Every country is number one at something. The Philippines is the number one country in terms of text messages (SMS) sent. The United States has the most serial killers. Greenland has the most land per person.
The Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita.
I’ve been here for a month, and I can attest to this. Every week I’ve been here, I’ve told myself, “I will not drink beer. No way. I will not drink beer.”
But the Czech Republic still finds insidious ways to make sure that this doesn’t happen. After all, in restaurants it is the same price as water here–or maybe even cheaper.
On Tuesday, I hung out with some of my AIESECer friends, and ate some average tasting Japanese food for dinner. Of course, afterwards, we went out to drink and check out some Jazz festival that they held in the middle of the city center. We sat in a restaurant near the concert and waited for 15 minutes–and were completely ignored by the waiters. With only the soothing sounds of the saxaphone keeping me from being annoyed, the others and I transferred to another place.
I was feeling curious about the different drinks that are popular to people from other countries, so I had some drink called a Cuba Libre, which my Brazilian friend ordered. It sounded exotic to me, and only afterwards did I discover that it was just made of Cola, lime, and white rum. Basically, a rum coke with a better name.
Anyway, that night, when we were about to leave, it turned out that two people we had randomly started talking to at the pub, a half-British, half-Mexican guy and a half-Spanish, half-Malaysian guy, left us all beers.
Nice of them, really, but once again, beer that I didn’t need. It was a Heineken.
Then on Friday, I went out with my Czech AIESEC friend, her room mate, and another trainee from Venezuela. We drank Sangrias in a pub and ran through the rain to get to a club called Metro. Though I my hair was dripping, I guess I looked okay because some dude bought me a beer, which I didn’t even finish.
It was a good ole Starobrno.
Then on Saturday, before a birthday party of my friend, a Swedish AIESEC trainee, I went to the shopping center to buy a gift and some groceries. As I was walking back home, some women with a big cooler were giving out free, non-alcoholic beer in the train station. Of course, how could I resist? I was anticipating the long uphill walk back to my dormitory, and wouldn’t a beer hit the spot?
It was a Birell.
I am not a beer-drinker, I’ve said before. In parties back home, I cringe a little when the only thing being offered is beer. But the longer I stay in the Czech Republic, the more that statement becomes false.
It’s funny how in such journeys like mine, personal changes can either be big and life-altering, or small like things like these.