Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy Hour Gone Sour

Why did a local man scold us for drinking beer on the beach?
(a) It's illegal to drink beer in public in Croatia.
(b) He didn't approve of the brand of beer we were drinking.
(c) He was just a cranky old man.


Impromptu happy hour for only 67 cents.
Unfortunately, since the man only spoke Hvartski, we couldn't really understand what he was trying to tell us. He was clearly pointing at our empty beer cans (which were sitting on the ground, beside our daypack) and he kept saying "Croatia."

Here's our best guess at what happened.

(a) It's illegal to drink beer in public in Croatia.
According to the receptionist at our youth hostel, you're "allowed" to drink beer in public here. (Whether it's actually legal or nobody cares remains to be seen.) We weren't the first people to do this, as evidenced by the extensive collection of bottle caps at our recent picnic spot:

100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottle caps on the ground.
This leads me to believe that he probably wasn't scolding us for drinking in public. And littering? Not a chance! We don't roll like that!

(b) He didn't approve of the brand of beer we were drinking.
At first, we thought that he might be upset because we were drinking non-Croatian beer. More specifically, we feared that we were drinking Serbian beer, which could be considered culturally insensitive. (Turns out, Konig beer is from Hungary, not Serbia. *Phew!*) Still, was he upset that we weren't spending our tourist dollars on the local brew? Perhaps.

(c) He was just a cranky old man.
Maybe the man was having a bad day. Or perhaps that's just his personality.

It can be hard (and frustrating) to get told off in another language when you have no idea what you did to offend someone. Maybe we were doing something wrong, maybe we weren't. I guess we'll never know.