Archive for July 4th, 2009

Sparkling teeth and not mint

The problem came to my attention when Steph came out of the bathroom crying and foaming at the mouth. No, her manic-depressive rabies hasn’t come back, but it’s close. She accidentally bought a weirdass toothpaste flavor.

To live abroad is to immerse oneself in “the other.” The foreign becomes familiar and the uncomfortable and strange morph into familiar and mundane. Growing to celebrate the new, exotic and antipodal is part of the process of expatriating oneself. However, when it comes to personal hygiene, routine and familiarity trump any curious or peripatetic urges. This brings us to some unsavory toothpaste flavors, as judged by our American palettes.

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Toothpaste safety scares aside, we found ourselves in need of a new tube of tootpaste. Heading to the most convenient of American establishments here in Beijing, the local 7-11, Steph debated which undecipherable boxed toothpaste to purchase. Should she get the one with no illustrations and a bunch of unknown characters or should she go with the one with a familiar looking sprig of what looked like mint leaves on the packaging? 4.80元 later we found ourselves in possession of a distinctly non-minty toothpaste.

Apparently in China little green leaves on a toothpaste box do not indicate delicious, minty flavor. They actually mean gross, green tea tang. Green tea is a great flavor for the infused chocolate, the novelty ice cream or the familiar iced beverage but when brushing one’s teeth it is not the preferred taste.

Another 5元 later we had some “regular” toothpaste and were back to regular dental hygiene. Smile!



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