You can see a handle in the hand of the porter to the left. That´s a bag, and in the bag is Kev. Kev is short for ´Keg of India Pale Ale´.
These are the brethren of dear departed Barry, and while they missed the canal trip from Burton, the cruise to Tenerfie and the Atlantic Crossing on Europa, they´ll be joining me on the next stage of the journey – 12,000 miles across the Atlantic, round the Cape of Good Hope, through the Indian Ocean to Mumbai.
This is thanks to Jeff Pickthall – beer writer, beer drinker, and now beer smuggler – who brought them to Rio for me in his luggage when all attempts to get them in through normal channels failed. After travelling from Newcastle, via Burton, Heathrow and Sao Paolo to Rio, Jeff arrived at the hotel FIFTEEN MINUTES AFTER the man who came to pick me up to board me on to the container ship – the container ship that left three days ahead of schedule. It was skin of the teeth stuff – the stuff of legend.
While Jeff had a well-deserved few days beer drinking in Rio, me and the boys cruised down the Brazilian coast. I´ve´been getting soaked in Paranagua, blowing up balloons with whores in the sailor´s paradise in Santos, and finally we´re as far south as you can go in Brazil – Rio Grande, a deserted Wild West town where thankfully there´s an internet cafe.
This will be my last contact with the outside world till we´re off the coast of Oman in about 16 days time. In the meantime, I´ve got a book to write.
The theme of the book?
Taking a 30kg keg of beer on an 18,000 mile sea route that no longer exists is not as easy as it sounds…