Let me precede this blog post by saying I would not describe myself as a big drinker. I have always suffered from horrendous hangovers (people complain about hangovers when they hit thirty but mine have always been awful since I started drinking as a teen) and I hate wasting a whole day lying in my bed feeling terrible. It’s a lesson I’ve been taught time and time again, as another aching head and projectile vomiting comes along to remind me, but drinking too much alcohol is just not worth it.
Unless, of course, the night out that caused it was a hell of a lot of fun.
The five nights out I have described below were all followed by monumental hangovers but resulted in memories that still make me laugh out loud to this day. Looking back, none of them began with the intention of having a wild night, they all just kind of happened, and as everyone knows the unplanned nights are always the best. Here’s the five most drunken nights out I’ve had around the world.
We were in out in Memphis city centre about to go back to our hostel when Paul excitedly spotted a sign for Tennent’s lager. Tennent’s is the cheap, go-to, beer in Scotland, and the one Paul drinks the most, so he was very pleased to find a bar which served it having been without it for months as we backpacked around the world. “Let’s go in for one pint of Tennent’s then we’ll go back to the hostel,” Paul said. I can’t remember the exact details, but one Tennent’s in the bar turned into a few then we somehow ended up in the House of Blues which had an incredible live band playing. The fabulous music from the band combined with all the drinks we’d consumed was like rocket fuel, and the two of us ended up dancing in the centre of an empty dance floor (this, for me, is the biggest evidence of how drunk we were – Paul NEVER dances). There are so many photos of that night of memories which are hazy: both of us posing with a soldier who bought us both drinks and me a rose (“I just want to let you know not all Americans are assholes”), me dancing with the saxophone player from the band at the front of the stage, me standing on the mezzanine, arms outstretched for some reason. The hangover the next day was the worst, and what made it even worse was that we were staying in a Christian hostel and had to do chores every day! I lay in bed wanting to to die until the hostel worker tapped on our bedroom door and told me I had to get up and clean the kitchen. There’s a picture of me hunched over in my pyjamas wiping the worktop looking seriously grim. Awful experience but the memory still makes me laugh now.
In 2008 Paul and I were living in a hostel in King’s Cross, Sydney while we completed our working holiday visa. For those who aren’t familiar with the area, King’s Cross was the epicentre of the city’s debauchery, home to brothels, drug dealers and seriously tacky nightclubs (I say was because the city’s government enforced strict licensing laws which pretty much killed the neighbourhood’s crime but also its nightlife). When our friend Neil passed through Sydney on his round the world trip the three of us went out in area, drank far too many beers and ended up in a nightclub called Madam De Biers. Both Neil and I ended up getting kicked out, me after I fell, and Neil after he knocked over a potted plant which crashed into the centre of the dancefloor. The photos from that night are the most ridiculous of us that have ever been taken and will never see the light of day on this blog.
Chang Mai in Northern Thailand, the second stop on our round the world trip, was where I experienced by first “Changover.” A Changover is a hangover caused by Thai beer Chang which is notorious for causing far worse hangovers than other beers. My memories of the night are very, very hazy, but I do remember jumping on the back of a tuk tuk with a group of Americans I’d just met and ending up in a lap dancing club, a place I would never go to if I’d had any control over my decisions. That night, and the hangover that followed, stopped me readily reaching for the Chang on the rest of my trip.
On Christmas Eve 2008 Paul and I were in LA two thirds of the way through our backpacking trip around the world. We decided to head up to Hollywood Boulevard for a pre Christmas drink, intending it only to be one or two drinks, when we got chatting to a barman who turned out to be a big fan of the Glasgow music scene. We stayed longer as he plied us with free booze before engaging in conversation with a group of men drinking beside us. Fuelled by quite a few drinks at this point, we joined the men on a Hollywood Boulevard pub crawl, my memories of which are very hazy. My next memory of that night was singing Rod Stewart songs with the taxi driver as he drove us back to our hotel (I don’t even really like Rod Stewart). Paul and I were so hungover the next day we crawled out of bed at 5pm (Christmas back home was over at that point so we missed any opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas to our families) and just about managed to stumble to the diner next door for nachos, what turned out to be our Christmas dinner.
Korean alcohol (especially soju) causes terrible hangovers which resulted in a few grim days during the two years we lived in Korea. One that particularly sticks in my mind was following a night out with friends in Haebanchon, a district of Seoul which had lots of bars. The bar we were drinking in served Long Island Iced Tea so, with cocktails being a bit of a rarity in Korea, we decided to indulge. Big Mistake. I hadn’t actually realised how much alcohol was in Long Island Iced Tea (vodka, tequila, rum, gin and triple sec) and the measures used in this bar were definitely not the standard measures. A few drinks in we were wired to the moon. Paul was the only sober person there and he said we were all talking complete nonsense (apparently there were a lot of “that’s what she saids”). The next day I couldn’t get out of bed.
Sigh. Looking over these stories makes me realise I’m now too old for this sort of behaviour. I’ve actually recently got into non alcoholic beer which has been quite a revelation as it means I can drink in the pub without any hangover to deal with the next day. Kids, learn from my mistakes and don’t overindulge. Or if you do, maybe sure you make memories you can look back and laugh at.