Singapore Adventure

Monday, October 02, 2006

Charlie Murphy
by venitha

Stuffed to the brim with one last amok, we fend off the hungry drivers, opting instead for a walk. As we amble hand-in-hand toward our hotel, we people-watch, negotiate a morning wake-up time, and finally stumble across a supermarket.

In any Asian city, the wet market is where it's really at, but the grocery store holds truths of its own.

Burning questions are answered. Who graces the tabloids? Far far too often, Britney Spears. Do the women use tampons? Very rarely. Do they like oreos? Everyone likes oreos. Do they unplug the freezer case every night? You think I'm joking.

Little-known facts are revealed. Even the scuzziest dive in India sells Parle-G biscuits. Bananas are outrageously expensive in Australia. Peanut soup exists. Even chocolate is scary when you can't read the label.

In Siem Reap, we happily embark on a scavenger hunt.

"Good diet soda." I stare wide-eyed at a shelf crammed with a dozen different brands, all, of course, sold by individual can.

"Cheap beer," Jim drools. He loves this aisle, too.

"Oooh, here's a new one: almond juice."

"What does a cow have to do with papaya? I'm just sayin'."

Hot pink pickled blinds us from the dairy (?) case. It's beautiful and... frightening.

Pringles cans form towers of epic proportions. Given the limited selection and paltry supply in most Asian supermarkets, this is shocking, and yet I'm disappointed with the same-old-same-old flavor selection. Where's the tom yum, the udang, and, dare I say it, the durian?

In the freezer case, an unbelievable find: Johnsonville brats! Right next to the glutinous rice balls.

Scavenger hunt successful, Jim gallantly carries our liquid prizes, bottles of Bailey's and French wine at heart-stopping prices, and raucously informs all Siem Reap that Charlie Murphy's cooking Johnsonville brats... Johnsonville brats... Johnsonville brats... I tune out the echo, unwrap a stick of Extra! Lemon Fresh chewing gum and am thankful that he doesn't appear to remember the Pringles jingle.