Last minute packing
The little things most people don’t talk about when they talk about shopping
Shopping, Part Four
I travel light and tend to pack the morning of or, if I’m ambitious, the night before a trip. Leaving cold Paris* for Marrakech I couldn’t quite imagine warm weather and thus did a poor job of packing clotheswise, and, as it turned out, otherwise as well. I’d packed an almost empty tube of toothpaste and a bottle containing barely enough sunscreen to cover the back of my neck. A few days into my trip I discovered the tampons I’d carefully transferred to a baggie to save room were nowhere to be fund. I headed back to a stall near my riad that sold a little of everything and asked the man behind the counter if he had “hygienic things for women”. “Tampon” means “stamp” in French and I didn’t, still don’t, know, the proper translation. I shook my head when he handed me a box of maxi pads and said, No, the “little hygienic things”. This was met with a blank stare and an apology. I repeated this feeble exchange three more times at three similar stalls with no luck. As I was growing resigned to the pink boxed pillows I decided to ask the expat shopkeeper, who’d hitherto been a fount of useful knowledge, where I might find what I was looking for. When I inquired she said my question was one she was asked surprisingly often. So often, she said, she’d joked about making little emergency packs with the store logo stamped on the front. She explained that I needed to go to an actual pharmacy and that they’d be both larger than their European counterparts and far more expensive. Just to be on the safe side she suggested I go to the pharmacy in Place Fna** which would definitely have them.
Sure enough, as I rolled in I saw just what I was after prominently displayed in a glass case. I pointed at my prize and was shocked as the woman behind the counter told me the price. “They’re imported”, she said.
*It is both raining and hailing as I type this.
**After making my purchase I seemed to see tampons everywhere, always in a glass case.