But yesterday, it wasn't a smell that took me down memory lane as we picnicked by the Loire. It was a taste.
I've never been big on sardines, canned or otherwise, but during our last trip to Madagascar, we had to eat cans and cans of them. A five-day canoeing/hiking/sightseeing tour we took included food, and the food of choice for our guides was sardines. I won't say I grew fond of them, but I did overcome my original skepticism concerning their edibility when that was all there was to be had.
So, yesterday, when Julien decided to eat sardines for our picnic, I grabbed a box for myself. And the taste took me right back to Madagascar and one day in particular.
We had just finished the three-day canoeing portion of our trip and, while waiting for our oxen-drawn carts to be loaded, had lunch just outside the "village" (three shacks, a boui-boui--hole-in-the-wall restaurant or street-vendor type eating establishment--and a dirt ramp leading down to the river to accommodate canoeists who can go no further due to the shallowness of the water).
The village children gathered around us, hanging back just far enough not to incur the wrath of our guides, as they waited for us to finish our sardines. As soon as the fish was gone, a child would run forward to accept the can still full of oil, which they would drink down with delight, then, with grimy fingers, scoop out any remaining bits of sardines and seasonings.
It was a bittersweet thing to witness standing, as we were, at the chasm that divides those with too much from those with too little.
ETA: My love is the one who took these photos, btw, not moi. I'll try to remember to attribute next time. :P