As a germophobe, I consider flying one of the top 10 things that I wish I weren't doing but I have to do anyway, so I might as well stop bitching about it. I can drown out the SOBs who moan and whine about how long it takes to get through security at the airport, and I can forgive an airline company for filling the plane with old hags instead of the beauty queens that Singapore seems to attract. However, my bitching goes far beyond that; I tend to panic when sitting in an uncomfortable and confined space without fresh air and-as this last trip to Japan proved-soap in the lavatory dispensers (not once were they refilled!). I just barely learned to accept having to take all of my contents out of my travel bag for inspection, but now it's mandatory to remove shoes, even if they're tennis shoes. In Korea, security politely gives you ample time to pass through the metal detectors so you don't feel like you've stopped the space-time continuum. You're even handed a pair of slippers to use as your shoes go through the X-ray machine. It's service with a smile, I tell you. I used to laugh at people who wore SARS masks on the plane, but they really do work great. People don't come near you and you don't need to down Airborne every 30 minutes to avoid catching the flu.
But what really gets me is the sheer lack of soap in Asia, or warm water for that matter (although I'm sure this wouldn't be the case during the summer). For countries that are so radically advanced when it comes to technology, I'd expect soap oozing out from some sort of robotic dispenser in the form of a woman's chest, or space age hand sanitizer that can only be found in a place like Japan because it smells like stripper or melon soda. Nope-nothing of the sort. (At least Koreans leave bars of soap out, and if they weren't cluttered with thick and curlies I'd use them.) Really, how hard is it to fill a plastic container with soap? I suppose until that happens, I'll have to stick with my JDM SARS mask, keep a travel size Purell in my pocket and purchase stock inAirborne.