The cool air of early May gently blew through the city of Liverpool as the sun was preparing to set for the day. Groggy from a long day of travel, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to explore this new city at all. I had awoken that morning saying farewell to Dublin to start my journey to England. London was my final destination, but after a ferry into Wales for a quick afternoon trip, followed by another ferry ride into Liverpool, I was exhausted.
My hostel greeted me with open arms as I tucked my suitcase into one of the lockers and claimed my bunk. A thinning mattress and stiff, white sheets never felt so welcoming as I stretched out to relax. The clock on my phone read a little past 5:00 p.m., but the sounds wafting into my room from a window that had been intentionally nailed open told me this night would be anything but relaxing. People had already started drinking for the night.
Since Liverpool was just a place to spend the night on my way to London, I had not done any prior research on the city or the culture. I peered out the window and saw that I was surrounded by bars that were already popping out drunk people. Deciding to ditch my original plan for an early night, I went over to my suitcase to start getting ready.
The reflection of streetlights glistening off puddles on the smooth, brick roads illuminated the scene: hundreds of drunk people were swarming the streets popping in and out of bars. It was 8:00 p.m., and there were already several people stumbling out of bars drunk off their ass. I thought for sure that it must be a holiday, but when I asked a couple of different locals why so many people were out drinking tonight they all gave me the same answer: “it’s Saturday”…good enough for me!
By 11:00 p.m. people were struggling to prop their friends up in an attempt to get them to the next bar. As the night went on there was an increasing number of stag and hen parties (bachelor and bachelorette parties) where everyone in the entourage was dressed in themed costumes. Nothing is funnier when you’re drunk than watching a group of six men dressed as giant babies babbling incoherently while holding half empty beer bottles. Everyone is so open to converse with strangers, and I saw the same people at so many different bars that it felt like one giant party.
By 12:00 a.m. people were vomiting on the street while cops turned their heads in the other direction. Apparently there is no such thing as too drunk, and, unlike in America where the police would be having a field day, I didn't witness a single person getting arrested for public intoxication.
My party ended around 1:30 a.m. when I staggered back into my hostel bunk, fully understanding that just one more drink would be enough to push me over the delicate line between being functional in the morning to spending the morning vomiting and picking at dry toast for an hour. 2:00 a.m. came and went, but the noise refused to retreat. That nail keeping my window open was suddenly my worst enemy. By the time I finally dosed off into a drunken slumber a little after 3:00 a.m. the party outside was just beginning to quiet down. Upon later research, I learned there was an after-hours bar close by that was the hero of the night, serving alcohol to those who couldn’t be deterred after a mere six hours of drunkenness.
My makeup-smeared eyes shot open at the sound of my blaring alarm the next morning. My head was pounding, bobby pins falling out of my hair, as I mustered up the strength to get ready…needless to say it was a leggings and t-shirt kind of day. After a shower and light breakfast, I dragged my ass onto the bus, thanking God that I had a few hours to recuperate before arriving in London. In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to try and keep up with the locals, who are clearly accustomed to drinking a lot more than I was…but hey, I’m only young once.