Monday, 7 December 2009

Smell the Chilean roses

Homer Simpson likes to say, "It's funny because it's true".

Well, this isn't exactly funny, but it is rather nice, and it's also true. For those of you who know Chile:

Smell the roses… and everything else around you; smells that delight, that repulse, that intrigue, that confuse, that alarm, that soothe; smells that say home and smells that
spell trouble; smells known and unknown, smells that will become familiar as
this strange place becomes yours. The señora next door is frying onions at 9:00
am as she starts preparing a lunch (why so early if they eat at 2, you wonder);
warm yeasty smells waft from the bakery as people line up for hot rolls and
empanadas; the Nuts for Nuts guy stirs his peanuts into the hot and sugary red
syrup to make his maní confitado; a motorbike whizzes by leaving a
trail of gas fumes in his wake; roast coffee aromas waft from the Café Haití;
waves of stale smoke and beer are swept out of a bar before noon, an unwashed
hand is extended in front of the church; heavily perfumed men, women, and even
children leave their scent in an empty hallway, on a vacant telephone, in the
taxi they have just stepped out of; close your eyes and breathe deep—the market
is filled with the juiciest of fruits and the freshest of vegetables, the metallic scent of recently butchered meat and the coastal smell of the daily catch. The city is teeming with smells-odors-fragrances-aromas-bouquets-stinks and scents that together spell out Santiago, or Valparaíso, or La Serena, or Santa Cruz, the Andes, the Pacific, Atacama, Patagonia… smells that burn “Chile” into your olfactory memory.

More can be found here.


1 comment:

Margaret said...

Dear Robert- I'm glad you liked my post, but I would appreciate it if you would at least cite your source by name instead of simply "here." As it stands now, there is no indication that this is a re-post from another blog, and it gives the impression that you are the author.
Margaret Snook

"Finding your way into Chile" (