On our way to my friend’s place one Friday evening, my housemates and I stopped off at the nearby supermarket to pick up some beers. No sooner had we walked down the beer aisle than a six pack of Coronas caught my eye.
“I haven’t seen these for ages!” I told my friend with an unexpected wave of nostalgia sweeping over me.
“What are these?” he asked.
“Mexican beers. They taste great with a slice of lime in them. Heeeeey!” I said enthusiastically, suddenly animated by this amazing idea, “Let’s buy some!”
My friend hesitated after seeing the price, but I soon managed to persuade him to go with me on this one. So we picked up a case of six, found a lime and joined the line for the till. After paying, we headed to my friend’s place, where I set about chopping the lime and wedging these slices into our bottles.
After taking his first sip, my friend exclaimed, “I really like it!”
Fast forward to ten minutes later and we were sitting on the sofa in the living room. This was when the next guest quickly made her presence felt, by strutting into the room screaming. “Oi gente” (Hey guys!).
As is often the case with people with an excessive amount of social confidence, she did this very theatrically. Thinking about it, she sounded like Snooki used to back in 2002 on the Jersey Shore, right before she would go on her wild nights out in Karma.
As soon as I saw this woman I gasped at her. It wasn’t that she looked like she was just a light breeze away from toppling off her ridiculously high heels that concerned me, or that she was wearing pleather trousers in the height of summer…no. It wasn’t for those reasons at all that I’d gasped.
I did this because she was clutching a Corona.
“That can’t be my Corona, right?” I told myself as I looked at her. “Wait…her boyfriend is also holding a bottle. Maybe they just picked up some of these from the supermarket, like us?’
But by now I was curious and I wanted to check this out. So, a few minutes later I was back in the kitchen, opening the fridge door. To my horror I saw that there were now just two Coronas in that pack of six.
As I write these words I can feel blood surging into my brain, my teeth grinding together and steam coming out of my ears. I’m totally not over this yet!
Moments later my friend, the host, walked into the kitchen. “What drinks did your friend bring to the party?” I casually asked him with false innocence.
Whatever is in that green bag” he told me, gesturing to the bottom shelf of the fridge. I peered down to take a look inside this bag. When my fingers pushed open the plastic covering what was inside, I saw four cans of Skol.
For those of you who’ve not had the pleasure of drinking Skol before, it isn’t really like beer. And it definitely isn’t like Corona!
“She’s swapped her Skols for my Coronas!” I remarked, thinking my friend would find this as outrageous as I did.
“Well yes, here in Brazil people are welcome to drink whatever is in the fridge when they’re at house parties! Maybe you shouldn’t have bought expensive drinks round!”
Well, I hid the remaining two bottles in the salad draw of the fridge so that Brazilian Snooki wouldn’t be able to find them, but the damage had already been done. As soon as I went back into the room I saw her take a large swig from the bottle.
The bottle that wasn’t hers.
My delicious bottle of Corona that now had the top smothered in ruby red lipstick.
I learnt a valuable lesson this day: Don’t take drinks to Brazilian parties that you don’t mind sharing!
This week I feature on the World Citizen Storyteller podcast it, in which I discuss the cultural differences I’ve experienced both in Brazil and also in my previous home of Japan. You can check it out by clicking here.