I have been in America now for the better part of 2 years. One of the benefits for my life in living here is the fact that I have only drank about 4 times since I’ve been here. This is in part because when I did try to drink the heat plus the alcohol made me dangerously dehydrated but also because being in a big new city, there was a lot for me to do other than drink. Well, this week in Tempe, Arizona was Oktoberfest and so I decided to put my drinking hat on and indulged in some Erdinger Dunkel! Now, I said I drank 4 times since I got here…one of those times was actually in Nevada, not Arizona. I guess I never thought to check the alcohol content on the booze. When younger I drank in Florida but noticed the alcohol was much weaker than in Ireland, I had assumed that was run of the mill for the country, I had even figured in my head that justified the drink driving culture you see on tv shows like The Simpsons, that people can have two or three beers and drive and it’s acceptable because the booze is so weak. It turns out, I was wrong. It turns out the average alcohol percentage in this state is actually 5% and some of the beer I was drinking was actually 6%. I started with Guinness, which I have had most times I chose to drink, multiple times the bar maid did not bother her arse to do the two part pour and I was given a pretty shitty pint. American beer is actually really bad, I tried to defend it a lot when home but when you start drinking the different types, it’s pretty terrible. I liked to drink a bottle of Bud or Corrs when home when in the mood for something light, not too gassy and not too heavy to drink, I used that logic here last night not realizing how strong the drink was. Also, you might be shocked to find out, they sell feckin’ Harp here!!
You would think the strength of the booze would be a good thing but old Rory doesn’t do well in crowds or well in crowds of drunk students. Unlike in Galway, there is not a mass exodus of students on weekends. The majority stick around as they are from far away places like Boston, as was one young man who tried to engage me about how the Red Sox were playing the Detroit Tigers. It was at this point that I found out Detroit had a baseball team! I tried to have the kind of craic that Steve and I would have on a Saturday night in Kellys smoking area, making a quip about a certain young lady trying to get herself so drunk that tomorrow morning she can tell herself it was because of the drink that she had two cocks in her asshole last night…but I found that peoples idea of craic here is completely different. Also, people here are slightly fuckin’ nuts when it comes to college sports. I can’t understand how middle aged men and women are wearing Sun Devils shirts…they’ve turned a college team into a brand. Seriously the amount of jerseys and shirts being worn was mind boggling. More power to them and all but I’d be pissed if I was paying 40k a year in tuition to prop up one of these teams.
Gone too was the obligatory end of night Snackbox, I couldn’t stomach an American fast food joint when drunk, not that the quality of the food was gross, it wasn’t. Five Guys was right next door and is very good food but knowing that the pig I am when drunk would mean demolishing that huge portion and probably puking it all back up was none too appetizing. I also did not get a taxi home or walked, walking here is a taboo, I live in what I think is an ok area but what others have called ‘Da Hood’. I got the light rail train to about .5 miles away from my apartment, while on the train a homeless man in a wheelchair was having a conversation with a father and his kids who were fishing on the bank of the lake. It was nice to see a homeless person being treated like a human being. Also there was an interesting deaf couple using sign language with one another, both had service dogs but not the kind of service dogs that I’ve ever seen. I’m use to seeing Labs or Retrievers, one of these dogs was a pudgy Lemon Beagle who lay on the ground like a stripper on a mans leg.
All in all. Oktoberfest was a bust, the festival featured country music, a competition to win a Ford Mustang, a Budwesier and Corrs Lite truck, multiple beer tents with Four Peaks and only one Beer Garden serving a German and Irish beer which I had never heard about. The least German, German themed event I have been to. I went to a couple of pubs instead. It’s a fun place to go drinking but I guess I don’t have much in common with the typical drunken American..I missed my drinking buddies back in Ireland.