We tend to travel using only our sense of sight.
We look around.
We see stimulating new things.
We see beautiful scenery, a giant waterfall, a vast blue ocean, a sparkling lake, majestic mountains, a gorgeous hotel, or ancient ruins. Sometimes we use our sense of taste when we try new exotic and delicious foods, but even then the artful presentation of the food plays a big part in appealing to our sense of sight.
How much more enriching would a travel experience be if we paid more attention to the other senses while travelling: taste, touch, sound and smells? What if we took special note of the aromas of a country, and the sounds engulfing the vision in front of us: the sound of water roaring over a waterfall, the sounds of voices in the street, the sounds of children or animals, the background noises in any country, or even the absence of noise. Touch is a powerful sense as well: the feel of water, the rough edges of a rock, the tickle of wind in your hair, or the softness of fine white sand on the soles of your feet.
When recalling a country we’ve been to, we realized that we often remember the smells first. Getting off the plane and smelling that sudden blast of humid warm tropical air is hard to forget. Or in this case, in Belize, a wonderful, unidentifiable scent.
As we got further into inland Belize, we started smelling something lovely. It was an intense earthy fresh smell, and quite intoxicating. It was familiar yet we could not seem to identify it. Driving along the the narrow highways through thick tropical foliage, the scent would waft in occasionally, then disappear. It was a pleasant but intense aroma, sometimes flowery, sometimes pungent, and one had to smile each time it flooded our olfactory senses. Was that a flowery bouquet, or spicy essence? It must be a plant growing nearby, we surmised. But a little voice in the back of our minds kept saying,
“I know that smell!”
Later, driving down the road, we caught up to a truck. The answer to the unknown aroma quickly became obvious.
The semi-trucks were loaded with orange pulp! Bits were flying off onto the highway. No wonder the orange essence was so intense!
Then we noticed the Orange Trees. Some barely visible, others close to the road.
We opened the windows and that heady orange fragrance filled the air with a powerful perfume, stronger than any orange scent we had ever experienced. Now when we think of Orange Walk, as the area was called, we understood the name, and we would now forever recall that extraordinary aroma that was heightened by the near proximity of thousands and thousands of oranges and orange trees and orange pulp.
As you might well imagine with the juice of the oranges extracted, leaving nothing but the orange peel and the fibrous meat of the orange, the intensity of the aromas is exceptionally strong.
Pulp is used in food processing and for adding into other juices, and also for cattle feed. Oranges and other citrus fruits are grown primarily in the Stann Creek and Orange Walk areas of Belize, and are a big industry in Belize. You can read more about the making of concentrates and oils in the citrus industry in Belize here: Belize Info Centre.
The little town of Orange Walk is also known as Sugar City.
Even now, as I write, I can smell that incredible vivid orange essence. If you opened a bottle of Orange Extract, you might get a sense of the depth of the aroma, but no, the freshness would not be there. Can you smell the zesty fragrance of the oranges?