Stinkiest places on earth

2012-05-24 16:26
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Weird food from around the world

Some may argue that sampling local cuisine forms part of the travelling experience. We say, would you try any of these?

Like each individual human being, every place on earth has its own unique scent. Some are more discernable than others, springing to mind more easily than their less memorable counterparts. Some are pleasant, like the earthy potato smell of the Lowveld, the sweet-green scent of the Fynbos-rich Kogelberg in winter or the early morning coffee whiffs emanating from Parisian cafes. And yet others are just, well, there's no kind way of putting it... downright nasty!

So, get out those pegs and pinch your noses closed as we take a look at ten of the smelliest places on earth.

Seal Island, Cape Town

Why not start with one close to home? Aaah, Seal Island. Located about 5km into False Bay from Hout Bay, the long, slim island is home to some 60 000 seals and a almost as many birds... and a not so charming mix of these creatures' poop. However, the smell is a small price to pay for most tourists, as the chances of witnessing an impressive Great White catch or even a pod of Orca Whales.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Built right on top of highly active geothermal vents, Rotorua, New Zealand has that throat-tightening rotten egg smell about it... you know the one that would drift down the school hallways, gagging everything in its path, on the day the matric science class would do their little sulfur experiment? Despite this, it remains a hugely popular tourist attraction with its array of hot springs, geysers and other natural wonders.

Ijen Volcano, Java

So, you think your cushy desk job sucks? Well, it could always be worse... like chipping little pieces of Sulphur off the crater of a volcano. True story. This is what the sulphur miners at Ijen Volcano in Java do everyday, and probably for nothing more than a pittance. According to Insure and Go: "The fumes produced by the sulphur visibly waft around, carried by the wind, and are incredibly noxious. The clouds burn the throat and eyes and can dissolve teeth if exposed for long enough. They even corrode delicate machinery, such as cameras, within minutes."

The sulphur is harvested for use in fertilizers, medicinal and chemical purposes.

Corpse Flower Habitat, Sumatra

Looks can be deceiving, and if you ever had trouble believing this, the Corpse Flower is a prime example. While it's a rather exotic-looking flower - except for the oversized phallic bit in the middle, which earned it the equally dodgy scientific name of Amorphophallus titanium, meaning giant misshapen phalis - it has a stench so powerful it's been likened to that of rotting flesh. But as with everything in nature, this stench has a purpose: attracting suitable pollinators, in this case, carrion flies. This all round perverted flower - not sure if it even deserves such an innocent moniker - is endemic to western Sumatra, where it grows in openings in rainforests on limestone hills.

Hereford, Texas

Hereford, Texas claims to have highest concentration of cattle in the world. More than 3.5 million meat and dairy cows can be found within a 160-kilometer radius of the city - all pretty and pastoral... until you smell the poo! However, this doesn't seem to bother the local Texans, because as they say, that's what money smells like.

Mexico City

So, we've all heard the terrible news about Mexico City: it's slowly sinking. But what makes this more disturbing is the thought of what it's sinking into: a whole lot of sewage. Mexico City's sewage system is of quite a complex nature, making it quite susceptible to flooding. So, even though the sewage may go undetected by your olfactory senses in dry times, as soon as the flooding starts it spreads its odor all around. But, not to worry! They have actually sewer divers to clear any obstructions out of the way. And we thought the Javan miners' work sucked.

Durian Fruit Market, Southeast Asia

Known as the King of Fruits in many-a Southeast Asian countries, the Durian looks kind of like a huge pineapple crossed with a dandelion and has pulpy innards that apparently don't taste altogether horrible. But the one thing that really stands out about this fruit is the smell... oh the smell! In fact it's a stench. Even if it remains unopened, the stench of the flesh still permeates through the husk, spreading an aroma reminiscent of rotten onions, turpentine and gym socks. It's so bad, in fact, that the fruit has been banned from public transport in Singapore. Despite this, there are large markets dedicated to the large demand for the fruit.

Zaanse Schans, the Netherlands

One of the most disappointing things in life is probably finding that something you thought quite lovely, isn't actually lovely all round. Like even though beer is delicious (to some), the thick malty stench that sometimes hangs over the Newlands brewery is just, well, revolting. But chocolate? Surely chocolate is endowed only with goodness... well, apparently not! In Zaanse Schans, the Netherlands, a chocolate factory just outside of town gives off quite the unpleasant odour, making the actual eating experience somewhat less appetizing.

Which are the stinkiest places you've visited?


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