What I Learned from Drinking Beer in Bolivia

I am on my way back from a week-long vacation in Bolivia visiting my in-laws. I am not Bolivian but my wife is and I am aware of the love affair that Bolivians and many South American countries have with alcohol in general and beer specifically. I have also graduated from Virginia Tech and have done my share of drinking, but that was 13+ years ago and now I simply enjoy a glass or two of good single malt scotch on the weekend.  My current favorite is the Balvenie Caribbean Cask Aged 14 Years


With that said, we had a BBQ setup on Wednesday night to get together with all of my wife’s cousins so they can talk of good old memories which ironically they proceed to erase said memories throughout the night. Let me tell you something, when I saw the amount of beer we bought for the fiesta, I thought it was ridiculous and we would never finish it. I was wrong. I also told my wife that there is no way I can drink more than 3, maximum 4 beers. Keep in mind these are not regular-size beer bottles. These are large – probably 1 liter or 750ml bottles. There is just no room in my stomach for that much beer…

In Bolivia, they seem to pour the beer into a glass but only half way. So I did the same. Drinking half a glass is very easy. It’s practically a shot. So, I shoot. Easy. Then I shoot again, no problem. Another shot… A couple more and oh, the bottle is empty… Wow… It’s only been 10 minutes. 4 more hours to go… Long story short. I drank, probably 6 to 10 bottles. I think. I am not really sure because I stopped counting after a while.

Somehow during my happy stage (the stage between not drunk and drunk, you know the stage where you could drive home but shouldn’t but if you had to, you would get there without hitting too many road signs), it occurred to me that what I thought was impossible or at least not doable was actually very doable – as a matter of fact I was doing it right there and then. By breaking down the more difficult task of finishing a bottle of beer into smaller and easier tasks of just drinking half a glass, I was able to drink more than I imagined I could.

This was achieved because I took small steps. What seemed insurmountable  when broken down into small bite-size steps becomes very achievable and attainable.

So no matter how large your project is, break it down, then break it down further, then work on those small tasks inching closer and closer to inebriation, I mean completion.

So that’s what I learned from drinking beer in Bolivia.  I also learned that I should have stopped at 5 bottles.

Tip: when someone offers you Chinese vitamins – do NOT take them.  They are not Chinese and they are NOT vitamins.