If Andrew continues to post long, perceptive and amusing posts like this about his new life in Barcelona I'm just going to have to automate links to his blog because he's just saying everything about Spain that I just don't have time to write down. He does a bit whingy in this post, but I think that's his cold talking. ;-) He makes up for by writing about things that are sooooooo true.
... Equally unhelpful is the Spanish tendency towards purely functional medicinal packaging. The raison d'etre of UK medicines can usually be determined by the law of inverse proportions: that is, whatever the smiling photograph shows most is the very action that would otherwise be precluded by the ailment. A man on a bicycle is a surefire sign of haemorrhoid cream; an opera singer symbolises throat soothers. Even the names can give a clue, such as Blisteze and Clearasil.
Not here. All medicine boxes are kept behind glass. The universal colour scheme/design is 'igloo furniture by IKEA'. The names read as though they were invented by a Scrabble bag and the drug companies have clubbed together to buy up the world supply of Verdana. There are no clues. And Spain - a country where many over-the-counter drugs are only available elsewhere by photo-identifiable, handcuffed to your wrist, 'turn the keys on three' prescriptions - is not the place to grab something and hope for the best.
Attempts to solicit what you're after are also fraught with danger. Pointing at your nose could get you acne cream or hair remover. Coughing could get you Nicorette patches; attempting to translate 'decongestant' could easily lead to a diarrhetic.
Yes, I have a cold. Perhaps it serves me right for sending (in my opinion) highly amusing emails to everyone in London about the weather over there, but either way, I'm buggered if I'm going to a chemist. This one's going to have to be cured by oranges and tea. ...
He's really got the idea of what REALLY living in Spain is like, seriously. Very amusing. He goes on to talk about early morning TV. I've seen that "That's English" early-morning tutorial program and was doubly amazed, because not only are they teaching English, but BRITISH English. I had no idea what the hell some of the stuff they were talking about was. Andrew actually recognized some of the actors, I guess from the BBC or something. Quite amusing... LEVELS of culture being peeled away there. ;-)
P.S. Andrew? You're using MT, could you unhide whatever you did with the permalink marker because I can't find one... ;-)