Finding things

Every time I go to a new store here in Penang (which is often), I take the time to go through the whole place to check out what they have, even if I'm not looking for anything.  Shops here are known for carrying the most eclectic variations of goods.  Most carry a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and then some.  But of course, when I'm actually looking for something, it cannot be found.  Until one day, many moons after my need for said product is gone, I discover it in some completely random place.

Popsicle sticks, for example.  I wanted to get them for school a few months.  My local mini-mart didn't carry them (a bad, sign, because they seem to carry 99.8% of my needs).  I went to the pharmacy and asked for tongue depressors.  They said I would have to order them in bulk (in the 1000s).  No thank you.  The "craft section" (hardly worthy of the term, its about 1 meter wide) at Tesco didn't carry them.  Apparently children here don't do crafts with popsicle sticks like we do in America...or perhaps that was just me. The not-so-friendly helpers at Ace Hardware couldn't quite understand what I was asking for, but all they had that seemed to fit my description was paint stirrers.   I finally gave up until a few days ago, when I happened upon them in an art supply store. And wouldn't you know it, I also saw them the next day in a stationary store.  They are now being put to good use in school.

Other elusive items:

Glycerin - This was only a difficult item to find because here it is known as "infant tongue wash."

Pipe cleaners (also known as "chenille stems")- Oh, popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners, the stuff of childhood.  I also looked everywhere for these for months, and found them this weekend in a stationary store, right next to the popsicle sticks!  Apparently in the "cheap and cheesy craft section".  Oh, how desperately I miss stores like Michael's and JoAnn fabrics.

Mason jars - I wasn't exactly looking for these, but I was pleasantly surprised when I happened upon them at Ace.  Ace Hardware hardware here is actually pretty amazing, although it's on the other side of the island so I hardly go there.

There you go.  More than you needed to know about popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners in Malaysia.

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