007 of Hong Kong Harbor on a sunny day

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