British Colony Drinking

Americans are not able to drink at the level of fellow British colonies.  Fact.  An effect of its strict twenty one year old drinking age and fear of giving a child even a drop of alcohol.  I am a product of this poor situation.  My first drinking experience was in high school where I passed-out at a party because I did not understand the effects of what I was drinking and the time it took to go through my system.  In the years since I have realized the severe drawbacks of complete abstinence until hitting the drinking age.  American students that go to Mexico for Summer break, where the drinking age is eighteen, or their first year of University have many problems with alcohol.  I once worked  in Cancun during Spring Break as a Paramedic and it was unbelievable.  The amount of eighteen year old students with alcohol poisoning was astronomical.  Not to mention those passed out in the streets or of the number of sexual assaults.

Now I compare my drinking experience with that of my wife.  She is a Hungarian and like most Europeans is raised on, and with a respect, for alcohol.  She could have drinks as a child with her parents for birthdays, celebrations, and such.  She got to see how alcohol effected her body under the supervision of her parents.  So when she got of age and went to clubs she knew her limits.  She has never passed out or gotten obnoxiously drunk.  I see no ill effects from her being given drinks as a child and youth.  Granted that different people are affected differently.  Some will become alcoholics and some Europeans still get pissed and pass out.  But starting drinking young does not make you an alcoholic, and Europeans do not get pissed on the same level as Americans.  I do remember seeing lots of billboards and advertisements in New Zealand asking citizens not to drink so much, but I wonder if it was really that bad.  From personal experience they seemed to have fewer problems than Americans with booze, but granted that I did not meet every Kiwi and I do not know every American.  I can only go by what I have experienced.

Then there is tolerance.  Being an American makes it difficult to go out with citizens of other countries as American beer barely qualifies as carbonated water(Water with gas).  When I moved to New Zealand I had an impossible time going out to the pub.  There was no way I could drink at the rate they do.  For some reason it was quite embarrassing.  Then when I moved to Poland I got my hair set on fire in a pub(story to come), as I had to contend with vodka instead of beer.  And finally it all came to a head in Hungary when I met my arch-nemesis Palinka.  Just drinking with my in-laws and I blacked out for the only time in my life.  After living in Hungary for a few years I can now drink anyone I know in the USA under the table.  It is even possible to keep up with my Irish friend.  It took some time but I am now drinking at a Hungarian level.  I’m so proud.

People of the world, especially parents, please realize that your children will drink.  Take the time and teach them the effects of alcohol at home under your supervision so it does not take them by surprise in a strange and sometimes dangerous location.  It is truly the best way.  And America for your part lower your damn drinking age to join the rest of the world and don’t be so prude and strict about giving a child a taste.

The Hungarian People

Hungarians are the strangest people I have come across in my life, which is made all the more weird since they are in the middle of Europe and surrounded by cultures I like.

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Let me begin with their physical appearance.  A german looks German, a Swede looks like a Swede, a Brit looks like a Brit, a Slav looks like a Slav, an Arab looks like an Arab, the Japanese look Japanese, and an Indian looks Indian.  Every country on this planet has a look. Even Americans look American.  It is easy to tell an American black from an Ethiopian.  Hungary is the only country I know of that doesn’t follow this rule.  They have no identity at all.  They look very plain.  I cannot even say that they have mixes of German, Turkish, or Russian, because they don’t look like it.  Go to Hungary and try it.  Sit in a cafe and guess peoples nationalities.  It will be easy with the tourists, but Hungarians you will mistake every single time until you hear them speak.

Then their is their attitude.  I have two complaints about it.  They are the most negative people on the planet and also have an unhealthy, almost religious, obsession with food.  Lets begin with their negativity.  Most of them act like dogs that have been beaten.  They never smile when walking and forget about anyone saying hello or good day.  I was told by some Hungarians that if you do smile to strangers they will think that you have a mental problem.  This all goes out the window once you have befriended them.  Then they become extremely nice and hospitable, showering you with food and drinks and making you feel like an honored guest in their house.  I feel it my duty here to tell you the golden rule of Hungary.  ‘Never refuse a palinka when offered’.  Palinka is the Hungarian drink and forms a bond between you and the host immediately upon sharing one.  Refuse and you will make a lifelong enemy.  So do not visit Hungary if you do not drink.  If you do visit prepare your liver for destruction.  Real palinka made by grandfathers, and not the store bought stuff, is extremely strong.  Drinking it has resulted in my only blacked out night.  So prepare yourself.

Beyond this they always think the worst of every situation.  To illustrate this point I will tell the story of a girl I knew.  She was applying to get a job and had an interview.   I wished her luck, helped her practice the interview questions, and told her she would do great.  He parents, yes her own parents, told her that she probably wouldn’t get the job and not to get her hopes up.  That about sums up their attitude to life.  I guess it is from being such a poor country under the Soviet Unions boot. Being poor might also explain their facination with food.  Where the British greet each other by asking about the weather, Hungarians greet each other by asking how their last meal was or what they are going to eat.  90% of any conversation concerns food.

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Hungarians also seem to have extremely poor decision making skills.  As a country they have been on the wrong side of every war.  Even now they are the most zenophobic country in Europe and the Prime Minister is a complete and utter moron.  But I do give them some credit for the obviously evil Jobbik party not winning, though they did come close.  They seem to refuse to learn English, which is weird and stupid when compared to Poland.  Most poles learn English and take advantage of the EU and go work in the UK.  But as you can guess Hungarians don’t learn English and don’t take advantage of the EU.  Instead they get extremely low paying jobs at home and then complain about it.

So Hungarians are the weirdest people I have ever met.  If food is your enjoyment in this life or you ever feel a need to be surrounded by negativity then I recommend you move to a Hungarian village.  The cost of living is almost nil, so go ahead and do it today.