Singapore Adventure

Friday, April 07, 2006

Klixx Mules Rule!
by jima

Singapore is called Asia Lite by Western expats, and the label fits. The English language, the amazing food, the hideous climate, and all the comforts of a modern metropolis come together to make the transition to an Asian culture relatively easy and stress-free. Strong emphasis on relatively. In addition, the large expat community provides an ample market for products from all over the world, and honestly, there are very few items that we want or need that can't be found on this island... for a price.

It's that last part that's the kicker. In Singapore, "luxuries", including many Western goods, are heavily taxed, and while I believe in general that this is a good policy, it's still tough (but not that tough) to swallow wine sold for double what I'd pay in the US, chocolates sold for triple, and cheesy, low-quality, knock-off brands of everything that just aren't up to par.

When a kind friend and US co-worker asked, "What can I bring you?" before he aimed toward Asia and launched into the friendly skies, we inadvertently stumbled upon a solution, and ever since we've shamelessly turned friends, family, and co-workers into an international smuggling cartel. Co-conspirator #1 breezes in with a couple of bottles of Montepulciano. Suspect #2 ferries a bag of Dove chocolates across the border, and hoodlum #3 sneaks through the airport with a stash of Klixx, my favorite desk toy an indispensible tool for twiddling, fidgeting, and burning away my nervous energy, annoying my co-workers, though no longer my wife, in the process (Venitha has banned them from the apartment).

Other products smuggled in through Changi Airport: Pepto Bismol, Crest toothpaste, Q-tips, Religious Experience salsa, Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Hazelnut tea, Victoria's Secret underwear, DVDs of - oops, nope! No DVDs! None whatsoever!

A heartfelt Thank you to all my mules those kind and thoughtful international travelers who willingly give up that oh-so-precious commodity, suitcase space, to make our lives in Singapore a little better.