I have made it back from the African continent. I was placed next to a Senegalese woman for the last leg of the flight, the stretch from Dakar to New York. Unfortunately, she smelled bad. It was interesting for me to observe my own culturally sensitive American approach to the matter, though.
Here are my thought processes:
Hour One: She has a unique scent, an earthy musk perhaps.
Hour Three: I am not that hungry and will not eat this dinner due to a slightly upset stomach.
Hour Seven: Why do you bathe in your own feces woman?
My culturally sensitive approach to the matter deteriorated in the face of severe olfactory invasion.
It is much more difficult to be sensitive to culture (olfactory culture) when confronted on a sensory level.
But I am back. With Jen. All is well.