At the end of my street there is a corner that is unoccupied by any street vendors. We call it the “pee wall”. Gross? Yes. It is the local urinal. I realise that foul odours are not unique to this city – they are a big part of any city. But I feel like I haven’t noticed them anywhere as much as I have here. Maybe because I live on one of the busiest intersections of the city and there is very little fresh air or because my place of work is outside of the city and I breathe fresh ocean air all day that the city is more offensive. This morning on the way to work my friend and I were standing in the median (because, you know, why wouldn’t we be standing in the middle of the road waiting for an opening to dart across) and I was suddenly overwhelmed by the distinct smell of dumpster. But there were no dumpsters or garbage trucks in sight. It was just the early morning aroma of Beausejour.
What really takes me by surprise here is the poop that seems to be on all sidewalks. I’ve started walking in the street because it’s less likely that I will step in something gross while dodging moving vehicles than if I stay on the sidewalk. This goes for old mouldy bread that is left out for the street cats, excrement (human or animal, sometimes its hard to tell), unknown slimy substances, mildew from the pee walls that never ever dry, and the occasional loose paving stone that may or may not open up into a gaping hole in the ground if stepped on the wrong way. Recently there has been a rash of dead cats tucked into different corners of the walls and sidewalks. I’m no cat lover, but no one wants to see dead animals on their walk home from the juice stand on the corner! What can never be escaped though are the thick clouds of balck greasy exhaust that billow from the busses and ancient vehicles idling in the streets and at intersections.
My solution? Don’t breathe when outside. Unfortunatly, this is not the most practical of solutions. So. Wear a scarf. Wear sweet smelling clothes/scarves to bury your nose in when the need arrises. You won’t regret it.