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Let’s celebrate Bacchus, God of drunkenness


Today, no cycling or camping, we will talk and booze and celebrate ethanol. The name of our website makes a direct homage to the virtues of alcohol and travel and we had never spoken about it. To be quite precise, the idea for this article came to me while reading Drink, a cultural history of alcohol (an admirable book), while traveling in Oman, a country more known for its sand dunes that his craft breweries. And yet, the Arabs gave it its name calling it the “mascara” of wine: Al-Kohl.

[Caption id = “attachment_2773” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] Lion King, whiskey cheaper than water on Don Det island Lion King, cheapest whiskey water on Don Det island [/ caption]

I personally do not boast the effects of drunkenness on a bike. The few beers that we have swallowed before driving off with us all motivation pedaling. However, at the time of the Tour de France (I mean, when they really did the trick, not the tourist circuit today), some were able to benefit from its effects. Many runners had in gourds as an energizer. René Pottier on the 1906 Tour, intoxicated by its considerable lead over his pursuers, stops in a boozer in the fifth step and order a bottle of wine he drinks almost entirely before joining their passage and s’ afford to win the stage. In 1950, Abdel-Kader Zaaf is taken ill and spectators who do not have water on hand (the good old days!) Asparagus wine to make him regain his senses. Zaaf back in the saddle … but off again in the opposite direction until it meets the broom wagon, crowned with a very special smell.

[Caption id = “attachment_2797” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] front bistro Dien Bien Phu front bistro Dien Bien Phu [/ caption]

If these anecdotes prove nothing except that alcohol is a source of laughter, it must be remembered that without wine and beer, humanity would not be at this level of development today. For many centuries, alcoholic beverages were the only healthy liquid to swallow, water being “liquidus non grata” and disease vector. Obviously, this pattern has reversed completely during some periods of prohibition in USA and Russia in particular where, as the Bishop Francis Blanche stated in the famous french movie Tontons : some customers went blind, that made troubles. In the USSR, here’s a cocktail that Venedikt Yerofeyev described in his book Moscow-sur-vodka : 100g Zhiguli beer, shampoo 30g, 70g anti-dandruff solution, 12 g of super glue, liquid 35g brake, 20g insecticide. Everything has to marinate a week with the cigar tobacco. Some recipes during the American prohibition does not blush : the brake fluid and gasoline were classics to dilute alcohol. When you want to ban alcohol, it is like if you ant to stop people to live. Actually prohibitionists are assassins. We could illustrate this with a nice Godwinpoint : Hitler who did not drink, had interned alcoholics in camps, giving them the black triangle. We should precise that he was also a vegetarian…
Thus, the circumstances of his suicide is thinning. He simply could not bear to lose the war against Churchill and uncle Jo of Russian, two notorious alcoholics.

[Caption id = “attachment_2794” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] A boozer Rangoon A boozer Rangoon [/ caption]

If it is difficult to imagine today to reconcile weapons and drinks, armies have long been flooded into wine. During the first world war, the supply of wine was a major concern. The wine was reputed to give strength and courage to the soldiers. Two millennia ago, the Roman legions were also largely provided by amphorae and barrels on the battlefield. The Romans also used sometimes as a tactic to get the barbarians drunk and kill them more easily. Let’s go even further in antiquity : the time of Alexander the Great. He was known for his excessive taste for wine and did not hesitate to take decisions drunk as a pig. Did he loose the war? So! At the opposite side, the Achaemenids were not the last. According to Herodotus, the booze was used to make important decisions. They first talked drunken different options and if they took the same decision the next day sober, it was adopted. They could also do it the other way. OK, they lost the war, but their empire was nothing ridiculous for drunkards. Darius I, their most illustrious king had epitaph: “ I was able to drink a good amount of wine and stand well .” Let’s laugh in the cemeteries!


For many years, ancient peoples worshiped Bacchus (or Dionysus), god of wine, drunkenness and sexual excesses. Priapus is his faithful companion, imagine what could resemble the bacchanalia, these joyous Roman festivals celebrating their favorite God. The actual carnival is also one of the survivals of bacchanalia. What about restoring its original meaning.

The famous Alfred Jarry abhorred water as no one : anti-alcoholics are sick prey to this poison, water, so solvent and corrosive that they chose it among other substances for washing clothes, and a drop poured into a pure liquid like absinthe set it in disorder.
Rimbaud, Verlaine, Baudelaire, all snags. In short, alcohol has played a big role in our society. How many times have I heard bubbled “ A last drink and I stop because I’m getting dizzy “. But drunk yourself for God sake! If I would miss something, it won’t be wine, it would be drunkenness ” (A monkey in winter)

Obviously, with the examples I give, I might as well praise other drugs, talk about poppy remains found in Paleolithic caves and finish on the same illustrious artists. It would not bother me but I prefer the genius of ethanol. Yes, genius. How else to explain that the discovery of alcohol precedes the discovery of the wheel? Australian Aborigines did not have the wheel in the 18th century, their big mistake is that they never created alcohol. And today, if they are drunk from morning to night, is to make up for lost time.

[Caption id = “attachment_2779” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] Laolao whiskey Laolao whiskey [/ caption]

[Caption id = “attachment_2780” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] Surf on the roof of a tuk-tuk Surf on the roof of a tuk -tuk [/ caption]

A genius who has also made us spend wonderful moments during our trip around the world. I remember this evening with Moldova fishermen who did not speak a word of English, in a wooden hut lit by candles. We all ended up drunk and laughing. Imagine the same night without a drop of their infamous cheap wine… sooooo boring! Further afield in Russia, the trains are filled with Slavs wishing to share their vodka. The Trans-Siberian was the unexpected rise of binge drinking where some memorable yet, alcohol performed miracles of understanding between peoples. The South Asia is full of locals ready to put everything upside down to have a drink with a falang (foreigner)

[Caption id = “attachment_2810” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] Mr Theeb rinsed us all evening. We could not go, it was raining ... Mr Theeb rinsed us all evening. We could not go, it was raining … [/ caption]

[Caption id = “attachment_2792” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] Pavel Killed Me Transsiberian, Pavel kill me [/ caption]

Moscow-Irkutsk without vodka? Without me. Laos without their vile vitriol snakes? What infamy! I still have dozens of stories in China, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam where alcohol has allowed us to build relationships with indigenous we would have ignored in more sober circumstances. They, too, for that matter. I do not forget my beautiful uninhibited evenings in San Francisco, San Jose, Mbeya, Kampala and South Hedland. I remember each of them and the pleasure I have withdrawn from. I spent two years in Australia with an awesome band of thirsty fellows. The first memories that always come to my mind are our nights ending by a popular naked Salsa in a campsite full of dealers / junkies / political refugees. No need to give more details. That does not stop me from doing more than 30 000 km by bicycle. Can we have fun without becoming intoxicated? Yes Yes. I love to play chess, but let’s compare what is comparable. I’m talking of escape, alcoholic orgasm, a trip to the stars, to forget for a moment all that annoys me and fly away with colleagues who share the same passion. Albert Quentin takes off for China, Fouquet for Spain and I, who stayed most proud , I still and always sing my bawdy repertoire. Let’s be great in the drunkenness!

[Caption id = “attachment_2790” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] The Moldovan fishermen Moldovan fishermen [/ caption]

And the austere, the advocates of temperance, the eschatologists of alcohol, they are even more unbearable than a good hangover. It’s not even worth talking about them! And at least, you can heal a hangover.

I take one last time to recommend the book by Iain Gately, Drink , filled with crispy historical anecdotes celebrating Bacchus and his disciples. Cheers!

[Caption id = “attachment_2802” align = “AlignCenter” width = “640”] At the stage of Vientiane, Alex supports players from the sidelines At the stage of Vientiane Alex supports players from the sidelines [/ caption]

P'tite Mougeotte, le Monday September 28th, 2015

P’tite contribution personnelle : je parle bien mieux anglais avec un verre dans le nez !
De là à voir un rapport avec mon année de terminale où la plupart des cours d’anglais se passaient au bar…

Rory, le Friday November 20th, 2015

Très intéressant cet article !
Je suis bien d’accord avec la conclusion, j’ai vécu des moments incroyables sous les étoiles Kirghizes avec quelques verres d’Arrak dans le nez…
Je découvre votre voyage, il est très cool.
Je vais voir si je trouve ce bouquin en e-book.

charveriat, le Friday December 18th, 2015

Grace à votre mère et à l’achat chez elle de cadeaux de Noèl pour les petits enfants je decouvre cette aventure incroyable?je suis maintenant coincé par un Avc qui me freine pour voyager;A votre age j’ai fait Alger Abidjan en stop en 3 mois, souvenirs merveilleux et vidé qques bouteilles de whisky avec des copains
Respect pour une pareille aventure sur 4 ans
Salutations de Guy