Thursday, February 12, 2009

It tasted of light beer and cheese curds...

I tasted the Midwest and it tasted of light beer and cheese curds.

I just returned yesterday from a trip to the "Eau C" or what is more commonly known as Eau Claire, Wisconsin. A born and raised West Coaster, I was sure I'd want nothing to do with that flat place further from an ocean than I had ever been before. Well, it wasn't all that bad. Not about to move there, but I did enjoy my trip.

I was supposed to see my friend Miss AB, but she was struck down with an affliction worthy of an emergency room visit the day before I was to arrive. I was hoping to fit in a visit at the end of the time in the Midwest, but heard nothing from her. As an optimist, I assume she is still alive.

I did spend a great deal of time with my friend, Miss HA, who I met my first summer in Juneau. It is funny how many strange connections there are to the Eau C - I was directed where to go by some Sconnie friends here in town, I discovered I had more friends there than I thought, and it turns out that Mr. HL went to school there and used to work at the sketchiest bar on Water Street, the Pickle.

Alcohol was cheap and flowed plentifully in Wisconsin. With the lowest liquor taxes, well drinks (or rail drinks, as they are there called) range from $1.75 to $2. Compare that with the $4.50 price tag on cheap booze in a plastic bottle here, and you have discovered an alcoholic's paradise. Or a lush's paradise, as I prefer to consider myself a lush. It just sounds nicer.

I found that there were bars ranging from Alaskan-esque to Viking-esque, and everything in between. Plus there was no lack of sketchy bars selling bait alongside beer. It was another of those big sprawled out box towns with suburbs galore. It was fairly pretty, despite lacking evergreen trees and being rather flat and far from an ocean. The neighborhoods were quaint and the people were nice. I did see a pawn shop with a valentine's day special: Buy diamond, get a gun free. WOW. I would expect that in, oh, Texas?

I think it is best that I not go into detail on things like the bachelorette party or the wedding, except to say that the bachelorette party was fun and fairly debaucherous while the wedding was very sweet and the reception was fun, and fairly wholesome. Did you know that Wisconsin tradition dictates that MILK be served at the reception dinner? Miss MM's socialite family sniggered at this cultural oddity, but I will call it quaint.

The highlight of that night was almost pouring scalding black coffee on another bridesmaid and myself. Boasting of my beverage serving abilities as a bartender did not make me graceful when it came to the stubborn coffee pot. The lid stuck and then the coffee poured out in a great dark wave onto the white table linens, barely stopping before it could reach our pastel dresses. Leave it to me.

On that note, I think I'll call this post complete.

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