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I had no idea that women aren’t meant to go to wine shops in Kerala. Kerala has a huge amount of alcoholics and every few years the self elected communist state makes new laws to try to ban alcohol completely. Some some reason, there is a massive drinking problem there but they have one of the highest literacy rates in the nation!
In India, women get cut in line a lot. I am kind of used to it although depending on my mood, I might tell the guy to move, because umm, hello, I was in line! Anyways, back to women buying wine in Kerala…
I was cooking dinner for Ben and his coworkers in Kochi and needed wine for this yummy chicken soup I make (courtesy of Jamie Oliver, how cute is he?) so I went down to Marine Drive and hailed a rickshaw. The driver was looking at me like I was mad when I said take me to the “wine shop”. In Kerala there are specific wine shops with HUGE lines full of people (men) buying their booze.
I showed up and was pleasantly surprised when the mass of men (at least 40) spread apart to let me cut them all. How cool! That’s the first time in India I have ever been able to cut in line and actually TOLD to cut in line by men. I got my wine while the owners giggled about it, and I left. My autowallah stood by watching me; I feel like he was making sure I was safe and I appreciated that.
Little did I know until I got back and our Keralan friends told me about women going to the wine shop….
The queue is long because there are few shops and many drinkers. Apparently, all men. Women can’t go and buy, but they can privately drink. There is no written law against woman beer shopping, but it’s not proper. A woman has to care for her reputation. This give a big advantage to brave female travelers in search of alcohol, since there are no women, there is no reserved Lady queue and you can cut the line and go directly to the desk and buy, saving time. Everybody will stare and think you should not be there, but it is not dangerous.
The wine shops are usually very ugly. Sometime there are bars between customers and sellers, as in a prison.
Whoops… ha ha well you live and you learn! But let’s be honest, even in America I’ve never been a “proper lady” especially when it comes to booze, because what fun is that?
This is India!
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