May 28, 2010

Dry Weekend in Colombia (No drinking allowed!)

This is probably going to be tamest weekend in Colombia since I arrived ten months ago. In honor of the Colombian presidential elections on Sunday, May 30, this weekend is a "Dry Weekend".

What's a dry weekend?
No alcohol sold anywhere, including restaurants, bars, grocery stores, clubs, gas stations, etc. Literally, this is a country wide alcohol ban from 6pm on Friday until 6 am Monday. All in all, an effort to encourage Colombians to make an informed, responsible, (sober) choice for their presidential candidates. This is also to benefit the volunteers who work the polls, so that they show up early Sunday morning with a clear mind and body.

Now while I support the general idea of the Dry Weekend in Colombia, I would be curious to see how effective this is in preventing alcohol influenced voting or volunteering. I have a feeling that most people probably stock up for the Dry Weekend in the same manner people stocked up on canned goods at the turn of the century.

Any one candidate needs over 50% of the vote in order to officially win the election, so if this doesn't happen on Sunday, a second runoff election will be held in June. If a runoff election is held, as the polls indicate, then Colombia will also have a dry weekend from Friday, June 18 to Monday, June 21. Seeing as how Friday, June 18 is our last day with students for the year, I am not so much looking forward to an alcohol ban for the weekend, but such is life...

Happy (sober) weekend from Colombia!

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