International Grooming

I think almost any guy would consider it a boast to have pretty minimal trappings when it comes to grooming, and I would say the same.  Yet, it struck me the other day that, simple though it may seem, daily grooming has taken on quite a complex history.

  1.  Showering.  Here in Banga, if there is power (+/- running water), I will take a bucket sponge bath every other morning.  The reason for the power is that I prefer to use one kettle full of boiling water.  Both the shampoo and the kettle are from a Chinese store here in the capital, and it takes a special adapter to plug it into the wall here.  The soap is Burundian.
  2. Brushing teeth.  Tooth care is culturally interesting, and I have come to believe that no one prioritizes it like Americans.  We have a Colgate "herbal" flavored toothpaste we got in Kenya.  The toothbrush is American.  I have a stockpile of American floss that a friend brought out.  Good luck finding reasonably-priced dental floss anywhere else, including Europe.
  3. Deodorant.  Another very cultural thing.  Unthinkable in many parts of the world.  In Kenya, I once found a roll-on stick made by Umbro, the soccer-shorts people, but it didn't last long.  In France, I tried a spray, but the scent left something to be desired (per Rachel).  I thought I would go back to stockpiling American stuff, but found a French store with a good option just before leaving, and that's what I have here in Burundi.
  4. Shaving.  Though shaving cream is hard to come by in Burundi, normally this is not a hard one.  I have cream and razors from France, as well as a set of 220V clippers from France.
  5. Meds.  My allergies flare up in setting of blooming green foliage, which is most of the time here in the equatorial highlands of Africa.  When I got to Kenya, I asked the pharmacy to order some nasal steroids, so I have a stash from Kenya.  A visiting eye doc got me some allergy eye drops, and I'm not sure where they are from, but a lot of there stuff is manufactured in India.

And now, I'm ready to go.  I mean, I can still consider myself a low-maintenance guy, right?  It only takes the USA, France, Kenya, China, Burundi, and possibly India to get me through daily grooming.  Oh yeah, and electricity.


tscarlet said...

Great post! These are things I've been pondering for our family as well. At least now we know that a quarter of our shipping container should be filled with floss!