Good dread shampoo?
I'd second Soaring Eagle for www.dreadlockshampoo.com the liquid works wonders on my hair, dreads super quick and last a long time.
The hair have to loop and stick out in different places for them to lock together and form into dreads, don't worry though they'll more than likely settle and become much straighter when they're mature. I'd advise against straightening your hair altogether just because of the damage it does and it'll probably make very little difference anyway. There is also the risk of pulling hairs out of knots that're forming by pulling them down in the straightener. Just enjoy the journey and embrace the mess.
I had the same problem with the shipping for the shampoo from dreadlockshampoo to England. So i bought 3 bottles with the shipping staying the same rate. One bottle will last me 6 months washing every 3 days, but now i only wash once a week it lasts even longer. I figure £40 every couple of years is worth it for having decent shampoo.