Napa… Here I Come!!! Hmm, Alcohol and Drinking Ages?


Hello everyone, thank you so much for reading my blog and leaving interesting comments! I truly appreciate it and it makes me very happy that you guys seem to enjoy reading my nonsense just as much as I enjoy composing it =]

I don’t have musings on growing up and trying to figure life out for you today… because I’m in Napa Valley! I’m writing this Thursday night so that you’ll have something to read right on schedule Friday, but by the time this is posted I will be in sunny wine country enjoying delicious wine, beautiful scenery, and quality time with some very good friends. 

My wonderful friends David and Renee read in one of my posts that I’d like to visit Napa Valley before I leave for France, and they offered to plan a weekend trip for me. How kind of them!! So Sunday you will have the next installment of my California adventures series.

I’m sorry tonight’s entry is nothing more than a “be back soon” sign, but I promise I will have something fun for you to read Sunday, as well as tons of pix from my weekend. Maybe a photo blog?

Let me know if there are any other places I should go see before I hop on that plane!

And just so I don’t feel like I let you down completely tonight, let’s talk about alcohol just a bit! Preparing for Napa tomorrow got me thinking about drinking ages. In France, it’s 18 but kids can pretty much buy alcohol as soon as they reach puberty.

I’ve heard that this is a good thing since it gives young adults an opportunity to learn to drink alcohol in less self-destructive ways before they leave their parents protective nest. Going to university in the US where the drinking age is 21, I can see why some people would say it’s a good idea to let teens experiment with drinking beer and liquor before they move out on their own. Not all adolescents go nuts, but a lot of kids have a lot of fun and do some things they’re glad their parents aren’t around to see.

I’m not going to go into any statistics since this is a short post, but what do you think? Is the American drinking age a good idea? How does it affect young adults?

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33 thoughts on “Napa… Here I Come!!! Hmm, Alcohol and Drinking Ages?

  1. The WINE country is FRANCE !

    SEE: The BIG Apple !!

    The French grow up drinking wine so there is no big problem with alcohol !!!

    America is still in Prohibition for kids therefore kids go crazy with alcohol 😦 !

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

  2. A New York City Weekend for $100
    From: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/travel/02frugal-newyork.html?src=me&ref=travel
    By SETH KUGEL
    Published: December 28, 2010

    HOW much spending money should you set aside for a weekend in New York City that includes taking in some theater, museums and experimental film, dining out at restaurants for every meal and having a few beers, too?
    New York City Travel Guide

    • Where to Stay: http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/new-york/new-york-city/hotels.html
    • Where to Eat: http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/new-york/new-york-city/restaurants.html
    • What to Do: http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/new-york/new-york-city/attractions.html
    Go to the New York City Travel Guide » http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/new-york/new-york-city/overview.html

    Stay see:
    http://www.couchsurfing.com/
    http://www.hospitalityclub.org
    https://www.tripping.com/
    http://www.globalfreeloaders.com/

    Does $100 sound reasonable?

    Perhaps not, but it should. Manhattan may seem like the most expensive place in America — you could make $10,000 disappear in a weekend if you really wanted — but it can also be cheap. Even with just $100, you can paint the town red without going into the red.

    A few weekends ago, I did just that, imagining a budget and itinerary I might recommend to a cash-poor friend crashing on my couch during a first visit to New York. The budget: $40 for food, $30 for culture, $20 for the subway and $10 for drinks. The result was an exhausting, exhilarating weekend that mixed classic tourist spots with unusual stops. All you’ll need is a free place to stay (Couchsurfing.com works, if you don’t have friends here) and a good deal of energy.

    Here’s how I spent my time (and money).

    FRIDAY NIGHT
    The plan: pizza and theater, followed by a microbrew. One hundred dollars wouldn’t even cover a Broadway spectacle, but on most weekend nights, the city’s theater scene offers plenty of riches for $20 or less. I combed through listings at nytimes.com/theater and Time Out New York magazine, and found that the Public Theater was putting on “Measure for Measure” at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village for $15. It was the first production of its new Mobile Unit, which had performed the show at prisons, senior centers and elsewhere. It was an unusual performance — done in the round with house lights on — but the cast made it work even for philistines like me who never read the play in high school.

    The show’s run has ended, but cheap theater tickets can usually be found by scouring the listings that I did.

    I found my pretheater dinner just a few blocks from Judson, at Joe’s, where I ate two thin and crispy slices for $5.50, and I had a post-show beer (Sixpoint Righteous Rye Ale) nearby at Blind Tiger Ale House for $7.50, including tip.

    SATURDAY
    I chose the Lower East Side as my first destination because it seemed to offer so much New York in one place: diversity (Chinese, Latinos), gentrification (coffee shops and boutiques) and history (old tenements).

    And, of course, doughnuts. I was joined for much of the day by my Chilean friend Valeria Martínez, and we had breakfast at the Doughnut Plant (fattening New Yorkers with pillowy yeast and dense cake doughnuts since 1994). After that we took a walking tour led by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District’s excellent podcast. (The organization offers free tours led by live guides April through November.)

    We quite enjoyed our disembodied female narrator as she talked about the architectural details of surprisingly ornate tenements; told us the story of Sender Jarmulowsky, a Russian banker whose name still adorns his 12-story bank building at Canal and Orchard; and even led us to the chic Roasting Plant coffee shop.

    As we were walking on Orchard Street listening on our ear buds, we noticed a Chinese man unloading green, mesh-covered crates from a graffiti-covered delivery truck. Something inside the crates was moving: hundreds of softball-size, ugly frogs!
    After we recovered from our frog fright, we continued the tour, which ended at Katz’s Delicatessen, about a mile and little more than an hour after its start. Then it was off to South Ferry and the Staten Island Ferry, a freebie with views of the Statue of Liberty. Unlike Statue Cruises, which takes visitors to Liberty Island and costs $12, the city’s ferry doesn’t offer much room to stand outside, and you don’t get to stop at the Statue of Liberty or at Ellis Island. But there’s also no line and you can go 24 hours. (The round trip takes just about an hour.) The crowd was divided between bored commuters and excited visitors who pointed out the statue to their children on the way out and snapped endless photos of the Manhattan skyline on the way back.

    After debarking, we took the subway up to Times Square and headed over to Margon, a hidden lunch counter on 46th Street that serves Cuban specialties. We split a Cuban sandwich ($6) and pork chops with a huge mound of rice and beans ($9) (and the check) and added two Coronas for $2.50 each, which exhausted my alcohol budget. Lunch ended past 4, and Valeria took off for other (less frugal) engagements.

    I hopped the subway to the Guggenheim, where late every Saturday afternoon, crowds line up for the pay-what-you-wish admission period, from 5:45 to 7:45. Folks usually pay a dollar ($17 less than general admission), according to the woman who took my $5. Though several New York museums have a permanent pay-what-you-wish policy (including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History), you feel sort of weaselly doing it. But because the Guggenheim publicizes its temporary pay-what-you-want admission, you can hand over your $1 guilt-free.
    At the museum, throngs of young people made the coiled rounds of the museum to see the exhibition “Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy & Germany, 1918-1936,” which focuses on artists’ partial return to classic forms after World War I. (It closes Jan. 9.)

    After a bite, I decided to blow $9 of my remaining $10 culture budget (and another MetroCard swipe) on whatever was at the Anthology Film Archives. I got there for Lou Castel’s “Pyramidial,” which I would have renamed “Guy Leaves His Low-Quality 1990s Video Camera on by Accident.” I may have missed the experimental point, but I wasn’t alone. Or rather, I was. By the time I walked out halfway through, I was the last of the original eight audience members. It was a few dollars cheaper than a new release, but the bargain came at a cost.

    SUNDAY

    This seemed like an ideal day to explore contemporary Manhattan coffeehouse culture and to fulfill a New York weekend dietary requirement, the bagel with cream cheese. The dose of coffeehouse culture would come from Grounded, in the Village. I can vouch for its bagels (from Murray’s) and cafe bona fides (comfy sofa, plants, artistic brown-and-white patterns topping their lattes). It’s on a side street, which filters out passers-by and leaves a crowd of mostly regulars.

    I had great intentions of lounging for an hour and then wandering the Village and Chelsea until lunchtime, but rain and sheer inertia left me hunkered down at Grounded for a few delicious hours before I hauled my remaining $5.46 over to the East Village for lunch at Streecha, a basement Ukrainian spot open only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I spent $5 on an excellent cup of borscht, two dumplings and stuffed cabbage. The crowd was mostly gray-haired ladies chattering in Ukrainian but there was a slow, steady stream of outsiders the women seemed to like.
    I was clearly not the first unaccompanied man to be told by the septuagenarian crowd that they could find me a “good Ukrainian girl” to marry.

    “Wonderful” I said. “Which of you is available?”

    I suspect from one woman’s quick response they’d heard that one before: “Oh, no, we’re too young for you.”

    And maybe too rich, I thought. I had 46 cents left in my pocket.

    ——————————————-

    EnJoY _Fun City_ after GAY Paree, The _City-o-Light_ the most interesting city that your rather season Sister has yet visited.

    In a private e-mail will send you more info and an introduction to Sister Jeanne who may host you on “The Hilly Island”, Manhattan for a few nights.

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

  3. I think 18 is a much more appropriate age to start drinking than 21. Like you said, parents are there to regulate their teens’ drinking, and kids are less likely to overdo things when they know they’ll have to show up in front of their parents’ door step later that night (or in front of their parents’ toilet the following morning). Also, some people just don’t have the physical ability to take that much alcohol. It’s probably better that they find their limits when their parents or older siblings are a quick drive away.

    Than being said, I don’t think alcohol is that bad in itself. In Mexico, my grandpa would pass around shots of tequila, call over mariachi bands at public places, would pull my grandma from her seat to dance with him, and started random parties out of nowhere! He would drink a shot a day after work (and no more unless it was a special occasion) and lived into his 90’s. I think being convivial and making new friends out on the town only enhanses one’s life, as long as it’s in moderation.

    Stay thirsty my friends 😀

    • Guillermo! Thanks your input which rings True and FUN!

      Please join my LinkedIn network at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

      Thanks!

      Someday, in Mexico, New York, Bangkok or GAY Paree, will EnJoY passing around shots of tequila You & Lovely Sis Anne-Shophie 🙂 !

      Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
      Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
      The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
      Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
      Email: olinka@olinka.info
      Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
      Skype name: olinkaru
      ICQ: 212336628
      M: +230-717-5790
      LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

    • Great insight =] I really couldn’t have said it better myself! Why do you think they’ve been able to keep this law around for so long though? Opponents have been making all sorts of arguments in favor of lowering the drinking age for decades now

      • No so many moons ago stupid N.Y. State RAISED it’s drinking age from 18 to 21!

        At 18 one can, in the “old Land of the Free & Home of the Braves” be a cop or a soldier, carry lethal heavy weapons and legally kill people but NOT drink–is America crazy?

        Can you image the inanity of a 18 y/o cop arresting an 20 y/o for drinking 🙂 !?!

        Do not worry about it: You are sagely departing this imbecility for the Highest Quality-of-Life Land in all our Beautiful if sadly blighted spacecraft _Earth_, FRANCE, where if one is brought up with Dionysus’ tastiest Ambrosia: FRENCH Wine, virtually withOUT age limit 🙂 !

        Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
        Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
        The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
        Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
        Email: olinka@olinka.info
        Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
        Skype name: olinkaru
        ICQ: 212336628
        M: +230-717-5790
        LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

      • Did they really raise it?! I agree with you that it just doesn’t make sense that young adults in American can become police officers or go into the military and give their lives to their country at 18 but cannot drink alcohol. Did you know Americans can also buy cigarettes and vote at 18? It’s as if alcohol is the only thing limited by law after American adolescents legally become adults.

      • Sophie, I think the law has probably stayed on the books because MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has more lobbying power in Washington than groups opposed to the current limit. MADD was largely responsible for the law that forced all states to switch to the 21 and over limit in the 1980’s. Whether this policy has eased the drunk driving problem is debatable.

      • It’s definitely debatable! I’m surprised these mothers wouldn’t rather keep an eye on their kids’ drinking and teach them how to drink properly themselves. Are they afraid of other parents not taking the time and effort to do this for their own children or is it more of a case of the ostrich sticking its own head deep into the sand instead of taking the more courageous path of facing the facts and doing what is necessary to find a more effective approach =/ the worst part is that this doesn’t really help with their expressed goals anywhere near as much as other approaches….

      • Definitely, I agree. I think there’s two things to consider about MADD though.

        First, as an organization, their biggest “achievement” was getting that law passed. So I would imagine its leaders would face a great deal of inertia if after all these years, they proposed any major deviation from the stance that put them in the limelight.

        And secondly, many of its leaders have been parents of drunk driving victims who at the time of their deaths were sober drivers themselves, children riding as passengers, or pedestrians who just happened to come across a drunk driver. So perhaps they are disconnected from the college drinking issue, and mistakingly think that prohibiting alcohol is the answer… as opposed to simply preventing drunk teens from jumping behind the wheel of a car.

  4. Olga, your travel blog posts are outrageous!! Thanks for sharing!! I’m dying to visit Zoo York and see my friends. In fact, one very good buddy of mine recently moves to the East Coast for MBA. A couple friends and I have been talking about flying one way to his graduation and DRIVE back to sunny Cali, a road trip across US of A. That would be my type of adventure. [=

    Soph, on the drinking age, I honestly don’t see there is a need for one. I drank a bottle of dessert wine when I was 3 in a Chinese village. It didn’t turn my world upside down or made me go berserk on any kitties (perhaps, it secretly did). Granted, the alcohol level of that bottle of wine was almost non-existent. And some may argue that everyone behaves differently and society needs regulations for the irresponsible population. I agree with harsh punishment for cases such as DUI or sexual assault. But the existence of drinking age is an epic failure that doesn’t prohibit teenagers from drinking. Drinking not only has become a socially acceptable behavior since around 10,000 BC but also has facilitated human civilization in many aspects that many believe its benefits trump its unpleasant effects. Some studies show that alcohol may have preceded bread as a staple.

    • I agree with you about the drinking age… I’ve heard many times that it’s a remnant of our Protestant past and Prohibition, but sometimes I wonder if it might not have anything to do with the rather high levels of alcoholism in this country. One of my mother’s neighbors lost her husband and house and is going to end up on the street soon because of her alcoholism =/
      By the way, I love that last fact about alcohol preceding bread as a staple–you don’t happen to remember where you read that do you?

  5. XYZ: Your trip to the BIG apple and driving back is GRAND!

    Would you accept a 28 y/o Hotel Professional Extraordinaire to join you 🙂 !

    Your alcoholic comments are delicious — let’s toast to them 🙂 !

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

    • Sure thing! My friend is just starting his MBA in East Coast. But I’m very likely to go back to Paris next summer after my MBA graduation. Watched Midnight in Paris? We could go to the spot where people from the 1920s picked up Owen Wilson’s character! A friend from California visited me while I was in Paris. And he accidentally helped me find that place. [=

  6. Don’t know about calif but my Dino informs under N.Y. law a New Yorker only becomes 1/2 adult at 18 and the other 1/2 at 21.

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

    • My step-dad took me to New York and Boston a few years ago and showed me around since he’s from the East Coast, so I’m not sure I want to go again so soon. That and, I think that once I get on that plane I’ll just be way too excited to return to France and won’t be able to wait to see my grandparents again!

  7. GREAT, then you have already experienced The BIG Apple and are ready to LIVE The BEST 🙂 !

    “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.”
    _A Moveable Feast_, Ernest Hemingway

    EnJoy — your old Sis’ Heart is with You!

    BTW: When you arrive in GAY Paree I’ll be on a Sales Trip to Moscow, St. Petersburg & Kiev–sadly without budget and time to stop in The _City-o-Light_ to EnJoy sisterhood & a glass for FRENCH wine with You 😦 !

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

  8. XYZ: Have not yest seen “Midnight in Paris”. Do you know the URL from which it may be downloaded?

    Would love meeting You & Anne-Sophie in The _City-o-Light_ perhaps next summer!

    Warmly,

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790 evenings
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

    • Olga, there is no good copy out there at the moment because the movie has not released Blu-ray or DVD yet. So all there are available are pretty bad recordings from those who sneak camcorders inside theaters. I will send you an email when this changes.

      And I actually managed to meet some friends in Paris. Party and philosophy/fashion/politics discussions will ensue. And food and wine and music. C’est fantastique.

  9. XYZ: Thanks-you are very kind!

    My e-mail is: olinka@olinka.info

    Are you in Paris now? If so for how long? What do you there?

    Warmly,

    Olga

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790 evenings
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

    • Olga, no problem! Physically, I’m back in California; mentally, I’m still in Paris. Well, actually my mind has shifted to southern France for a while. [=

      I lived in Paris for a month and visited beautiful Versailles and Brussels, studying International Public Relations, hunting for French food, jogging in the metro, surviving cultural shocks, living the night life, random-adventuring with people from all over the world, Fete de la Musique, GLBT Parade, watching Minuit a Paris a Paris, and much much more!

      I absolutely adore the whole experience! Too bad, I cannot keep in touch with everyone who gave me their names as there are tens of thousands of those names on Facebook… lol

      It was my dream to visit Paris since I was a kid.

  10. Ah ha, I like this kind of blunt sayings. It was a one-month study abroad program. I had the opportunities to meet top management of Euro RSCG, APCO Worldwide, i&e Consultants, Relaxnews, etc and professors from Celsa and American University of Paris. Let’s just say that I asked a lot of questions until they gave me their business cards. Young people at those organizations are very friendly too. [= It would have been more awesome if I could communicate with them in French. Well, I studied French in high school for 2 years and even won a first place medal. It’s a shame I didn’t keep going. But I’m learning it again. Any tips? [=

  11. Pity you use the past tense 😦 !

    Why did you not stay with your lovely French Mistress ?

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790 evenings
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

  12. XYZ: SURE! Wondrous article–Merci !

    Fortunately we can EnJoY both: Who would think of pizza without beer?

    How about a pizza & beer in Venice next week?

    Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
    Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece
    The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa
    Hotel Professional Extraordinaire
    Email: olinka@olinka.info
    Homepage: http://www.olinka.info/
    Skype name: olinkaru
    ICQ: 212336628
    M: +230-717-5790 evenings
    LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga

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