Drinking in Foreign Lands

June 28, 2011

As I sip a lovely Cabernet this afternoon in my study, I cannot help but reminisce on the drinking experiences that I have enjoyed in other countries. Different countries have different standards in drink, of course, as they do in many things. In some countries, drinking too much is considered vulgar and disrespectful, while in other countries, a man who cannot hold his liquor is viewed as effeminate and offensive. If you are a teetotaler, then I salute you, but I caution you that you may not enjoy traveling to some places. At the risk of painting the world in vast stereotypes (which is inevitable on a travel blog), I have given below some very general views of drinking in different parts of the world.

1. North America: Many North Americans drink heavily, of course. But they will be very understanding of any visitor who does not drink, or who prefers to be moderate.

2. South America: Drinking is associated with manliness, and you will find heavy drinkers who will insist that you join them.

3. Western Europe: Western Europeans tend to enjoy moderate drinking with meals and throughout the day, but binge drinking and excessive drunkenness are viewed with a bit of distaste.

4. Eastern Europe: Eastern Europeans tend to associate heavy drinking with manhood, and will find it odd and effeminate if male visitors do not drink with them. They also consider it rude to refuse a drink that someone offers you.

5. Africa: Many places in Africa regard drinking as mostly ceremonial. While you will certainly find people enjoy beer and local drinks all the time, the concept of drinking to get drunk is not very popular. Rather, you will find lots of drinking at festivities and gatherings and rituals.

6. Asia: Many Asians drink heavily, especially at business functions. Drinking is seen as a manly pursuit, and those who cannot keep up with the group are not respected as much.

I know, these are terrible generalizations, but they are mostly true. If you travel, you will hopefully agree. The main point is that, no matter where you go, you will be expected to take what is offered you, whether food or drink. Enjoy!

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