When you travel, do what the locals do

Not the tablets I bought.

Every traveller knows the adage si fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō mōre; si fueris alibī, vīvitō sīcut ibī (“If you should be in Rome, live in the Roman manner; if you should be elsewhere, live as they do there”).  Or, more simply, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

It’s often easier said than done.

Of course, you may not want to follow this advice too closely, but it’s worth noting that things often happen for a reason. The obvious example is: Why do people queue up to go to a certain restaurant?

I was reminded of this when I discovered that I’d run out of drugs. (Legal ones, of course.)

Although I have a prescription from Australia for these tablets, I’ve been able to buy them over the counter in the Middle East and Asia.

Except that the pharmacy at the big shopping mall near where I am staying in Bangkok didn’t have them, and neither did a smaller chemist shop over the road.

The pharmacist in the smaller shop did offer to order them, but when I said I needed them straight away (yes, I allowed my medication to run out — a very bad thing at the best of times, and much more so when you’re travelling), she happily directed me to another chemist’s place down the street.

When I found it, it was full of people and it looked like a hassle because there was no orderly queue to get to the counter.

But that’s where the adage kicks in. All the locals were there getting their medicinal requirements — and not just because they stocked such a large range. It was because it was cheaper.

I paid almost half what I would’ve paid at the mall. And yes, for the real deal, not fakes or generics.

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