You see the shoes were my back-up pair, left outside our place in Singapore, and left there clean I assure you, one month ago. That's all it took for the damp humidity to get to them - this being the rainy season - and how! In fact, on entering the apartment yesterday you didn't need a particularly strong nose to gain an immediate awareness of the fact it had not been lived in for almost a month and there had been a lot of rain. It smelt wet, a sort of woody wet. This is a smell I first encountered in the August of 1988, on arriving in Singapore. It permeated my room at the Garden Hotel, where I stayed for a couple of weeks, and that wasn't a particularly run-down room - but it had some old wooden furniture that was suffused with the odour. The sweet decay of the tropics.
Funnily enough Noi has been talking quite a bit in the last month about how much she misses the English winter, specifically, I think the cold clear frostiness you get at sub-zero temperatures. A couple of nights of that would certainly do something to our warm tropical damp, though I'm not quite sure what that something is. But I don't miss the winter at all. I sort of enjoy our warm damp.