Beer is a hobby here.
I can’t drink any more beer. I don’t even LIKE beer. I’m becoming fully convinced that people here need other things to do. The favored pastime is drinking Primus, or Mutzig, or Amstel, or Guinness (there are only 4 beers here) in a little tiki bar. They’re all tiki bars, complete with huts covered with straw. It’s pretty cheap, too: a 40 of Primus is one dollar. (It tastes like soap, if you ask me. To each their own.) Also, when you order one beer, they automatically bring two. Why? Because they believe that one is too little. I’m not kidding.
The thing is, people here don’t know when to put down their glass. What should be a regular happy hour becomes, for them, a drunken evening. Every night. And it’s never the women. The women are home cooking and tending to the kids while the men spend all the family earnings on liquor. Alcoholism is one of the biggest problems in this country…I’ve heard stories of families starving while the husband/father drinks the family salary…I’ve heard stories of women being beaten by their drunken husbands. It happens pretty often here, I’m told.
Of course, don’t think that they are going to walk home, if they can help it. I have been asked several times to get into a car with a drunk driver. Recalling my episode with drunk drivers before I left the country, I have not hesitated to be the uptight American girl. I’m okay with that. It’s probably a good thing that the roads are pretty terrible--everyone drives slow so their cars don’t get torn up.
I’ve taken to drinking red wine if I can. Wine is almost impossible to find here, and when you do find it, don’t expect it to be a Cheval Blanc. It’s boxed wine from South Africa, and it costs $3 a glass, which is very expensive when you compare it to a $1 mega-beer.