I'm back in Cairo, unscathed, ready to reflect on summertime in my old haunts where all my friends and family had plenty of drinks on hand to welcome me home.
I experienced again and again people responding to my drinking with a "oh, ok." and then thinking what they can offer me instead to drink. Like myself as a drinker, they often didn't have much or anything on hand. I used to drink: soda water, all sorts of booze and coffee. Finito. I bought myself an adorable portable cooler (lunch size) and a reusable ice pack to bring my own supplies of soda water and any other drinks I might want. This made the host feel less guilty about not having something for me, and me less sadness about drinking the dreaded tap water all night. I have come to hate plain old tap water. Add some bubbles or a splash of lime, then I guzzle it. My portable party bag makes me really happy. My soda water won't be mistaken as a mixer ever again!
So was not drinking hard? No, actually it wasn't. I enjoyed my company, I remember our conversations, I felt present and connected. I made sound decisions about food, sleep and plans.
Was being around heavy drinkers annoying? At times. There were so many conversations, plans and concerns about what to drink and how/when/where to get more to drink. Beer in hand at all times. Many compliments and discussions about how great said beer tasted and comparisons to other beers. People really do act like addicts about drinking Quite boring. I felt liberated. Freed from it all.