Basic Goods Unavailable in Socialist Venezuela

(p. 5) I used to laugh when I heard that reporters were headed to Caracas with their own deodorant. I thought they were just being fussy.
Then came my turn.
I brought Old Spice. For detergent, I brought a ton of Tide. That’s one of my bags above, and all the other essentials that came along: two nasal spray bottles, three tubes of toothpaste, one package of floss, a bottle of body wash, shaving cream, contact lens solution, AA batteries, sponges, detergent, toilet paper and a big bottle of ibuprofen. Two bottles of Scotch.
If a selfie in the airport is a rite of passage for those leaving Venezuela, a preflight run to the supermarket to fill a suitcase with basic goods is the ritual for those arriving here.
Since the economy fell into deep collapse in 2015, some things just aren’t sold here. Other items — like toilet paper — are on the black market but can be tricky to find.
My friend Girish has been making these trips for the last five years. I asked him before moving here what to pack, besides toilet paper.
He responded, via text: “Medicine. First Aid stuff. Spices/other food you like. Kindle (as books aren’t so easy to get here), shampoos/toiletries etc if you like something specific…”
Like some people here, Girish brings enough to get him through a month or so. Then he makes a pit stop in Colombia to fill up the cabinet again.
But most people in Venezuela can’t leave and have to make do with whatever they can find.

For the full story, see:
NICHOLAS CASEY. “Settling Into Venezuela, a Land in Turmoil.” The New York Times, First Section (Sun., Jan. 24, 2016): 5 & 9.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date January 5 [sic], 2016, and has the title “Moving to Venezuela, a Land in Turmoil.”)

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