I’m happy to be able to share such an entertaining & well-written story. This piece is the work of Prerna Shah, you can find more of her work on her blog here.
Funny moments are like summer rain. You don’t expect them, but they burst upon you all of a sudden, drenching you with laughter and some amazing memories!
In 2018, whilst I was living in Reading, UK, I went on a trip to Stockholm, Sweden along with a friend. The entire trip, right from the moment it started to its very end was filled with lots of small but unexpected adventures that left us in splits. Even today, whenever we recollect those instances, we break into a huge smile.
One of those moments had to do with two little glasses that my friend ordered for lunch. The hotel we were staying at (Hotel Rival) laid out a lovely spread for breakfast. Our routine for those five days was to have breakfast at the hotel, lunch at the place were heading out to (a café in the museum or palace) and dinner was usually a treat, a proper dining out experience.
But on one of our afternoons there, we decided to go in for an elaborate lunch. I picked a restaurant that offered Swedish meat balls but also in the non-beef versions – elk and reindeer.
While I was busy making a choice between elk and reindeer meatballs, my friend turned around and said that she was ordering ‘energy shots’ for the both of us.
At that point in time, my knowledge of alcoholic drinks was little to none. This was due to the fact that I had grown up in Gujarat – a state in the western coast of India that prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol.
And because she was ordering for the both of us, and since she wasn’t having any alcohol on the trip either, I asked –
“What are these?”
“Oh, these?” she replied, “These are like little shots of appetising fruity sodas or energy shots we get at breakfast. Like those ginger ones and apple ones we had in the morning at our hotel. What shall I order for you? Cherry flavour perhaps?
“Oh, lovely,” I exclaimed.
Our food arrived and so did the ‘energy shots’. They came in tiny shot glasses.
I took one sip. My throat burned and my eyes watered up.
“D,” I said, my voice full of bewilderment, “these don’t seem to be non-alcoholic. My throat is on fire.”
“Of course not, let me take a sip,” she replied.
She took a sip from her glass and there was a long, pregnant pause. The waitress hovered around our table.
“Are you ladies alright?” she asked. She had heard me coughing.
“Well,” I said, pointing at the two energy shots, “What are these?”
“These,” she said, “are Schnapps. These are typically Swedish alcoholic drinks taken with a meal. And mind you, they are very high on the alcoholic content – about 15 to 20 % and sometimes even more.”
She then gave a broad smile and asked, “Are you ladies enjoying your Schnapps? Do you want to try some other flavours? But well, it is only noon and ours have 20 % alcohol…” She trailed off.
After she left, I tried another sip. I felt my head swirl like I was on a roller coaster ride. This time, my eyes started squinting too.
“D,” I said, “I don’t think I can have these. These seem to be much stronger than the Bacardi Breezer I have had in Goa. Or the prosecco I tried for Christmas.”
“Hmm,” she said, “I thought when it said ginger, apple, aniseed, cherry, and such, it was just some kind of a fruity juice with some soda or something in it.”
The waitress came over again. She laughed. “You didn’t know you were ordering alcoholic drinks? And these are way stronger than your prosecco! Do you want something else to have in place of these?”
We said no. My friend poured the contents of her Schnapps shot to her large glass of water. She then gulped it down.
I sat there, laughing and she joined me too. Did she feel a tad dizzy for the rest of the afternoon? I couldn’t really tell!
But it set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. We felt silly but light, and I had great fodder to tease her for the next couple of years with ‘Remember the cherry soda shots you ordered in Sweden?”
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Keep traveling, keep safe.