Wednesday, October 22, 2014

These requests from abroad, volume four: "May I ask you to send me one set of your beer labels?"

If you own a brewery or work for one, you've probably fielded e-mail inquiries from overseas asking for beer labels, crown caps and the like, as destined to become cherished keepsakes of private collectors who've heard of your beer, even in far-off Moldova or the Ivory Coast.

To me, there is something compelling and yet haunting about these foreign requests, which tend to come from Central/Eastern European locales, which are places of longtime personal interest to me historically and geographically. They speak to my inner melancholic. Lately, I've been pasting their addresses into Google Map and seeing what their places of residence look like.

The most recent request comes from Peter, in the Czech Republic.

He lives in Teplice, a spa town located in northwestern Bohemia near the border with Germany. His apartment building is very indicative of those constructed during the Communist era. During my time in Czechoslovakia teaching English, the building opposite my dorm residence looked much like this one, and it reminds me of sitting on my balcony, smoking little Vatra cigars, and drinking coffee, bottled beer, or both.

Let's hope no privacy protocols are being violated by my depicting their buildings, seeing as there's a drone hovering outside my front door even as I type these words. It's just that I can't help wondering: What's the rest of the story?

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