I’m picking up the story right now for yesterday evening. KP has posted our daytime activity post here, so be sure to check that out if you aren’t up to date. We decided that something as awesome and epic as The Beer Olympics (that’s right, the capital letters are absolutely necessary) deserves its very own post.
My story begins on the stairs next to the bar that was hosting The Beer Olympics. After finding our way there, we realized we were much too early for registration, so KP and I decided to sit on the sidewalk made of stairs on the next street over. Anyone who knows KP’s travelling style knows that sitting on any kind of stairs is one of her favourite pastimes – I couldn’t deny her the opportunity! We climbed up the stairs high enough to get a view and settled in to wait anxiously with the hope that our unknown roommates would arrive. You can read more about our invitation to them here, if you have not been keeping up.
We had almost an hour to kill sitting on the stairs, and during that time we made friends with a skateboarder named Nate. He was taking a nap on the stairs on the other side of the street when we sat down. After awhile, he used the icebreaker of asking for a cigarette (which neither of us could provide) and ended up coming over to chat with us. He told us a bit about himself – he is in his early 20’s and lives in San Francisco. He was pretty intoxicated, and he used a lot of typical surfer lingo, which makes sense since he apparently grew up on the beach. He was fascinated by the fact that we were from Canada and shared a bunch of tips for great local spots to hit up while in San Francisco. We shared the story of our roommate invitation with Nate and he thought it was pretty much the greatest thing he had ever heard, so I guess we weren’t too over the top, at least to his tastes. We bid Nate goodbye when it was time to go inside and register for The Beer Olympics, but chatting with him was an enjoyable way to pass some time.
While in line in front of the bar, KP and I met a couple fellows. One of them, Greg, ended up on our team for The Beer Olympics. I never did catch the name of the other guy, but he was from Toronto, so I guess that’s as good a game to give him as anything. After registration, we moved in to the competition room and hung out with these boys for awhile.
Greg was from Houston, and after talking to him for a fair amount of time and doing some prodding for information, he told KP and I that he works for NASA! We refused to believe him and asked for proof. He pulled out a few impressive looking photos and I asked how we could possibly know that these weren’t just photos from some awesome science center that makes people look cool. After talking to him much more over the course of the night, I think that I actually do believe him – I mean, a line like that is just too unbelievable to actually lie about, and he seemed so sincere with all of his answers. So basically, we may or may not have made a friend who works for NASA – Cool, right?
Conversation about NASA lead to discussion about one of Canada’s national heroes, Commander Hadfield and his Twitter feed. KP and Greg got into a huge discussion about him, with Greg refusing to believe how much Canadians love him, so he turned to Toronto, who was lost in another conversation, and just said two words – “Commander Hadfield?” – to which Toronto immediately replied “That guy is like a rock star in Canada!”. So there, point proven. This line of conversation eventually lead to probably my favourite moment of the night, when Toronto got all of our attention and asked, so seriously:
“I only have one question – how does he tweet from space?”
It was as though a lightbulb came on in all of our heads right at that moment as we all tried to figure out how that was even possible. Greg cleared it up for us by explaining a bit about the availability of internet on space ships, which is apparently quite limited but it is there nonetheless.
Not long after this conversation, we all started gathering at our team meeting points. As I mentioned previously, Greg ended up on our team for the event, and KP and I met two adorable little blonde British girls that were placed on our team as well. Becca and Natalie were on their first stop of 3 months of travelling North America and Australia – I am beyond jealous. Here is a team photo!
Before starting the event, KP and I made the acquaintance of a couple more young men – Joe and Tanner. They both lived in San Francisco and for some reason thought KP and I being from Canada was just the most entertaining thing they had ever heard. Their immediate association with someone being from Canada and participating in the Olympics (as in, the Beer Olympics) was apparently curling, so we got into a long and confusing discussion trying to explain the rules of the game and the roles of the different team members. Before we knew it, it was time to get started with the first round of competition, so Joe and Tanner headed off to join their team, but promised to come back to talk to us later.
And now we’re up to the moment you’ve all been waiting for: DUH DUH DUH…. THE BEER OLYMPICS!! I have to say, whether you are from San Francisco, or just visiting, I highly recommend this event that happens every Friday night. It was just such a blast.
We played four different games – Flip Cup, Beer Bingo, Beer Paper Scissors, and Beer Pong. The rules of each game were relatively simple, but I’ve outlined them below for you.
Each player starts with a cup, filled about an inch full of beer. Each team is lined up on opposite sides of the table, facing each other. The teams decide which end to start at, and the lead member for each team chugs their beer, then sets the cup on the table and proceeds to flip it from right side up to upside down with a flick. Once they do that, the next person in line can drink their beer and follow the same process. The first team to go through their whole line up wins. We went to best out of 5 games.
Each team fills 16 cups with about an inch of beer each and arranges them in a 4×4 square. Teams take turns attempting to shoot a ping pong ball into a cup, rotating their shooter each time. If you hit a cup, your opponent needs to drink that cup and flip it upside down. The first team to get 4 cups in a row flipped over – vertical, horizontal, or diagonal – wins. This game was best of 1.
Beer Paper Scissors
This was probably the dumbest game we played. The table was set up like in beer bingo and one member of each team played Rock Paper Scissors against each other. The winner stayed to face the next opponent, and the loser had to drink a beer and rotate with a teammate. The team that drank all their beer first lost. This was also best of 1 game.
This was a very dumbed-down version of 6 cup beer pong. 6 cups were filled partway with beer and set up in a triangle on each side of the table. Teams took turns attempting to shoot a ping pong ball into one of the cups, rotating their shooter on each turn. There was no defence, no bouncing, no rollbacks, and a reform every time the cup was hit (for those of you who are beer pong aficionados). The first team to hit all of their opponent’s cups was the winner. This game was also best of 1.
At the end of the 4 rounds, the teams that were undefeated entered into playoffs for the championship. This, sadly, was not us. We held our own with a respectable 2-2 record, winning at Beer Pong and Beer Bingo, and suffering tough losses at Flip Cup and Beer Paper Scissors. For a team with 4 times more females than any of the others, two of which had never played Beer Pong before, I think we did alright. And it was actually a ton of fun, so that is really what mattered.
After the official competition was over, Joe and Tanner came back to chat, and KP, Greg, and I ended up playing some additional games of beer pong – Canadian Rules – with Joe. At some point during this game, KP got into a discussion that resulted in her besting all the Americans with her knowledge of state capitals. That’s my nerdy roommate! Everyone at the table was definitely impressed.
The bar closed down at around 12:30 AM – so early! Joe and Tanner wanted to head to this salsa and cigar bar nearby, so the rest of us just went with the flow, though none of us knew how to salsa and smoking cigars is not something KP and I enjoy doing. During the walk, KP got a proposition from a bunch of strippers to join their ranks and become one of them – not sure how I totally missed seeing this happen. Luckily, she turned down their offer to teach her all they knew.
We had a great time having a few drinks at this random place at which Joe just seemed to know everyone. The most eventful thing to happen there was that KP and I found out that hi-balls don’t exist here. Apparently in the USA, a hi-ball is a certain type of glass. Joe had the bartender pull one out, and it certainly is not the glass any of our hi-balls would be served in. Who knew!
Now, as many of you may have noticed, I have not made any mention of the roommates we were hoping to welcome and bond with. They sadly did not show up. HOW COULD THEY NOT, I ASK YOU? KP and I were both a little heartbroken over this, but I’m glad we had a good night regardless. At the salsa bar, we told all our new friends the story about our botched roommate welcome, and they were pretty impressed with our whole blog post. I have to say, despite the fact that it didn’t work this time, I will do it again the next time I’m hosteling somewhere.
Around 1:30 AM, this bar closed down too, so we started our walk home. People went their separate ways along the way, but Tanner walked us right to the door of our hostel – I think he was a little concerned about two clueless Canadian girls alone in the city at night! We would have been fine as the route was quiet, but it was definitely nice to have the company.
Along the way, KP and I got into an argument with Tanner about a ferry that he was claiming to have ridden in Canada while he lived in Montana. We were sure there was no reason he would have ridden a ferry around Nelson, BC, but it turns out we were totally wrong. There is such a thing. We sure looked like some oblivious Canadians!
When we finally got inside and went to our room, the roommates we had wanted to meet so badly were in bed already. So not impressed. Regardless, we had a good night without them and The Beer Olympics were definitely a great choice. We made a couple friends and had a lot of fun (and spent very very little money). The evening was an all around win. We had a great time with the group we ended up hanging out with, but didn’t even exchange contact information with the majority of them. I find it so interesting that we all really enjoyed each other’s company but that we will likely never cross paths again. That’s travelling, I suppose!