Singapore Adventure

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Take A Peek
by venitha

I stared indifferently at myself in the mirror of the door-sized medicine cabinet as the agent did her imitation. "Mmmm..." I nodded in the apathetic catatonia of a woman who had tromped through a dozen too many apartments.

Two weeks later, I unpacked one box of toiletries after another into it. You'd have thought I was moving to a remote jungle village with no indoor plumbing instead of to a cosmopolitan city with two drug stores right across the street. Still, while there are some items I haven't touched in the last fifteen months, there are other supplies that I happily restocked on our recent US trip, and our medicine cabinet is fuller than ever. I should have been vastly more enthusiastic the first time I saw it. Contents of note:

Pepto Bismol. It boggles the mind why Pepto Bismol is not available in a country where diarrhea is a common and acceptable topic of polite conversation. We take it prophylactically whenever we travel and are thankful to have very little to contribute now to the ubiquitous traveller's diarrhea conversations. Knock on wood regarding our upcoming Siem Reap jaunt.

Nyquil. It's not available here as far as I can tell, though I admit that I haven't looked for it in liquor stores. Next time I'm at the airport, I'll look for it in duty free. Right next to the schnapps.

Crest. In spite of the lack of smiles and the seemingly rampant poor dental hygiene, toothpaste is widely available in Singapore. But we all have our favorite brands, no? Carried away this summer with the heady excitement of being in a Target store surrounded by wide aisle after wide aisle of familiar and beloved products, neat and clean and in stock, and me with an enormous cart and a car with a huge trunk to carry my booty home... well, we've now got a lifetime supply of Crest. Know any other uses for toothpaste? Actually, I could probably make a small fortune off it on the Singapore expat black market. Or give it as Christmas presents to my expat friends. Crest is the brand most often mentioned as missed from home. Apparently, we should all buy stock.

Shampoo. What we brought several large bottles of cheap Suave shampoo for, I can't say, but I suspect we're going to ship them right back to Colorado next summer. Jim's penchant for swiping the little bottles of shampoo from hotels means that he will never ever for the rest of his life have to buy shampoo. Lest you think you've found the source of my frizziness problem, rest assured that I spend a small fortune on my own salon shampoo. And yet Jim's hair is never frizzy. Hmmm...

Prescription drugs. Let's just say that Singapore is not Canada.

Sunscreen. I've never been anywhere that I need it more, and yet 50 SPF sweat-proof sunscreen is not easy to find here. I've run across the good stuff only once, and I now suspect that was a dream. Jim dreams of snow; I dream of toiletries.

Lotions. Foofy scented lotions used to be a nice treat in gloriously-dry Colorado, but I've thrown them over for sunscreen these days, and I'm no longer dismayed when locals tell me that I smell like it. Sunscreen: my signature scent.

Hair defrizzing products. You name it, I've tried it, I've cursed its inefficacy, and its nearly-full container is now sitting on a shelf in my lovely medicine cabinet. If I mix them all together, these fine products will a) explode b) finally work c) dissolve my hair, resolving this frizzy problem once and for all.

YouTube is being uncooperative. Here's the video I wanted to include.