Culture Shock Chronicles
Journal Entry #21 – Smells. One of the first things many people notice about being in a foreign country are the various odors and fragrances. The majority of the smells are new and unusual to the recipient. Paraguay is no exception to the rule. The predominate smell? Diesel smoke. Almost every vehicle here operates with diesel and they all belch thick, black fumes of expended petroleum. It leaves a persistent film of dark dust on the surface of everything around. A different smell, that is present, are the deodorants, soaps, and cleaning supplies. They all have a different fragrance to them than those found in the US. Various foods here have unique smells that are foreign to the senses of any “Norte Americano.” The most fascinating thing about smells for me, however, is the permanency of the impression they make upon our memories. After a person is back in their home environment, and then later has a chance encounter with one of those foreign smells, it’s amazing how quickly a flood of memories can come rushing in with remarkable detail. It serves as a “snap shot” from a very different perspective. Truly remarkable!