Everything stinks

I kept noticing (and then forgetting) that the lobby of the Roppongi b hotel had a harsh, bilious smell to it, as though either somebody had just been sick, or they had trouble with the drains, or the kitchen staff were just dreadful. I put that behind me today as I took a taxi to the airport, a nauseous half hour where I thought I was going to vomit (motion sickness plus no breakfast beyond a Berocca table probably isn’t a great combination) but stenches followed me.

Haneda airport didn’t smell bad, but it was full of people. I’ve only ever flown out of there late at night before, so the press of bodies was quite unexpected. But not smelly.

I got on the plane though, and there was a distinct stench of human waste. I think that was because I was adjacent to a small child with a full nappy, which was a great way to reacquaint myself with what I’ll meet again in a few short hours.

The vegetarian meal was unremittingly bleak – yellow rice that tasted of iron filings, overcooked slices of courgette, and pickles that tasted like primordial sludge. I think the cabin staff took mercy on me and brought me dessert: a dish of three Oxo-cube sized blocks of cherry mint chocolate, which were delicious, but then disqualified me from the tiny pot of Haagen Dasz everyone else got. Although I suppose during sugar-free February I shouldn’t have had either, but the stenches and foul tastes were getting to me.

Then there was a queue of people crouching by the toilets, and vomiting into sick bags. Is it the food? The time of the year? Is it just me?

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