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William C. Altreuter
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Friday, December 09, 2005

It happened to me again-- and I'm sure it won't be the last time. One thing I've learned over the course of my peculiar career in our glamour profession is to drink local. Parachuting into a place for a day or two the way I do, I've figured out that "I'll have the same", is a good strategy-- the natives know what works, and what's good, and drinking local gets you into the head of the place the way that maybe only knowing the language can do better. It's not an absolute rule for me-- if I were in a Muslim country, or, I don't know, Utah, g-d forbid, you wouldn't see me at the iced tea stand, but as good guidelines go, Drink Local has served me well. The problem is that when I find myself in a place where I'm enjoying myself (something I try to do-- another guideline of mine) I end up thinking that a bottle of whatever it was that we were drinking would be a good thing to have on hand at home. Also, it is a mistake always to pass on duty free liquor, and the cheapest is also usually the local stuff, and there you have it. In Puerto Rico there's nothing like a nice rum drink. I'm not ashamed to say that I enjoyed several while I was there last week. I got together with some old friends, and rum drinks are full of vitamin C, and there is this bird flu thing, and we were by the pool, and what the hell, how often do I get to Puerto Rico?

Next thing you know, I'm in the airport with a few minutes to kill. So now, in addition to the half bottle of dark rum that I bought the last time I was in Puerto Rico, I have a great big bottle of Bacardi and a great big bottle of coconut rum. I now have enough rum to start a pirate ship. I live in Buffalo-- rum drinks aren't really what we do here. If there are ten days of summer when a rum drink would be just the thing, that'd be a lot. The half bottle in the liquor cabinet is three years old-- nobody I know ever comes over and says, "How about a Cuba Libre?"

Well, it'll be Pina Coladas this Christmas, if I have to buy a CD of steel drum carols to pitch them. Feliz Navidad.

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