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Old 06-25-2012, 09:25 PM
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,377,277 times
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I remember as a kid, whenever we'd go to Singapore or Malaysia (where my family are from) one of the first things that would hit me was the strong, distinctive olfactory profile of the place. I think that tends to be the case in any very humid, hot climate, but it was this particular mix that was so intoxicating: it was the moist, damp smell of the open drains (I know it doesn't SOUND very appealing, but if it's nostalgic almost anything can smell good!), tropical vegetation, the smell of almost moudly dampness on the plants, the scent of the various plants, fruits, trees, cement, the not so pleasant smell of rubbish, with the nicer smells of the aromas of food wafting from the cafes, hawker stalls, street-side stalls: a myriad of spices, herbs.etc cooking. Also the smell of burning incense from the many temples.etc. I also remember the musty smell and incense smell of my grandmother's place. Everytime I smell that smell I'm immediately transported back to Asia, of childhood, and of good memories.

Few other places have such a strong smell. Another smell is the Eucalyptus oil which reminds me of the forests/bush here, as well as the smell of fresh pine needles in the rain which reminds me of walking through some of the old pine plantations here, even if they're not native.

A lot of places don't really smell like much, but many places in the tropics have a really overpowering smell that is one of the things you really remember.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:38 PM
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,169 posts, read 4,196,286 times
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Provence is well known for its abundant lavender, and one of my greatest olfactory memories is of the lavender-perfumed air around Aix-en-Provence. How I miss that.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:56 PM
Location: Jacksonville/Afghanistan
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I remember New Dehli smelling like a toilet

And Amsterdam smells like toilet water and weed.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:59 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
39,536 posts, read 47,722,769 times
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Korea = kimchi...what a smell.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:02 AM
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,662,372 times
Reputation: 7720
Anywhere in SE Asia smells like fruit and stale pee to me. The border towns of Mexico like stale pee and dust. Oddly, one's smell reminds me of the other.

Germany always smelled...well....clean, for lack of a better term.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:20 PM
Location: Eugenius
593 posts, read 1,236,677 times
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We used to go back to Champaign Illinois for the summers and there was a Humco factory there. It was not a pleasant smell, I think it was vegetable oil or something like that, a cloying smell, but we always knew we were in town because of that smell, so it brings back memories of summers on a farm, 4th of July, corn, hanging with cousins.

And a moldy damp smell permeated my college, it's like a rotting vegetation in a basement smell, not the best but not bad because it brings back memories of college and long walks in the dead of night.

Yes, if it's nostalgic, almost anything can smell good.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:51 PM
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,354,730 times
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India has a very distinctive smell. I noticed it in Bombay (Mumbai), but I've been told it's a wider phenomenon than that. Hard to describe. Dusty, spicey, musty.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:20 PM
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 6,971,255 times
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I can't always put my finger on them, but yes, certain smells will always trigger memories of different places I've been.

Occasionally a breeze will come off the ocean and carry just the right combination of humidity and various aromas to remind me of my time living in England. Not sure exactly what it is, but it hits me right away.

Same holds true for Iceland, even though I only spent a brief time there. And anytime I smell sulfur, it makes me think of running the hot water there.

I also lived in Provence for quite some time, so there are distinctive smells that will bring me back to those days, including the scent of lavender. And any gust of cool, dry wind that makes me think of the Mistral.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:34 PM
833 posts, read 1,471,633 times
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A close friend of mine , who was injured in the Vietnam War, said the plane flew out of California with stops in Hawaia, Phillipines and finally Vietnam.

He stated they got off the plane around 2AM, hot humid, and the smell of rotting slough grass,

He staed whenever he is in sloughs now, the smell brings back memories ( not pleasant) of Vietnam
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