Friday, February 11, 2011


I walked down the driveway and through the gate, and set foot on the yellow sand that covers our street. It hit me. As I turned right and started walking towards the office, it accompanied me for a good 200 metres or more.

Sandalwood. I've been told that that is the base scent for the best Sue Dan ese perfumes: homemade scented oils made with Sandalwood. It's beautiful, but its lustre has been lost on me.

It's also used in incense, which often burns in front of homes, at the entrances to stores, on the tea-making stands by the river.

As a matter of fact, there are countless dozens and dozens and dozens of scents here, all home-made. Apparently if you have a baby you need to have 24 different scented oils and colognes and flavours of incense ready to perfume the newborn and the space in which he or she lives. A married woman will regularly stand over the smoke of incense for long stretches of time in order to absorb its beauty.

They are beautiful scents, this sandalwood + dozens of other combinations. But they've lost their lustre for me. It seems odd to walk on the street to the office and feel like a woman from the Dar is walking alongside me because her scent is exuding from the street, or maybe it's coming from the houses that line the street.

I'm generally pretty sensitive to smell - I remember last year when something outside the house smelled icky and my housemate emptied out a bottle of air freshener to mask that smell and I thought I was going to die because two scents were most certainly worse than one, even if the second was not as awful as the first.

And smell evokes MAD emotions in me - I remember when I left Sue Dan for my first vacation in early December. The airplane was full of scented woman. Sandalwood. And it ruined the flight: I felt like I was back in the stresses of the workplace I had just left. The smell is now inevitably associated with a very difficult and challenging job.

It's too bad the supermarket we shopped in today had this smell. It's too bad the ladies making tea by the river fill their stalls with this smell. It's too bad my colleagues from the Dar are covered in this smell. Because it's a good smell, but it's lost its ability to please my world.

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