Every city, every country has its unique, oh, aroma. On my first visit to Europe, Sherry and I landed in Luxembourg. My first olfactory experience of that continent was the sharp odor of diesel fumes with undertones of the linden trees that were blooming. London? Diesel fumes again, but cut by the stale beer smell from the pub downstairs. Paris was a hodge-podge of the good and the bad. Diesel moderated, in the mornings, by the wafting aromas of hundreds of bakeries. The afternoon odors were a slight essence of the dog shit sluiced off the sidewalk by street cleaners to run the gutters and disappear forever into the Paris underground. This malodorousness is tinged by, you guessed it, diesel fumes.
Yantai, unfortunately, has its own unique pungency. Diesel fumes? Sure, but not tempered by baking bread aroma (the bread’s steamed, for the most part), but hammered by that unique Chinese fertilization material, human waste. Bejeebers, on my way to any of the markets, I pass by slightly opened or fully opened manhole covers that, simply, reek. Punctuating this effluent bouquet is the slight waft of rotting garbage. Yantai is a lovely city, but parts of it challenge the nasal passages.
Even my room has its own unique scent-signature. I think that’s probably due to my being on the ground floor of a 5 story stack. Above me are 32 students. I have two open sewer drains: one in my bath, and one in my “kitchen.” I have taped them shut (with US-made duct tape). I have covered them with styrofoam stuck down with Super Glue. I have stuffed them with newspapers and taped that down. But nothing, bsolutely nothing interferes with the twice daily (awakening and bedtime) exhalation from those portals.
Luckily, I have a cold.