In his book, McCarthy’s Bar, Pete McCarthy tells of the first rule of travelling; “if you see a pub with your name on it, you have to go in.” with my surname being Cameron, the chances of this happening outside if Scotland or Nova Scotia (and even there it would be remote) are slim to none, so on arriving into Rio over two months ago, we settled on the 1st Amendment; if you see an Irish bar, you must go in and have a drink.
This amendment worked pretty well. We saw an Irish bar in Ipanema but it was closed, we saw one in central Rio which was charging the equivalent of £4 entry fee so quickly introduced the 2nd Amendment; if you see an Irish bar (that isn’t charging to get in), you must go in and have a drink.
And so life was good (and relatively sober). European’s tend not to travel north of Rio in Brazil and so we saw no more Irish bars.
We arrived into Lima in Peru and went out for something to eat and, out of practice at Irish spotting, we shocked to see a neon leprechaun dancing and smoking a pipe. Always a slave to a rule we wandered over. Alas it was a casino not a pub, so we were spared another potentially messy night.
So we arrived in Cusco with our livers in good shape, and, as we went to meet Mairead’s friend Colm in the ominously sounding Wild Rover hostel which he owns and runs, we walked past Rosie O’Grady’s Irish Bar. There was no escaping it, we popped in for one. To my relief, it was as authentic Irish as Barack Obama and after swilling back a bottle of Cusquena we headed on.
Our good fortune was not to last. The Wild Rover was the Real McCoy (not to be confused with an English pub in Cusco called The Real McCoy).
Drinks were brought, drank and replenished without ever being asked for, most of them without being paid for. I was escorted back behind the bar and told to pour myself a whiskey and then brought a second for good measure. Rows of shots were lined up on the bar and, if memory serves there was a dice game.
The evening ended (in true Irish style) with a table quiz – pub quiz to the Anglo-Saxon. Drunk as we are we somehow scraped a win by one point, probably by knowing the 2005 World Elephant Polo champions nationality – it’s pretty obvious when you think about it – Scotland*.
As we staggered back to our hostel through the now deserted streets of Cusco, closer to tomorrow than yesterday, our hearts sank as we saw a sign: “Paddy’s Bar – The highest 100% Irish owned bar in the world”.
This brought about the 3rd Amendment to the First Rule of Travel; if you see an Irish bar (that isn’t charging to get in), you must (though not necessarily there and then) go in and have a drink.
*If facts need to be verified: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/4235210.stm