I just returned from a voyage to Aruba. An eclectic world with eclectic minds and souls, eclectic tastes, eclectic landscapes and eclectic scents.
There is the soft breeze, like a caress. Balsamic but salty. There is the sand and the beach that smells of sun and sea shells and sun screen. There are aloe plants that smell like chicken soup when you hold the leaf or branch in your hand, but like a kiss when you put it on your skin. There is passion fruit that smells like peach and cashew cake. There is a spice on the blackened fish that smells of voyages and Caribbean heat. And the taxis…they are fragranced with something that smells like softest vanilla – mixed with the typical new-car-smell. They are driven by men and women dressed up as if they are on the way to Sunday church and there is either Luther Vandross (or -ish) or Michel Telò on the radio.
After a few days in Aruba your sweat smells like spices and vanilla and salt. Your skin smells like a hot stone.
I wore no perfume on Aruba. In the cosmetics shops they sold a perfume that was supposed to capture the scents of this island. It was in bottles that seemed to be designed for kids with opaque sea shells in glass. The fragrances were light, flat and banale. Quite the opposite of the real life olfactory impressions.
The only time I actually applied a fragrance was an accident. I bought Aruba rum at the airport and by accident dropped the bottle. In the process of picking up glass pieces and putting all the things in a new dry plastic bag I got rum on my hands and arms. Didn’t think about it until a while later when I lifted my hand and felt this amazing soft balsamic scent on my skin. No alcohol odor, just a sort of solid balsamic vanilla-esque smooth veil. Completely beautiful. My instant thought was that maybe I don’t feel it but in fact smell like happy hour… But no. It was the perfect summer heat scent. So I thought, ok, I will bring the rum home and wear it like a fragrance! Weird but hey… what feels so good cannot be bad. Anyway… the customs in Amsterdam took my Aruba fragrance which apparently was not sealed well enough. So I have it only in my memory. For the moment.
Fresh Aruba Aloe, however, I am privileged to have brought with me back to the very Northern hemisphere as I was given my very own little plant from a special person. I hope it will like its new home as much as I liked my temporary home in Aruba, Bucuti, a sanctuary of beauty and kindness.
We take photos when we travel. We buy souvenirs, clothes, spices. But how to preserve the scents in the air and the feelings that they create?
I miss Aruba.