When Parrot Heads Meet Croatians


A few of us have decided to explore other cultures in 2012. By explore, I think it means we’re going to hit up their parties and drink. So, not so much different than our current culture.

Last Saturday, we went to the Croatian American Club in Phoenix. They were having a dinner and dance (with a Tamburitza Group playing). The options were:

1.  Pay $5.00 to get in the door; $15 for dinner; and pay as you go drinks $3-5 throughout the night.
2.  Pay $30 - for everything above including unlimited drinks for the night.

As you can imagine, option 2 was the choice for most of us.

We got there early to make sure we reserved a full table as there were eleven of us. As we were standing around, waiting for them to get ready for us to pay, Crash and I looked longingly at the bar. Damn, we were thirsty.

Like good doobies, we stood in the line to pay and get our tickets for the event. They were handing out 1 ticket per dollar paid so we each got 30. Now, if I were doing tickets, I would probably count off 30, tear them off then use that to measure the rest of the tickets to hand out.

That’s not what they did. The very nice lady had a mark on the table for ten tickets and she measured and tore off ten at a time. Not very quickly. She was also hand stamping the people who bought the all inclusive deal. Let’s just say it was a CF and we were really, really thirsty after the process and leave it at that.

Happy campers that we now had beer tickets, Crash and I headed to the bar. The guy working it asked what we wanted and I asked for their beer selection.

Guy: We have Bud, Coors Lite, Michelob Ultra, Heineken and Corona.
Me: You don’t have any Croatian beer?
Guy: We live in America now.
Me: (sad face)
Guy: It’s too expensive but we do have a really big bottle but I don’t think you want to drink that much.
Me: You don’t know us very well.
Crash: How many tickets for the big bottle?
Guy: (ignoring Crash)
Us: OK, Heineken, please.

So, most of our group drank Corona and Heineken for the evening. And, we drank a lot. I expected a bunch of Slavic folk would put away some alcohol but they were mostly old people. Some youngsters finally showed up but we were the youngest table for a long time and that’s counting Sonja’s Mom Katie in that mix.

The food was fantastic. Lamb, chicken, sausage, sauerkraut, bread, potato salad and dessert. It was all yummy and Crash and I shared a plate because we then only spent 15 tickets. More for beer!

Sharing the plate to save tickets was good for our diets (though we still ate too much) but it was unnecessary for ticket conservation. All you had to do was go back to the table and show your hand stamp to get more. I’m not sure what the point of the tickets was unless they were using them to monitor food and beverage consumption.

When you're the last ones there, the band comes to you!
The Tamburitza group very much resembled a Mariachi band without a horn. They played some fun sounding stuff, sang a lot of songs we didn’t understand and had people dancing. They didn’t dance as much as the gang at the Pulaski Club polkas but there was the traditional circle, holding hands and dance stepping. Crash tried to dance (tries being the operative word) but I used my bad back as an excuse to not make a fool of myself. (That’s not to imply that Crash made a fool of herself, she looked like she was having fun and that’s what matters.)


Dance, ladies, dance!

When in the company of Croatians, we often drink Slivo. Sonja asked them if they had any at the bar and they said they didn’t but they had some homemade stuff we should try. They gave Sonja and me a rather large sample of what they called Lozo. I can’t find it on wikipedia but it was basically moonshine made out of grapes and poured into an old E & J Brandy bottle with the label peeled off. It smelled a bit like Tequila to me (which meant I had to hold my breath to drink it) and it was smooth yet pretty strong tasting.


Like we needed the Lozo!
Because we apparently liked it so much, they gave us more. Oh, joy! Just like with Slivo, you can’t stop at one. It was a pretty jolly group that rolled out of there.



We were about the last ones to leave. I think it will be interesting to see as we continue our cultural explorations if that’s always going to be the case. I think we should just declare our nationality as Parrot Heads because that’s a group that never wants the party to stop.

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