I Ordered a Coke in Hahvahd Yahd

It’s the question that is the bane of every Southerner’s existence: “Is Pepsi okay?”

No. No, restaurant that doesn’t serve the sweet nectar of Coca-Cola, Pepsi is not okay. If I wanted a Pepsi, I’d order a Pepsi. I don’t go into a Cadillac dealership and say I want their latest sports car only to be asked, “Is this old, beat-up Buick okay?” NO.

International Coke Logos
All of these places have Coca-Cola, and yet you don’t?

As a die-hard Coca-Cola addict (I grew up in Atlanta, after all,) drinking a fountain Coke is kind of a daily treat or comfortable ritual. Some people have a glass of wine after work every day, Brits like to share a cuppa, I like to have a fountain Coke.

I have a friend who likes to get ice-cream everywhere she travels. I guess I do the same thing with trying to find a fountain Coke. It’s a nice treat to grab mid-afternoon as a pick-me-up when traveling or when resting mid-exploration of a new city. (It’s important to note that I didn’t say get a canned or bottled Coke, but a fountain Coke.)

I suppose if you wanted to dive into the psychology of the whole thing, you could say that Coke feels like home and it’s also one thing that is universal – I’ve read that no matter your language, the word “Coca-Cola” is the most recognized phrase in the world, second only to the word “okay.” The Guardians of the Galaxy are probably drinking intergalactic Coke up in space.

The point is that literally everywhere, no matter where you go in the world, there is Coca-Cola.

… Except in Boston.

Good Will Hunting
The paper bags are covering their generic brand cola cans.

I visited Boston for the first time earlier this year and absolutely loved it. I fell in love with everything about the city – the people (well, half of them), the neighborhoods (well, half of them), the atmosphere… Everything.

I didn’t have too much time to explore – just long enough to hit up the major sights, eat at Dunkin’, and catch a Red Sawks game at a local sports bar.

Affleck Boston accent
I wasn’t in Boston long, but it was long enough to confirm that EVERYONE talks like this.

I also made sure to visit the Harvard campus, since everyone always says the Harvard campus is beautiful.

I mean, sure… It’s definitely pretty. It’s prettier than a lot of giant universities I’ve seen. But honestly, I don’t see why people are so obsessed with it.

You wanna see a beautiful campus? Go to Davidson College just outside of Charlotte, NC. That’s a beautiful campus. It’s the kind of place you could see Joey from Dawson’s Creek hanging paintings of in her room growing up.

Legally Blonde gif
You’ll say “What, like it’s hard?” approximately 452 times while walking through the campus.

Anyway, back to Harvard and the whole vibe. I will say that when you step on campus, you feel instantly smarter. More worthwile. Like you’re in the middle of doing something that’s going to make a significant different in the course of human life on earth.

… You also feel like you’ve been there before.

I spent my entire time in Boston, a place I’ve never been, feeling very comfortable. Like I’ve lived there my whole life. I think this is because every movie that takes place in Boston – and there’s a lot of them – is very accurate in portraying the reality of life there.

I blame a lot of this on Mark Wahlberg and the Afflecks.

Based on my very, very brief time in Boston, I felt that there were three distinct neighborhoods of Boston: the Harvard part north of the river, the blue collar part near Fenway, and the part that has lots of walking and shopping and bars and reminded me a lot of the Washington Square area of New York.

People from Boston, please feel free to correct me. Again, I was there for 48 hours.

I felt much more comfortable in the non-Harvard parts of the city. But I had to visit Harvard, because I was in Boston, and that’s what one does, and I grabbed a burger at an apparently very famous burger place across the street from capus, right next to the bookstore.

The burgers are all named after notable celebrities or politicians, and the food was delicious. But when I sat down and asked, “Do you have Coke or Pepsi,” fully bracing myself for a Pepsi answer, I did not expect to hear something else: “Neither.”


“We actually have a locally-made craft soda.”

Social Network - JT
Well, if that isn’t just the most Harvard answer ever.

I bit the bullet and ordered a non-Coke cola-flavored local soda, since I wanted a soda with my meal and I figured at least I wouldn’t be contributing to evil, evil Pepsi. It was fine.

My friend stuck with water, thank you very much.

This would be the end of the story but there’s an epilogue: three days after Boston, I was in Manhattan, and went to a sports bar to watch a Yankees game. (I’m starting to get the feeling that I have another travel tradition…) I asked if they had Coke or Pepsi and the waiter said that “those name brands” were too expensive, and they just served generic Cola from the nearest grocery store.

…. Okay then. I feel like if Coke is setting you back, you might have other aspects of your business that need to be reexamined.

You may think this is over the top and I’m a crazy woman who goes on and on about Coca-Cola at an alarming rate. But the title of this blog is “Another Sugar Rush” (because “Sugar Rush” was taken,) so you clearly knew what you were getting into when you clicked on this.