Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Smell of Singapore

As well as the plane that smelt of farts that flew me to Singapore, and the bus that drove me to the plane and smelt similar, and the waiting area at Hong Kong International that smelt of despair and poor hygiene, my shower in the hotel smells too.

The rest of the room is pretty much odourless, which is a relief. The shower, however, smells of rotten eggs. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, volcanic hot springs, bubbling with sulphur and warming a tired body, have been prized for their revivifying qualities for centuries. So a sulphurous shower might hint at higher ambitions for my hotel. It's not just a hotel, it could one day be a fancy spa, where tired travellers flock for rejuvenation.

But on the other hand, it's not a hint of sulphurousness. It's a ruddy stench of rotten eggs. I've been spoilt by my recent trip to the Mandarin Oriental: I believe a spa involves the ambient sound of whale songs, fluffy towels and nice-smelling unguents, not a television playing non-stop Spongebob Squarepants and a shower without an extractor fan, making it a hot and humid box you stagger out of as sweaty as before.

Come to think of it, that's a bit like the hammam. I may be being snobbish, however, but I prefer saunas to be intentional, rather than due to oversight in the ventilation installation department.

Mind you, I may be a touch hypocritical here, because I went to the gym in the hotel and ran for 48 minutes, so it"s not just my shower that stinks, there's a powerful wave of aroma baking off me too. And since the only place to hang my now wet-through running kit is in the bathroom, I've a feeling there may be worse smells than sulphur when I shower tomorrow morning.


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