By David Tumusiime, Uganda:
We stumbled out of the taxi like gas chamber escapees: faces screwed up, on tottery legs. Blinking into the bright sunlight like stunned night clubbers.
No one able to immediately walk away from the taxi with goose stepping purpose. Secretly surveying each other before we dispersed. One last time. Our nostrils clearing up.
Everybody was taking with them a smell they did not like. A memory of a bad perfumery tour in a taxi. There had been a headier cocktail in the taxi than usual. We were all sneezing or coughing, totally convinced our neighbour had used too much perfume. What oafs.
I had been unable to open the window as the taxi sped into town. Discovering too late, when I was already seated, when the taxi was already on its way that my window was sealed up like all the exits in an Egyptian tomb; the pealed clawed at tape ringing my window sealing my doom.
I would have to put up with whatever scents other passengers decided to decorate the air with. I knew there would be plenty: in an hour and half ride. There were.
It was a Monday so everyone had their 'How I want the week to be' morning scent on. The women's hair had been to the saloon over the weekend so they had their glossy weave helmets on. The one suit men had their Kikuubo Paul Armand threads on.
But it was the perfume scents that had my head reeling, making me wonder if anybody above twelve still wears Sure deodorant. I could single out the Chris Adams and Dolby scents as new passengers came, the Brut believers. But there were other overwhelming fragrances that screamed Made in Dubai for the desert heat.
Then there were those that made worry for us when our taxi channelled into a petrol station to refuel. Fragrances that reeked strongly of 80% petroleum in their composition with a miserly 5% of jasmine hint. I hoped none of the wearers smoked because a match would surely transform them into a human torch and Agataliiko Nfuufu fodder.
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