Saturday, November 9, 2013

Taiwan: A Nation of Stink


The other night, an odd smell permeated throughout our entire apartment.

We looked in the bathroom, kitchen, and garbage cans.

After a thorough search, we simply could not find the source of the smell.

We wondered if a neighbor was going to town cooking stinky tofu.

The smell was so pungent and horrid, we had to leave our apartment in the end.

We were absolutely horrified when we stepped into the hall because the small had appeared to infiltrate our entire complex.

Rushing down the stairs, we held our breath until we opened the door. We breathed deep, only to choke on the odoriferous scent that pervaded through all of our neighborhood.

There was no escape: the stench lingered in our apartment, in our complex, and in the open air outside.

Desperate, we began to walk.

We were stumped when, one block away, the smell seemingly evaporated.

"Do you smell that?" I asked Sean.

He brought his nose up from under his shirt, which was where he had been seeking his reprieve from the offensive smell, and took in a long whiff of air.

"I don't smell anything."

I didn't either.

Perplexed, we turned around and began walking back towards our apartment complex.

Within seconds, the smell returned full force.

"What the...?" Sean muttered, looking around for the source of the smell.

The only discernible difference from the next block over and our block was the white flowers that had fallen from their trees. Looking up, the street beside our apartment was lined with these trees and the street littered with the flowers.

We tested out our theory by picking up a dead flower and smelling it.

Bingo.

Realizing there was no immediate solution to this problem, I headed back upstairs while Sean headed to the store to buy the strongest air freshener he could find.

After doing some research, I discovered the culprit: a simple pear tree.

Apparently, they are native to Taiwan and China and are noted to be impervious to drought, pollution, cold, fire, and disease. However, during the month of November, the trees blossom and, well, stink. A lot. Especially at night, for some reason.

Then, I got to the fun stuff. I found some articles about some Taiwanese citizens in New Taipei City who told the government to either cut down all of the trees or they would sue the government for psychological damages.

Who knew a nation could have so many unique ways to stink?

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