Smoke Sig­nals

Men's Health (UK) - - Are You Really A Good Person? - By Liz Ed­wards, as­so­ciate ed­i­tor, Sun­day Times Travel Mag­a­zine @ St_­trav­el­mag

Years ago, when I was trav­el­ling around the is­land of Su­ma­tra, I got around on fer­ries. I re­call an overnight jour­ney to Nīas – a surf­ing mecca – when the only berth I could find was be­low deck where ev­ery­one was smok­ing clove cig­a­rettes. Re­turn­ing to the area a good while later, that bit­ter, medic­i­nal scent struck me straight away. You catch lit­tle puffs of it in the street – it’s a very per­va­sive smell. Woody, smoky scents al­ways re­mind me of Bali, whether it’s the co­conut husks that the lo­cals burn to grill fish or the rich aroma of san­dal­wood found burn­ing in ev­ery shrine and tem­ple. The ma­jor­ity of Ba­li­nese are ex­tremely pi­ous Hin­dus, and the burn­ing of san­dal­wood is cen­tral to their faith. Its musty smell has a re­lax­ing ef­fect – it al­most feels like a seda­tive, some­thing to send you into a re­li­gious trance. It’s heavy and en­velopes you, and you in­stantly know you’re tak­ing in some­thing from the Ori­ent.

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