Thursday, May 31, 2007


We are given a "consumables allowance" for products we wish to take with us to Vietnam. It is assumed that American families, when posted abroad, find it difficult to sustain the same brand loyalties (and, to be fair, access to medicines) they enjoy at home. So, for posts sufficiently foreign, like Southeast Asia, we're allowed some addition to our usual weight allowance. Applications are myriad: boxes of favored breakfast cereal, shelves of over-the-counter cold medication, a childhood's-worth of truly trustworthy diapers. It's a cinch this is necessary, but a thousand pounds' worth? Some of the suggestions I've heard have amused me: it's often difficult to get the proper chips for US cookies, litter for US kitties, or brake fluid for US cars in the larger world. Granted; but I've never been someone who obsesses over stuff from home when I'm away. I'm mostly comfortable substituting the products available for those brands to which I supposedly domestically cling. Six months ago the only thing worth hoarding while traveling was my dear brand of disposable razor blades. Other brands, well, they suck. Since then, with an embarrassment of space, I've added mouthwash to my list: I often find off-brands disappointing. One thing I won't be packing is toothpaste. I like Crest, but not the gel version we're using lately. Yesterday I discovered a new, off-white tube by the sink. I thought the color, that of tartar, was an unfortunate choice for toothpaste packaging; but I was happy to note it wasn't a gel. Happy, that is, until I tried it and discovered it was minty vanilla flavored, and unpleasantly akin to brushing my teeth with fudge. Not only was it foul, but it turned the flavor of my mouthwash disappointing. I'm certain whatever they have in Saigon will be better. [Cavin]

Then, a 5 sided conversation ensued...

To which Anonymous 'ell joy added:

I bought some sour grape toothpaste once. Yes, it was purple but rinsed clean. It was marketed to children, I'm sure, but I couldn't resist trying it. Big yuck. And I kept thinking about all the little 'uns who weren't spitting because it tasted so much like the bubble gum. Except not as healthy.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 6:54:00 PM  
To which Blogger Ellie added:

I happen to have this weird orange/mint flavored toothpaste that I accidently bought while traveling somewhere. I have kept it as my travel toothpast and am always depressed when I wake up in a new town and go to brush my teeth and realize that I still have it. It's like drinking orange juice after you brush your teeth. Except, it tastes that way, while you brush your teeth.
I just can't make myself throw it away.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 9:29:00 PM  
To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

Oh yeah, both of those sound pretty horrible. The difference that I imagine is that orange and grape are flavors often associated with drink. They are tart and refreshing. Hell, they are both popsicles: something you expect to wipe around your mouth with a stick. The vanilla was like smearing sticky sugary pudding over the surfaces of my teeth. Crest Brulée with a sprig of minty garnish. Honestly, I'm not sure it even tasted all that bad; it was just so wrong, so utterly wrong.

Friday, June 01, 2007 12:24:00 AM  
To which Anonymous 'ell joy added:

I never managed to throw out that grape stuff until it was almost empty. It laid around in my medicine cabinet for at least two years, taking up needed space, being used only when I ran out of other toothpastes. Old and grape, for gods' sakes. I'm just too damn cheap to waste a dollar. Yes, bought at Big Lots for a buck.

I was still getting over "popsicles: something you expect to wipe around your mouth with a stick" when I ran into "Crest Brulée with a sprig of minty garnish" and realized I haven't eaten today. Gotta go.

Friday, June 01, 2007 3:13:00 AM  
To which Blogger sunshine added:

See, what Mr. Cavin is not telling you is that this was also a travel toothpaste decision. When I hit Union Station after that brutal train ride and had to go directly to class. It was either subject my classmates to train breath or buy the only available thing. I think they like vanilla better

Friday, June 01, 2007 10:40:00 AM  

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