Friday, June 11, 2010
The smell of Rio de Janeiro
I was walking to a friend's house with my boys this evening when I smelled it. I smelled the smell of Rio de Janeiro. No, not urine soaked streets or beer filled bums, the smell of the city. It was for only a second, like when you think you smell the cologne or perfume of someone you once knew. A whiff...
The smell of a city is a strange and amazing thing. It's something only the foreigner notices at the beginning of their journey. It goes as quickly as it came. The nose has the amazing ability to adapt to new smells, don't you think?
A city's smell is a combination of things: the streets, the people, the vegetation, the food, the soil, the rain, the sun, and the food venders. Can't forget the venders.
I can't smell Rio de Janeiro anymore. I live here now. My nose is accustomed to the rare and beautiful accumulation of exotic scents.
But after a long, sad flight home, leaving my family and friends behind in the states, the smell of Rio de Janeiro makes me smile. I look forward to those first few moments after walking out of customs. It runs over me like a curtain you choose to walk through, letting it slide up your legs, caressing your torso, and finally over your head.
You know what, Rio de Janeiro, the real Rio de Janeiro, smells so good.