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Stankprobleem bij Café Helder in Nijmegen

The Netherlands, 2003-2004 —

The only truly atypical feature about Café Helder, where I worked for a while in Nijmegen, was the massive stink that would sometimes come from the basement.

There was a malfunction with a sewer mechanism. I never got the technical explanation of it, and I had the feeling that nobody really knew.

But for some reason, the gases from the municipal sewer below burped an occasional bit of awful wind, and would stink the whole place up mightily. One of the girls would go to the basement and light a sheaf of incense — but that of course did not cover the horrible odor of rotting human waste products.

The Dutch, being the way they are, sat through it, and continued eating their meals. Some of them likely decided not to return, though, after experiencing one of these occasional bouts. The stink was putrid and overpowering.


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