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March 03, 2005

Quest for NyQuil

I have arrived in Montreal for the IA Summit after 20-odd hours of airports and airplanes (and taxicabs and trains) from Tokyo. The combined effects of sleep deprivation, travel fatigue, and a mounting head cold are giving the world a distinctly surreal flavor, and frankly Quebec isn't helping matters. What I need is NyQuil, which by the way doesn't exist in Japan (to the great disadvantage of the Japanese).

I get directions from the hotel staff to a nearby drugstore. I get lost almost immediately upon stepping out into the 15-degree weather (minus 9 centigrade), but no matter -- nothing much fazes me beyond the persistent ringing in my ears. I take the long way around, but I eventually find the promised drugstore.

There is a section of the store closed off with security fencing. It seems to be the section containing most things you would go to a drugstore for. I walk around to confirm the integrity of the perimeter, and find the NyQuil just out of reach on the other side of the fence. I think I stare blankly at it for a bit.

I look up to assess my options and discover that a man who appears to be the store manager has conveniently materialized at my side. I have only just arrived in Montreal, and I don't know how much English I can expect people to speak, so I do as I have been doing in Japan: I point. "I would like to purchase that bottle of NyQuil," I elaborate.

The manager's accent, manner, and mustache remind me distinctly of Hercule Poirot as portrayed on television by David Suchet. He is remarkably philosophical on the matter, and speaks in a measured, unhurried cadence. "Ah, but you see, ze pharmacy is closed. If ze pharmacist were here, zen perhaps you could explain to him what you need, and he could sell it to you. But," and here he shakes his head sadly, "he has gone. Ze pharmacy is closed."

Now I'm staring at him, rather than the bottle. He patiently explains to me again the part about what might happen if the pharmacist were here, and explains again that the pharmacist has gone. I am too out-of-it to be anything but bemused. "Is there another store nearby where such an item might be purchased?" I venture.

"Yes, we have anozer store down ze street," he says, pointing. "Zeir pharmacy is open until 12."

So I head back out into the 15-degree night to find the other store. But before I get to it, I find a competing chain's store that is like a nice, normal American drugstore, at least to the extent that they don't lock up the analgesics and cold remedies at 8 pm on a weeknight.

<=> | March 3, 2005


Ah, the joys of long distance travelling.

"There is a section of the store closed off with security fencing. It seems to be the section containing most things you would go to a drugstore for"

Murphy's Law to the nth degree. Words to live by, I'd say.

Posted by: beto | Mar 4, 2005 8:43:50 AM

Oh my...I totally know how you feel. After we arrived here several months ago I thought I was going to die w/o my day/nyquil. I ended up doing an order on and having a bunch shipped here...but apparently I was limited to 2 boxes of the stuff since there are regulations for shipping these things. I hope you feel better.

Posted by: ML | Mar 7, 2005 3:08:44 AM

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