Tuesday, August 2, 2011

China, Malaysia and Shopping

My father used to tell us not to complain because when he was growing up in a large family with little money, he had it tough.  You know the kind of thing I mean…”I had to walk 10 miles uphill both ways in a blizzard to go to school all summer.”  He also used to tell us he was so poor he had to use corn cobs as toilet paper.

I opened a new roll of toilet paper the other day and was looking at the wrapper.  The tag line, in English under the Chinese, was “Corn. Fortable. Soft.”  Perhaps they were thinking of my father.

Most of the products for sale here were made and imported from China.  The quality is somewhat disappointing.  Like the knife/scissor set I bought before coming to Savaii.  I used the knife once.  The handle broke in half.  I was slicing an onion, not doing some kind of Ginzu test.  I also bought a shallow plastic tub to use for laundry and other household chores.  I used it three times to haul wet laundry outside to hang.  I still use it although it has large cracks in the bottom after those three uses.

The grocery stores also have a variety of items from Malaysia.  Many are quite tasty and inexpensive.  One thing I love is a small bag of “nuts”.  It’s actually a snack mix made from garbanzo beans, soy beans and peas.  A bit salty, crunchy and only $1 for a small bag.  I’ve also discovered a Malaysian snack called Cheesy Balls.  Only $.40 for a tiny bag of tasty little balls that have a taste reminiscent of Cheetos.  It’s a good thing they come in very tiny bags.

I drink a lot of water.  I also drink a lot of Crystal Lite.  My Florida buddies sent me a case and I stocked up on some more when I found it in Pago Pago.  Occasionally I get the urge for a soda.  I only drink diet soda at home and even that, not very often.  Here, it’s hard to find diet anything so when I find diet soda I grab it.  Shasta is a popular brand and one of the least expensive sodas available.  Makes me feel like a kid again, since Shasta was a rare treat growing up in Arizona.

I enjoy reading the labels of the food and other items I buy.  Most are made in Asia with labels in Chinese, Vietnamese or Malay,  English and…Spanish.  Go figure.

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