What I learned while drinking in Aruba

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Mar 30th, 2009
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Aruba is not exactly what you’d call a beer destination. Like other Caribbean destinations, it’s the land of fruity drinks and bland lagers.

But that’s ok. The local beer, Balashi, tastes pretty good when you’re sitting on the beach. If you’re going to have a couple of beers, I always recommend drinking local, so be sure to have a couple of Balashis. On the other hand, if you’re going to have 11 or 12, then I’d recommend the Heineken (usually not my first choice … but Heineken does encourage you to enjoy Heineken responsibly, which I think means that you can keep drinking it until you accidentally spill one)

What else did I learn?

I learned about heretofore little known and mythical religions of the Indian subcontinent. Then again, perhaps the religion was not native to India, and had only been outsourced there … that doesn’t make it any less significant to the people who lost their religion because of this outsourcing, but I digress.

What was I talking about again?

The Drinking String. An inspiring relgious tradition.

A group of young Indian men approached the hot tub, and one had a long string draped over his shoulder.

Naturally we inquired about the string, and it was explained that it was of religious significance.

The young man’s religion did not allow him to buy alcoholic drinks. However, when he wore the drinking string, we was able to accept drinks purchased by others.

Yeah … I don’t think he got too many free drinks that way, but it was a religion that intrigued me.

I also learned that Springfield Missouri is the capital for “eggs and kegs”. Apparently it’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day any more, but a regular weekend ritual in Springfield Missouri. Bored from years and years of pouring beer on their corn flakes … morning after morning … more Springfield residents prefer a hot breakfast with their cold beer these days, and I salute them for their effort. (And I guess it is better than warm beer with a cold breakfast, although the latter is a lot easier to prepare with a hangover.)

I also learned a few things about Aruba that are useful for the beer drinking tourist.

The supermarkets do have some limited Belgian beer offerings. I picked up some Hoegaarden Grand Cru at one shop and a friend found some La Trappe (Dutch trappists from just over the Belgian border) at another.

And to prove that I can find a Belgian bar anywhere …

There’s also a small Belgian bar/restaurant called Taste of Belgium that has 8 or 9 Belgian beers, great frites, and some of the better food that I had on the trip. It’s in a shopping mall across from the Holiday Inn … otherwise known as the mall with the movie theaters. Not the biggest selection of Belgian beers, but when your palate has tired of Heineken and Balashi, a Westmalle Double, Kwak and Duvel all taste pretty good. The restaurant tables are out in the mall, which provides a bit of entertainment for tourist watching … and there’s also a small bar area that you can go into if you’re just interested in a beer.

Last, but not least, if you’re in Aruba, you might as well ride the Kukoo Kunuku party bus one night. Where else will they take you to a bar where they still play “Where the f#*$ is Alice”?