Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Shootout: Smells

It was twenty three years ago when I had Christmas with my parents and brothers and their families in Australia. This year, I made an impromptu trip to Australia and celebrated Christmas with them at Joseph's house.

What is Christmas like Down under without the snow?

Joseph roasted/smoked his turkeys in an American Weber BBQ, and Charles did his yummy ham. We had a great time despite the hot Australian summer. There were prawn platter, chicken, salad, salami, beef jerky, fruit platter and the fiercely claimed by Australia and New Zealand Pavlova. And plenty of champagne and vodka to wash down the food.

All my three brothers are great cooks. Cooking is not their career. Charles and Joseph are lawyers, and Henry is an anthropologist.

Michelia Alba or Michelia champaca is a flower of my childhood. My grand ma, Great grand ma and all the women of that era wore their hair in a bun. They stuck a magnolia champaca bud in their bun. Their hair always smelt heavenly. My Great grand ma had a big tree. They collected the buds and soak it in alcohol to make their own perfume.
This native of southern China has a large delicate white flower. The scent is used extensively in aroma therapy products as well as Joy perfumery. This perfume is the world's most expensive perfume and I think my own female ancestors were making them decades ago.

It is an esteemed tree of Hindus and Buddhists, and it is often planted on temple grounds. Trees begin to bloom at 1-2years of age. This is also known as white sandalwood, BAI YULAN. This photo was taken at a Johore Buddhist temple.

The name is Lantana and is originally from Mexico. In Malaysia and Singapore, the common name is Bunga Tahi Ayam or in Cantonese, KAI SEE FA, both meaning Chicken Shit Flower.

This fruit has a reputation because of it's good smell or terrible odor depending who is describing it. It is spoken with such a passion that many people are curious.

It is used in the Fear factor series and some contestants say it is the worst things they have tasted. My European Sis in law's dad pinched his nose as he briskly walked along a road selling durians and likened it to walking past a row of out house where there were lots of drunken puke.

Yet, My American teacher Miss. F after some years in Sarawak got to like the fruit, and so does my UK friend A.

Hating the fruits are also the newly arrived Chinese camp. The Chinese name for durian is LU LIAN. There is a saying, once you learn to like the durian, you will either settle or come back to the country.

Most tourists to New Zealand are taken to Rotorua. Their first impression is the sulphur smell. "Whangapipiro (Rachel Pool) - Rotorua, New Zealand"
Rachel Pool is a historic alkaline hot spring located in Government Gardens. Signage at the springs reads: "Water from this boiling cauldron is alkaline and reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Silica-laden water from here was originally piped to the Pavillion Bath, later to the Bath House, and is still reticulated to the modern Polynesian Spa. Whangapipiro was renamed Rachel Pool after Madam Rachel, a notorious English cosmetician who promised youthful complexions because of the softening effect of silica water on the skin."

Hot spring is open to view 24 hours per day but it is not for using because of its high temperatures and no cold water to moderate the temperatures. The temperature (F): 212 or
(C): 100. So be careful not to put your fingers into the water to see how hot it is.

On to the "Member Voice" for August 6 - Smells by NanU.
In her words:

For the Taste and Smells theme, I was originally thinking just Smells. Food smells like barbeque and the bakery down the street bring in the Taste aspect, but also other smells: fresh-cut grass, asphalt being laid down, low tide, dumpsters, clean laundry, a loved one's perfume. There are so many things that make up part of our environment and add their particular scent to it without our really noticing. What makes your town smell like home?

(the theme was originally posted as taste and smells, now changed to just smells as suggested)


Dora said...

Some men can be very good chef! And yeah Christmas without snow will be lack of fun... just like us here with the hot & humid weather!

I used to love durian very much but I'm sort of phobia with it now 'coz I over-ate it one time & I got fever. I seldom eat it now... Happy Weekend Ann :-)

Jama said...

I remember my late grandma used to have the cempaka flowers in her bun, they smell heavenly. Another flower she love to use is the ylang ylang ( kenaga) . I remembered stuffing the flowers in my bra as a teen.

I almost post the photos of durian but decided upon the petai. Same thing lah, smell horrid but some people still love them! lol

Singapoare Plants Lover said...

There is a few of cempaka trees downstairs my house...Yeah, durian, my love! Do you like it, do you miss the best D24 in Singapore? Next time if you have chance come back here, let me know, I buy you a Durian treat.

Unknown said...

not too sure about the durian but love all your other smells. chicken shit flower is a funny name for it. nice connection with family here also.

wenn said...

i love the durian smell!

Ginny Hartzler said...

A wonderful picture of your family with the Christmas food! I remember your other post on the durian, I would never be brave enough to taste it! I'm now wondering what the hot springs smells like, it looks so unappealing with all that steam coming up! Now about those plants, I have heard of sandalwood, a heady fragrance! It's probably the most popular incence scent in this country. I used to buy it. A very informative and varied post!

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

Wonderful collection of wshots here.
Melbourne Daily Photo

Pauline said...

I grew up with the smell of lantana, a noxious plant in Australia. My grandfather was forever on the prowl, keeping an eye out for any that dared to grow near his place. He would detect it with his nose and was ever so proud of me when I could do the same thing! Now I love the smell it has such fond memories of Grandad!

Manzanita said...

I just found you. Interesting post on smells. Actually I like durian. I like the idea of stuffing flowers in the hair for a good smell. I like the way you brought in the smell of laundry. There's a smell no one can resist. It's so fresh and inviting. I'm going to be following you. Manzanity from wanna buy a duck.

GingerV said...

this weeks FSO is all about memory isn't it? seems that smell is the sense most attached to memory -
What a wonderful thing when women put flowers in their hair. I love the smell of lantana isn't that funny - and the hummingbirds love it. I have a huge bush here in Friburgo that I chop back every 6 months, the gardener just shakes his head and cleans up my mess but if you wnat flowers for the birds you have to keep it cut back. mine is yellow/orange maybe it doesn't smell the same as yours. not sweet but tangy/woodsy.

word verf... cuton - keep cutting?

Bagman and Butler said...

Wow! I learned a lot reading this blog! I'm not sure about durian although I have always had a willingness and even obsession to try anything new!

~JarieLyn~ said...

I could smell that Christmas dinner. Yummy! Chicken shit flower cracked me up. I used to have a bad habit of calling people chicken shits. I've since tamed my mouth, but every now and then...... it slips out.

Tammie Lee said...

sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. I love the idea of Christmas with snow. We grew up where there was no snow, not that I live where there is snow, I almost always go home for xmas and miss a white xmas still.
I loved hearing about the magnolia and your grandmothers wearing them in their bun and smelling good. We had different magnolia's in California. Someday maybe I will smell yours. said...

hi ann, i live with my family in the northside of brisbane about 30 minutes drive from the city.. but we don't always go there as we prefer the quite life of the suburb. it's nice that you've been here for christmas. it was my 4th here and im getting used to it... hot, humid.

we spent our last christmas holiday in sydney.