When you’re abroad you might feel a little like a fish out of water. This is only natural seeing as you won’t know your way around, you won’t know the local customs and you won’t be able to speak the language. This can lead to some rather amusing encounters with bar staff, shop assistants and everyone else as you mime and enact the item you want to buy or going to the toilet.
However while this can be pretty funny, it can also be somewhat frustrating if there is something you want to order to eat or if you are trying to get a beer and no one will notice you. Here we will look at a guide to buying the beers you want.
Learn the Local Customs
One thing that is very important is to learn the local customs and traditions. It’s important for instance that you tip if that’s the done thing, and that you don’t tip if that’s not required. Tipping in a country where they don’t normally accept tips can be embarrassing and even insulting, but likewise neglecting to tip where it is standard is equally as rude. If you tip well then you might find that you end up getting free drinks and quicker service from the bar staff who will quickly befriend you.
Attempt the Language
Likewise in the spirit of ‘when in Rome’ (possibly literally), you should also learn some basic language to try to use to order your drinks. Learning how to say ‘I would like’ in the local language is a very useful skill that can help you out in many more situations than just buying beer – it can help you to order items in shops too and even to get directions.
Know What You Want
You will probably want to order beers by name, and identifying the correct beer for you is thus a matter of looking at the beers being enjoyed in the venue, of looking at which beers are on tap, and of looking at the menu. Knowing what you want to drink is also highly useful for researching the drink you want. This way you can look at the beers in the menu and see how expensive they are. This will help you to a) make sure that you get charged correctly (some savvy bartenders will try to pull a fast one over the drunk tourists who aren’t familiar with their money), and it will b) ensure that you don’t accidentally order the most expensive beer in the place.
If you know the name of a specific beer then this can help you greatly to get an enjoyable drink, however it’s also a good idea to learn simply how to say ‘beer’ in the local language as this can get you by when you don’t know anything that’s local. At the same time knowing the word for beer can also help you to talk about beer and to ask for advice on which to drink etc. Asking ‘which beer’ in the local language can get you pointed in the right direction.
If in Doubt…
If all else fails however and you do have to resort to mimicking drinking, then your best bet is to simply point at the things you want. Point to a beer that’s on tap, or point to an empty glass. One thing that’s definitely worth looking into to this end though is simply how to say ‘please’ as that way you will at least be polite.
And if that doesn’t work? Well I hope you’re good at charades…