Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Most Lovely Fragrance

Are you, like me, someone who notices the smells of things? I've got a very sensitive nose and palate, which can be a good or bad gift, depending. The smells of people and places stays with me and influences my feelings about them.

There are some strong scents I noticed immediately when I arrived in Panajachel, so my choice for today's letter is Fragrance. Not all is fragrant, like when you're next to one of the big chicken buses and the exhaust makes you want to choke.

Or when you're sitting next to someone in church who needs to bathe. Rare though, since the people who live here seem exceptionally clean. You pass them on the street and smell soap and shampoo. This is quite pleasing to me.

The air generally in Panajachel is the sweetest, most fragrant of anywhere I've ever been. There's the delicious fragrance around mealtime when the aromas come from the open restaurants: garlic, grilled meats, herbs and spices, seafood, butter, hot corn tortillas....

And at night, we always sleep with our windows open and enjoy how the breeze wafts in, scented with flowers.


  1. Lovely lovely post! I remember the first time I went to Jamaica and I was overwhelmed with the unbelievable array of odors - some heavenly, some not but all intoxicating to me - burning garbage, ganja, frangipani,, goat curry and so on...yum yum!

  2. I love walking through food markets and smelling the various foods cooking. The mix of fragrances in Panajachel sounds (smells!) lovely :-)

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

  3. My husband affectionately calls me his bloodhound because my scent of smell is finely tuned. I can smell things that others can't. :-)

    I love the scent of different foods cooking. I enjoy walking around open air foods being cooked. We have street fairs and many different vendors cooking all sorts of things.

    Right now I'm enjoying the moiture laden breezes of spring this morning. There are a lot of flowering trees blooming right now.

    Panajachel sounds lovely.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  4. You make me want to come down for a visit. I love sleeping with the window open.

  5. The smell of grass, that first cutting. By the end of summer I'm not so in love with it though, LOL

  6. The flowers outside your window are beautiful. You made me hungry with the description of food smells. ;)

  7. I love sleeping with the windows open and wish I could do it year long. I just saw a news piece about women having better senses of smell than men.

  8. the potency of pungency...sitting in a bus next to someone wearing cheap aftershave- oh the joy

    zannierose A-Z

  9. I have a sensitive nose too. Good after shave is nice and when you are in Paris, perfume is in the air everywhere.

  10. I have a sensitive nose too. Good after shave is nice and when you are in Paris, perfume is in the air everywhere.

  11. I love the fragrances when we visit the Caribbean. Beautiful sights and sounds as well. Enjoy your paradise!!!

  12. Hi Karen - I can imagine those food fragrances, as too the flower scents ... just lovely - but I would expect some pong in places ... cheers Hilary

  13. I would enjoy the scent of garlic everywhere. At least you know you're safe from vampires.

  14. We have climbing roses around the front of the house, and their fragrance is marvelous. Scent opens up a new world, doesn't it.

  15. Of all the evocative sensual experiences, smell may be the most powerful. I read somewhere that it is also the easiest to lose, and even a fall and a concussion can make you lose your sense of smell. I had a friend in college who was hit by a moving bus. She was knocked to the ground, and the bus stopped. She insisted she was all right, but the bus driver insisted on taking her to the emergency room. To this day the only damage was a permanent loss of the sense of smell.
    Glad you cherish it.

  16. My nose was right in this post - I could almost smell the things you describe.
    My sense of smell is good, but not overly sensitive, which suits me fine. :)

    Great F post - love the photos too.

    Sent with smiles, Jenny, Pearson Report
    2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador

  17. What a beautiful view you have out your window. The smell of those flowers must be heavenly.

  18. Sounds/smells like paradise. I love when our lilac blooms and the house smells so nice.

  19. Love your sharing of the wonderful fragrances of Guatemala. Reading the post is almost as good as actually being there!