The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

Something Mieke Said

A while ago my friend Mieke commented this ‘Jana, doe jij daar nog iets anders dan boozen? :p’ (Jana, do you do anything other than drink?) on one of my photos. This made me think… Made me think a lot! She actually said this on 23 January 2013, and it’s still on my mind.

The photo that caused it all: my brother Anton and our friend Shannon from the US celebrating happy hour by drinking two (2) cocktails


Initially, I was insulted. “No, Mieke, we do not just drink!” I wanted to say. We do a lot of sightseeing. We went to a few museums here and there. We hike. We see movies. We update our blog. We take pictures. We sometimes go to bed early, and get up earlier. We have late nights without alcohol. We have early nights with. We party; we are serious. We interact with the locals, and we hang out with other tourists. We go on tours and listen to what our guide has to say. We put the Lonely Planet in our backpack and make our own way across the city.

We arrived in Lucknow, India, by bus early in the morning and wandered around the town’s sights with just the Lonely Planet in our hand until we caught a train to Agra (home of the Taj Mahal)







But I didn’t reply immediately, because I have learned that I need to think things through before I do so.

Now, as for the question on all of your minds: What do I think?

Well, that’s the thing: I am not entirely sure what to say.

During of our more recent drinking sessions in Sydney

There are times that I loath the thought of a drink. There are as many where I happily drink until I can remember no more. Either way, I must admit I do think that boozing is a way to connect to people. Obviously, you let your guard down, because that’s just what alcohol does. On top of that, you usually are in a relaxed environment where there is no obligations: you have a beer, you have a chat. People like to drink – for better or for worse. It is an excepted drug and almost all of us gladly let themselves be carried away by the oblivion it brings.

“Sorry ’bout last night; I had too much to drink” is something everyone has said or heard.

This guy wouldn’t even talk to us the morning after…

It makes meeting people easier. And truth be told, sooner or later hanging out with your little brother is going to drive you crazy. (As – surprisingly – will being around your older sister constantly…) So you sit down on one of the many curbside terraces in Ho Chi Minh City, park your scooter at any crossroad or beach in Goa, sit down at a rooftop terrace in Kathmandu or walk to the pub in Harrietville – have a pint, a glass of wine, a cocktail – and soon enough you’ll be having an interesting conversation with the person sitting next to you, be that a local or another tourist.

One of the few times we drank in Nepal at Sebastian’s 19th birthday!

At the silent disco in Goa

Our drinking buddies in Mumbai/Bombay, India


There are times that we drink a lot. There are as many that we drink less or nothing.

For example, I have only had two glasses of wine on two different occasions in the last week. Before that, when we were in Sydney, we drank substantial amounts of alcoholic beverages. As we did when we were in Goa and Vietnam. By contrast, we hardly ever drank when we were in Nepal.

We did celebrate arriving at Annapurna Basecamp in Nepal

Yet most pictures I put on Facebook are of us boozing, I guess. I just checked my Facebook, and it is true. Think about this though: Is it true – yes or no – that we only put pictures on Facebook of when we are having a fantastic time, of when we are with other people enjoying something or other? And we secretly want to make the people who aren’t there jealous?

Isn’t Facebook simply a way to let others know how freaking awesome our lifes are?

These are all on Facebook:

Driving to Sydney

Happy Water in Vietnam

Having a nightcap in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Drinking with the guys that sold us our bikes


Night before ANZAC Day in Sydney

This is for all my drinking buddies – wherever you are!


6 thoughts on “Something Mieke Said

  1. mooi verhaal….goede overdenkingen…..maar schat je bent jong dus…..geniet elk moment wat je maar kunt….zorgen en mindere tijden zijn er toch wel….ha ha…..dus proost!!

  2. Hoi Jana en Anton
    Als een van de weinige niet-drinkers in de familie valt het me ook altijd op dat verhalen van Backpackers en op Facebook bijna altijd over feesten en vooral drinken gaan. Jouw explicatie is wel leuk en goed: het bindt mensen. Maar ja, dat kan volgens mij ook wel met water of een sapje … Of koffie of thee ? Het gaat toch om de mensen, niet om de drank. Maar ja, de rest van de wereld denkt daar toch anders over. Goed dat het je vriendin MIEKE (he, een naamgenoot) ook was opgevallen.
    Toen ik bij Annet in Ballarat was in 2011 vertelde ze dat mijn dochter Sabine echt een feestbeest was, want ze volgt haar via Facebook… Toen antwoordde ik ook, dat er foto’s op van verschillende jaren, verjaardagen, cafebezoek, waar mensen dan 2 of 3 drankjes nemen, die op de foto komen. Overigens kan Sabine er heus wel meer op, dat weet ik wel. Maar Annet had niet gezien, dat er oook minder ‘vrolijke’ foto’s op stonden: toen Sabine een paar dagen in het ziekenhuis lag, met gebroken kaak en kiezen ! Dat soort foto’s worden dan niet opgemerkt !
    Alleen de vrolijke foto’s blijven ‘hangen’…
    Nou, dat was een reactie van je tante ‘van de blauwe knoop’, zal ik maar zeggen; ken je die uitdrukking ? Als die vereniging nog bestond werd ik lid !

    Groeten aan iedereen in Ballarat, Harrietville, Elwood, etc etc
    maar vooral aan Tom, Wil, Isaac en Ari !
    (tante) Mieke-Nelie (9 mei Hemelvaart, vrije dag hier)

  3. zo’n vloeibaar verslag op de vroege morgen is een zegening van alle zorgen
    maak de afstand van de navel niet te groot want anders kun je minder bagage meenemen
    doe alle goeds en geniet, wordt wijzer en wereldlijker en maak andere(n) daarmede ook happy

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