Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Driving By Smell

Holy Toledo! El Cap Posts Some Original Content!!

Here's something a little different...

Did you know that you can blindfold yourself, and navigate your way around Houston by your nose? It's true!

OK, you'd likely end up in a fiery wreck on the freeway, and contribute your unique aroma of roasting flesh to the plethora of Houston smells, but in theory, you could do it!

Here's a list I've compiled from my neck of the woods. I'm fortunate in that I don't often get over to the Ship Channel & the Refinery area or I'd have a few additional unsavory stenches to add to the list! Also, avoid Bacliff if you can. The whole place smells like unwashed ass, crystal meth fumes & despair...

(Click map to biggie-size!)

A) NorteƱo Pollo Asado Taco Truck - The aroma of grilling onions and chicken greets me every morning. The old bus looks like crap, but the smells coming out are divine!

B) Gorman's Cleaners - A large industrial dry cleaning and service uniform facility. When the wind's right, you get a good hit of steam and hot starch as you drive by.

C) House Of The Unholy - Can't really describe this one, other than to say as you're driving down Memorial Dr. past a bunch of mansions, somewhere in between 610 and Silber you get a huge waft of mold & mildew. My theory is that one of the stodgy old mausoleums has a bloodsucker in residence, a la The Vampire Lestat. I've also seen dead rats along that stretch of Memorial. Creepy...

D) The Bat Bridge - At Waugh Dr. & Allen Parkway, there's a bridge underpass that's home to 300,000 or so Mexican Free-tailed bats. I'm cool with the flappy things, 'cause they eat lots of mosquitos, but their guano just plain stanks!

E) Sunbeam/Rainbo Bread Bakery - God bless Louis-Camille Maillard for explaining the Maillard reaction, or why baking bread turns brown and smells so delicious!! You get the full effect in the morning as they're cranking out the loaves. If you get curious, you can drive down Center St. and watch them trundle carts of loaves from the bakery to the slicing/packaging building next door. In the afternoons, I think they bake pastries and cookies, it's definitely a sweeter aroma!

F) Maximus Coffee Roasting Plant - This used to be the old Maxwell House plant east of downtown. According to the Greater Houston Coffee Association, Houston is home to the only two decaffeination plants in the nation, so if you're fond of decaf, it's likely being made here. It's a great smell from afar, but up close it's a bit overpowering.

G) Taoist Temple - Don't know a lot about this one, other than it's a fantastically ornate temple east of downtown. Some days, you get a hefty hit of sandalwood incense as you drive by!

H) Leeland Bakery - Not sure what they make here, but it's bread-like and smells great!

I) HPD Headquarters - Some people claim that there's a distinct aroma of bacon emanating from the building. Personally, I find that the older I get, (and the less shenanigans I get myself into) the less & less I catch any odor of pork or pork products near any cop shop. In fact, when they're rousting the Occupy Houston slackers & hippies, it's like a breath of fresh air...

J) Tranquility Park - The home of the aforementioned Occupy Houston slackers & hippies, it's really starting to smell like patchouli oil & dirty socks.

So, that's my Tour De Smell of Houston. Feel free to contribute your own in the comments!