Sundays are for fun. Waking up on Sunday morning subconsciously knowing that it’s a day off feels just nice. Most people I know try to relax on Sundays. They go out of town, fishing, sailing, spending the day with the family. Sunday's sun feels different because you know you will feel the sun on your skin, as opposed to looking at it from the office window. This is a very usual Sunday morning for a lot of people. But not all.
The typical Sunday morning for a lot of people starts with a headache, thirst and crushed body. It’s not flu, it’s a hangover.
People of the world, regardless of their age, wait for the weekends. Kids are happy not to have to go to kindergarten or school and get to spend the day with mommy and be taken to McDonald’s or go to the park. They feel that their parents’ world rotates around them. Teenagers most likely go to the movies with the friends and are allowed to stay out later than usual. When it comes to adults – they save money, make plans, buy outfits, make arrangements, look at the entertainment listings to find out where to go and have as much fun as they can after a tiring, busy (often stressful) week. We don’t really care about resting on Saturday nights, we are hungry to get tired by having fun. Seeing all those smiling faces on friends feels fantastic after looking at your co-workers 6 days a week.
But fun only lasts this long. In most cases what comes after a night of fun is a nasty hangover.
Being born and raised in Georgia I have witnessed the phenomenon of the hangover since quite an early age. Georgians like to drink, and getting over a hangover has become some kind of ritual. It’s almost part of the culture. I was introduced to different Georgian ways of fighting one. Every single Georgian who wants to help you with your hangover will offer you a shot of yet more alcohol, or at least advise you to have a couple. When you explain that you can’t drink, they encourage you by saying that you only feel nasty when you see the shot, but after you take one, this feeling just flies.
Georgians getting up with a head the size of a phone booth (that’s a very Georgian way of describing a hangover) head to restaurants where they can eat Khinkali and drink vodka with it. They usually spend a couple of hours there and then head home to get some sleep. Unless of course, it doesn’t turn into another celebration we call the Supra. After another Supra comes another hangover come they have to defeat. I have noticed that the older generation goes to eat Khashi (it’s a kind of a stew made from cattle hoofs and guts. It is served with a lot of garlic. It has a very distinctive smell and taste and is, let me tell you, delicious) and of course drink more vodka. There are other people who drink beer in the mornings and that’s quite enough for them. I was told that beer has a "velvety” kick that drags you back into a drunkenness where you don’t feel drunk. They call it a "velvety high”.
For me personally a bottle of a mineral water and a good sleep is the ultimate method of combating a hangover. In the USA, where I could not get Khinkali or Khashi, I substituted Miso soup. I went to a Japanese restaurant as soon as I woke up, had some Miso soup and was ready to sleep all day long. Since I could not have a bottle of Likani (Georgian mineral water), San Pellegrino sparkling water did just fine.
The city famous for producing the most outrageous and often dangerous hangovers is (I would say) Las Vegas, NV. In Las Vegas the most common hangover comes with a wedding ring. I believe this city has more weddings and marriage annulments than any other in the world. The only reason people go to Vegas (a city which has no history, but has a sight from every other significant city, or era) is to have fun. Some gamble, some party, some get married (on purpose or by accident), but in going to Vegas every person takes a subconscious risk of tying the knot. Even the most unbelieving in, and unprepared for, marriage propose in Las Vegas. Weddings are always in the air in Vegas. People go there to forget themselves and often come back married or already divorced. They should actually develop some kind of a programme, or attraction, or meal for (accidental) newlyweds, as this process does not merely give you a headache but a lot of paper to fill in, and oftentimes money needs to shared out.
What is interesting about accidental Vegas weddings is that they're actually not the way they show them in the movies. It doesn’t take just drinking to get married, you need to get an actual marriage licence. The couple has to appear together at the Marriage License Bureau. You will need ID and proof of age if you are under 21, plus your Social Security number (if you have it. A foreigner you still can get married, even if they are an illegal foreigner). You must be 18 to legally marry without your parents' consent. The Marriage License Bureau is open daily from 8am to midnight (including holidays). For a spur-of-the-moment ceremony, there are wedding chapels that are open 24 hours a day; some even have drive-through windows.
This sounds quite fun, but I can’t help wonder how drunk people must be to go through getting a marriage licence (there may be a queue at any time of the day), picking a chapel (there may also be queues) and still saying "I do”. I guess they simply get in the groove of a spontaneous yet (supposedly) lifelong experience that often times ends the very next day. Well, at least they will have a fun hangover story to tell their grandkids. This will not be a partying or a drinking story, since they are drunk enough not to remember the beginning of it, but they will sure remember waking up with a head the size of a telephone booth and a ring on their finger.
You may wake up with a ring or a headache, but what you should never do while having a hangover is drink sweet juice or water. They feel good at the time but don’t do you any good. A good sleep and sparkling mineral water – nothing can beat that.
But trust me; despite the listed options for how to beat a hangover, nothing feels better than waking up Sunday morning feeling fresh. That’s what I know for sure from my own experience.
By Tako Agarashvili