One of the great things about preparing for a trip to a country like China, is the pre-packing drugstore spree. We in America take pharmacies for granted � over-the-counter drugs can be found everywhere, in varying forms and prices, no matter where one goes in this country. That is remarkable. Right up there with year-round access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and clean (if not running) water.
Now, I don’t know how they do things in Europe, but in China (and, to some extent, Taiwan), you just better bring your own painkillers and stomach remedies, because if you get sick, you’re on your own. There are pharmacies, but they are few and far between, and they don’t carry much beyond the basics (and some of that is herbal, or counterfeit � big business nowadays, passing off placebos as the real deal). Don’t even think of trying to find anything in the local supermarkets or small retailers, unless you go to a store that caters almost exclusively to foreigners � and even then, you may be out of luck.
The result? Whenever I plan a trip, I go to Walgreen’s for the big bang blow out, and yesterday was my day. And oh, boy. Box after box of diarrhea medicine, cough drops, flu and cold remedies, band-aids, pain-killers, girly stuff � the list goes on and on � and I get to the check out counter, and of course there’s a huge line behind me and only one girl at the cash register. So, everyone’s standing there watching all this stuff pour out of my basket, and the girl ringing up starts giving me these strange looks, her eyes going all wide, and when she gets to the tenth box of Imodium, she says, very quietly, “Are you all right?”
Her voice carried. I know this, because of the choking sounds of suppressed laughter that filled the air behind me.
‘Nuff said. Don’t know why I had to get that off my chest, but public humiliation aside, I very much enjoyed last night’s hour-long episode of JLA. Superman going all Barbarian King is a look I think he should continue with. Very interesting, although what was with the white loincloth over his blue tights? Did his outside undies get torn/soiled/mangled � and if so, what’s holding up the rest of his pants? Oh, a question to ponder for another day.