Beer is Cheaper than Water. A Gift or a Curse?

So I recently returned from a 5 day trip to Boston for St. Patty’s Day. Just to give you an idea of how the trip went, on our 10:30am flight to Boston our beautiful and amazing flight attendant took a liking to my crew and provided us with free Heinekens and Jack Daniels for the entirety of the flight. The trip was legendary to say the least, but it was definitely filled with extreme highs and lows. My 3 other friends and I were staying in a one bedroom apartment with my buddy and his girlfriend, so we were forced to alternate between the couch and floor. Let’s just say after a full day of walking the city, consuming copious amount of Guinness and dancing to bagpipes, waking up on the floor with a killer hangover isn’t the most awesome position to be in. What’s ironic about this situation is that in addition to being a technical video producing extraordinaire, I also co-own and run a Hangover Helpers business in my hometown. Funny enough the business is designed to relieve persons in the exact same situation I was in all weekend, by providing breakfast burritos, Gatorades and cleaning your house so your entire day is not spent in a miserable state of being. If you haven’t heard of it check out our Hangover Helpers website. Anyway, similar to my last entry my coping strategy with a bad situation is just to remind myself of a time when I was in far worse condition. Here’s the tale…

Thailand is hot, really, really hot. I’m a London born kid who grew up in the mild Colorado weather, so extreme heat is not something I’m familiar with. Now I’m sure most are familiar with the symptoms of a hangover; dry mouth, pounding headache, queasy stomach and an overall sense of misery. Now combine extreme temperatures with a wicked hangover and you’ve got yourselves into what some might argue is a dimension of hell. To top this off there’s a strange phenomenon in Thailand that might seem like heaven to some, but is actually a gift and a curse. Beer is cheaper than water…. Drinking the tap water isn’t something you should do unless you appreciate frequent and long trips to the squatty potty (eastern style toilet that’s basically a hole in the ground). So this often presents one in a situation where its more economical to drink beer. Sounds like fun right? Not necessarily… The most common beer in Thailand is called Chang (elephant). It claims a fairly strong 6.4% alcohol content, however most locals will tell you that in reality it actually ranges between 6% – 10% depending on the batch. In addition, the beer most commonly comes in 640ml bottles which is roughly 2 standard 12oz beers. Now here’s the kicker, Chang Beer uses formaldehyde as a preservative! If anyone has taken a high school anatomy class they can immediately recognize the awfully pungent smell of this awful chemical. I can’t be sure whether it’s the formaldehyde, alcohol content or some mystery ingredient but the morning after effects of consuming Chang are an experience I wish not even on my enemies. The experience is far superior and cannot be classified in the same realm as a hangover, hence the term CHANGOVER. As if this wasn’t enough there’s another phenomenon that contributes to the most wretched mornings imaginable and no joke developed into my worst fear in Thailand. Picture a 100 degree day, drinking Chang and walking around a city. After sightseeing you meet some hilarious travelers and go drink beers and discuss adventures. You’ve explored the city’s nightlife, but over indulged a bit in your Chang consumption so you go to your guesthouse for some shut eye. Because your bed was only $5 it contains no air conditioning or fan for that matter. As you wake up in a massive pool of sweat, with a horrid Changover your overheated brain starts forming a thought more terrifying than playing water polo against a pack of Great White Sharks… There’s no water in your room!! It’s not as if you can merely drag your body out of your room and go lay your head in the sink for a few minutes. You must not only trek back out into the heat in search of it, but when you finally locate someone who sells this rare coveted liquid you will have to haggle them to get a fair price, and most likely the crafty Thai person will recognize your Changover state and drain every baht (Thai Currency) you possess! Please heed my advice, if you choose to indulge in the demon commonly known as Chang Beer, please have a large bottle of water laying next to your pillow BEFORE you venture out….

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