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  • Out of Africa - The Beers

     

    1.       Tiger Beer

    2.       Heineken

    3.       Stella Artois

    4.       Tusker

    5.       Tusker Pilsener Malt

    6.       Tusker Lite

    7.       Pilsener

    8.       Pilsener Ice

    9.       White Cap

    10.   Snappy

    11.   Premium Redds

    12.   Guiness

    13.   Summit

    14.   Balozi

    15.   White Cap Light

    16.   Allsops QualityLager

    17.   Windhoek Premium Lager

    18.   Safari Lager from Tanzania

    19.   Castle

    20.   Castle Light

    21.   Platinum

    22.   Castle Milk Stout

    23.   Guiness Foreign Extra

    24.   Peroni Nastro Azzurro

    25.   8.6 Bavaria Special Blonde Beer

    26.   Blonde Premium

    27.   Miller Genuine Draft

    28.   Bavaria Holland Premium Beer

    29.   Tusker Keg

    30.   Sierra Draft

    Out of Africa in 80 Beers, the journey continued….. but only 30 in the end, thanks to the Pirates!

    Stanley met Livingstone, Danny met beer

    Ta Ta

  • Kwaheri Africa...

    Out of Africa in 30 beers!

    The taxi out to the charred remains of Jomo Kenyatta (or tent city as I now like to call it) took a lot longer than usual. When we arrived at the Departures area there was also confusion as the armed airport security staff were not keen on any vehicles stopping to drop people off, as I guess they were also worried about an attack on the airport? We managed to grab our bags and pay the taxi and then tried to negotiate the Check In desk which was chaotic. Security were stopping and searching people before they were even at the check in desks and there were big queues which we joined. We managed to get through the first security check and were able to check our luggage in and then joined the next queue to go through the scanners with around five hours until our flight was due to leave. Maybe an hour or two later we got through this lot of checks and were shown through to a large hangar that was our departure lounge, although "lounge” is a rather complimentary description of rows of wooden chairs and no catering unless you were after a bottle of water.

    At this point I decide that maybe I will be unable to reach my target of eighty beers in Africa and think to myself that there are more important things in life than beer, but not that many that spring to mind! For us to gain entrance to the luxury departure lounge, with its comfortable executive wooden seats and complimentary bottles of water, we have to go through another scan and baggage check, this time operated by British Airways themselves. They check our bags, bodies and pockets for anything resembling something that a terrorist may use but luckily don't find anything so we are allowed through.

    Jomo-Kenyatta-Tent-AirportJomo kenyatta tent airport 2

    So we wait to finally leave the beautiful continent of Africa and the stunning place that is Kenya, having failed dismally on the beer discovery front. Our flight is finally "called” and we exit through the back door of the hangar and the steps to the aircraft are two metres away. Safely on board as the aircraft takes off we wave goodbye after a great beer hunting expedition that was nearly ruined by the Somali Pirates…..be careful what you wish for Danny Beer! Please also say a prayer, whatever your faith, for the people that did not get out of Westfields' alive.

    Keep checking the blog though. There were more beers discovered before we left that have not been reported yet and who knows where the next beer hunt will be? Watch this space to find out as it could be sooner than I had originally planned.

    Out of Africa in 30 beers in the end!

    Kwaheri Africa
    Ta Ta from Africa

    Danny Beer

  • Day Fourteen – A Lucky Escape

    Wow, what a day!

    After breakfast Jetlag and I went with our kind hosts down to the Westland's area in Nairobi while we left Pam packing the bags ready for our flight this evening back to England. Who said that colonialism was dead!

    The Westland Shopping Centre is just a five minute walk from Rita's flat, which is where we are spending our last day here in Nairobi the capital of Kenya. Jetlag and I went to get some shopping to take back home and Rita dropped us back to their flat around 11:00 am. She was going to take us straight back down to the Westland Centre for lunch in The Art Caffee but Pam had not finished packing so we hung around and watched TV for a while.

    While we were watching the sports channel on TV we heard three large bangs and wondered what it was that had caused them. I said to Jetlag that I thought it was fireworks being set off for the Rugby Sevens that were being held in Nairobi today and we thought no more of it. A short time later we heard the sound of helicopters, and they seemed to be circling around the area but again thought no more of it. The buzzing of the helicopter blades did however seem to carry on indefinitely, a bit like an annoying swarm of wasps, but this didn't really register with us.

    We got ready to go for something to eat and left the secure gates of the complex where the flat was located at around 12:30pm. Outside the gates we turned right. To reach the Westland Centre you have to walk for around two hundred yards and the turn left and left again making a kind of U turn. There is no proper pavement so we are doing our best not to get run over. As we were walking down we could see the Westland Centre to our left and realised that something was wrong! There were a lot of people congregating on the road to our left, trying to look through the trees to see what was happening and there seemed to be smoke emanating from the centre. There were lots of cars parked up and people abandoning them to try and see what was going on. My internal alarm system kicked in and I was on high alert, being as I stuck out like a sore thumb as we walked along the road. We got to the end of the road and turned left but could not turn left again to head down to the centre as the road was blocked and police were stopping anyone going down it either on foot or by vehicle. Sirens were going off and panic ensued around us. Kate Adie eat your heart out!

    Jetlag made a phone call to his sister and she said for us to make our way to their shop, but as we were not sure of how to get there on foot Rita said to head for the Sarit Centre, which is located a block away from the Westland. Rita had advised us to wait inside the Apple Store, which is on the ground floor just inside the main doors. When we got to the Sarit Centre we found the doors to the Apple Store closed, although the Apple Experts were still inside, so we waited just outside the store and just inside the main doors to the centre.
    Rita had said on the phone that George, who worked in their shop, would come across to the Sarit Centre to find us and take us to somewhere safe. George appeared and found us waiting by the main entrance and led the way towards the shop. We walked briskly, keeping a keen eye on lookout, and tried to focus on following George who was moving at a brisk pace. We also avoided eye contact as much as possible. Around us there was chaos, with people milling around and police and soldiers trying to keep the traffic moving away from the area with emergency vehicles converging from all directions. Helicopters were circling the area and sirens from the emergency services were sounding all around us.

    After walking for around fifty yards there was a commotion on our left by a roundabout. The police had stopped an open backed van at gun point, and we saw five men lifting another man who was badly injured onto the back of the truck. We crossed the road in the opposite direction and walked for another two hundred yards, went down a side road and eventually arrived at the gates to the complex where the shop is located. The electric gates were raised and we were waved through by the armed security guards and breathed a sigh of relief as they closed the gates and we finally felt that we were in a safer environment.

    Nairobi Attack

    In the safety of the shop our hosts explained that the TV news was reporting that terrorists had attacked the Westland Centre, which is where we were going to have lunch today and where we had been only a couple of hours earlier. It transpires that terrorists had gained entrance though the Art Caffee and had thrown three hand grenades into the centre to cause confusion and mayhem. They stormed the centre through the caffeé, which is incidentally where we had lunch last Monday and had planned to repeat today. It seems that the grenades were used to create chaos and, and as the Art Caffee is on the ground floor and has outside seating and a terrace, the terrorists could gain access easily through the café. This would allow them to circumvent the armed security guards at the main door to the centre. Reports stated that once in the centre the terrorists started to gun down anyone they came across who did not look like they may be a Muslim or who could not tell them the name of Mohammed's mother.

    We holed up in Rita's shop for a while and then George went out and found us a cab and we got out of the area heading for The Village, which is a large complex about a twenty minute drive from the shop and close to the United Nations complex. When we got there we found that they were not letting in any visitors as they feared a similar attack. We telephoned for advice and eventually holed up in a Java café just down the road waiting for Rita to come and collect us and take us back to the flat.

    Rita and Yogesh arrived and we had a coffee and then headed back towards central Nairobi and the flat. There were traffic jams and detours but we finally got back to their flat, which is in a guarded and gated area protected by high walls. When we were inside we met a lady that had two people who were close to her inside the Westland and was praying that they were safe!

    The attack, which lasted until 24 September, resulted in at least 67 deaths, including four of the attackers. Over 175 people were reportedly wounded in the mass shooting, with all of the gunmen reported killed. The Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the incident, which it characterised as retribution for the Kenyan military's deployment in Somalia. Many media outlets also suspected the insurgent group's involvement in the attack was based on earlier reprisal warnings it had issued in the wake of Operation Linda Nchi from 2011 to 2012. Kenyan authorities arrested dozens of people in the aftermath of the attack, but had not announced any suspects directly related to the siege. On 4 November 2013, a Kenyan court charged four Somali nationals with harbouring the slain gunmen in their homes, with each pleading not guilty.

    We decided to get to the airport really early that evening as the security would be on high alert so booked a taxi as soon as we were back in the flat.

    More to follow.......................

  • Another beer bites the dust

    Beer # 13 on the "ball ball” list is White Cap Light lager. Now I know you are thinking that Danny Beer has already claimed White Cap, but desperate times calls for desperate measures as they sayz, so the light version is added! Another beer from East African Breweries and a light beer, which DB would not normally include takes its place as the target is 80 beers and with two days left, anything goes!

    Allsopps

    Beer # 14 is Allsops Quality lager. Allsopps Lager – 5.5% ABV lager is brewed by East African Breweries Limited. EAB is a large East African brewing company which owns 100% of Kenya Breweries, 98.2% of Uganda Breweries, 100% of Central Glass – a glass manufacturer, 100% of Kenya Maltings and 46% of United Distillers and Vintners (Kenya) Limited, 100% of International Distillers Uganda, 100% EABL International (responsible for exporting), 100% of East African Maltings, 100% EABL Foundation and 51% of Serengeti Breweries limited.

    White-Cap-Light

    East African Breweries probably own most of the well-known brands in this part of Africa. Their main brand, Tusker, is probably my favourite brand. If you have read my "Around the World in 80 beers” blog/book it was also the number one beer on that list and has an interesting history. The brand was first marketed in 1923, shortly after the founder of Kenya Breweries Ltd, George Hurst, was killed by an elephant during a hunting accident. It was in this year that the elephant logo, that is synonymous with Tusker Lager, was incorporated. The slogan "Bia Yangu, Nchi Yangu", means "My Beer, My Country" in Kiswahili. Welcome Allsops Quality Lager I salute you.

    The next beer # 15 is from Namibia and is called Windhoek Premium lager. A premium, natural beer brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516, using only the finest imported ingredients certified to contain no genetically modified organisms. This beer is mild in bitterness with a distinctive hops flavor, delivering an exquisite taste profile, or so the bottle says. A nice beer and one from different country on the African continent, I feel like real progress is finally being made with the goal of 80 within hitting distance, but only if you are Babe Ruth or Sir Donald Bradman.

    More later
    Ta Ta
    Danny Beer

  • Day Thirteen – Mombasa to Nairobi

    It's a thankless task, writing a blog about new beers and travel, when you are unable to discover any new beers and your fellow passengers on the budget airline smell so badly!

    We are travelling back to Nairobi on a budget airline called 54 and it is a very interesting flight that I would think would put Ryanair and Easyjet to shame! It is a "free for all” seating policy and the aircraft stunk of body odour, so much so that I had to try and hold my nose for the 50 minute trip.

    On the way down from the departure lounge to the plane that was waiting on the concourse with the fumigation machines on full power, Pam spotted a guy that had fallen asleep and looked likely to miss the opportunity of sampling the delightful fragrance on offer in the cabin of the aeroplane! Pam tried to wake him from his deep slumber and as he came to life we carried on down the stairway onto the tarmac. To board the plane you had to turn right and not try and board through the boarding bridge. As we turned right we saw the same gentleman rush straight down the boarding bridge and kept our fingers crossed that he didn't go straight through the door at the end of the bridge tunnel and proceed to fall the 30 metres to the tarmac!

    An uneventful if odious flight, although I am sure that perfumes sales on board the plane reached an all-time high, and we land back at the charred remains of Jomo Kenyatta International Tent Site and the weather is atrocious. The rain is falling very heavily, floods are starting to happen and chaos is all around us! Our driver turns up and we grab our bags and jump into the taxi to take us back to the centre of Nairobi. We head down the main road into Nairobi, the A109, and the rain continues to fall. We hit a major traffic jam and the driver tries to take a different route but everywhere the traffic is gridlocking. The new roads around Nairobi that the Chinese have funded and built are unable to cope with the downpour and water is collecting and causing deep water where none should be. The journey that should have taken 20 to 30 minutes ends up taking around three hours. We also gave the taxi driver a nice tip for his perseverance and ingenuity.

    I mentioned in the last blog post about a cunning plan and this cunning plan involves visiting the Nakumat hyper market in the Westgate Centre in Nairobi and buying a bottle or can of every beer that they stock with the exception of Tusker. When we arrive back at Rita's with the large bag of beers she clearly thinks I have gone completely mad, but a beer hunt is a beer hunt and Danny Beer is a man of pride and commitment to the cause.
    So here we go:

    Alcoholic drink number ten is Snappy. I don't think it is actually a beer but desperate times call for desperate measures. Drink #11 is Premium Redds, again not really a beer but it still counts. The next one is definitely a beer, well at least a stout so Guiness, the Nigerian Lager take your place on the "Out of Africa” List.

    ReddsSnappyBalozi-BeerSummit Lager

    The next one is definitely a beer and also a malt lager. Summit is made by Keroche Breweries Limited and is brewed in Naivasha. Interestingly Keroche Breweries is run by a female entrepreneur and is trying to take on the might of East African Breweries and its Tusker brand.

    Next beer to find its place in the "ball ball” list is Balozi at #12. Balozi Lager was launched into the Kenyan market on the 21st December 2012. It is a rich, natural tasting beer made from pure water originating from the heart of the Aberdares and the finest malted barley. Balozi Lager has no added sugar so would be great for Jetlag if he wasn't a tee totaller.

    Keep watching the blog space for more new beers and updates…..

    Ta Ta
    Danny Beer

  • Day Twelve – Mombasa

    Another leisurely day today, spent lounging around the pool and drinking Tusker on draft. Jetlag kept disappearing and at one point we thought the pirates had finally got him but this proved not to be the case.

    I am beginning to think that this beer hunting trip may be completely in vain, as seventy one new beers in three days is, I think, an unsurmountable target! I need to think up some sort of cunning plan.

    In the evening they had a band playing at the hotel which was good fun, and they managed to sing a variety of different types of music, including some Bob Marley songs for the older looking white guys with younger looking attractive ladies in tow. Unfortunately most of these had already retired to the rooms with a beach view, I am guessing so that they could enjoy a nice warm cup of "all inclusive” Horlicks?

    Tomorrow we check out of the Voyager and head back to Nairobi

    A short update and day twelve and no new beers,

    Ta Ta

  • Day Eleven - Wednesday - Mombasa

    Just another day in paradise

    Isn't that what the balding bloke from Genesis sang? Not sure, as I didn't like the song or the singer! Think there might have been a good cover at some point though?

    So day eleven, nine beers down eighty one to go.

    I have signed up for the free snorkelling trip this morning (all inclusive!) so turn up at the Water Sports reception behind the pool at the designated time ready for the trip. We are given the "Health and Safety" briefing (didn't it used to be better before H&S?) and then we walk down  across Nyali Beach, avoiding the hawkers who say they remember me and what is my name? On the way I keep a keen eye open on the lookout for any pirates that may be beaching at the same time!

    We wade out to the boat, climb on board, and start what turned out to be a very educational and entertaining couple of hours. My fellow passengers consisted of six ladies of a more mature age, and me and another man who came from "up north" and told me that this was the first time he had been away from the usual two weeks in Spain (Benidorm?).

    We arrived at the first stop and the boat was anchored so that we could step off board, on to the sand banks that are located either side of the main channel into Mombasa Harbour. Around us there are fishermen, who appear to be standing on water and casting their nets, which looks a bit weird from a distance, but highlights the phenomenon of the sandbanks off the coast of Nyali Beach, and maybe explains the "walking on water" thing from the bible?

    A part of the "Health and Safety" briefing is about the possibility of getting stung, not by the hawkers on Nyali Beach but by the Jellyfish that frequent the area. OK so what to do if I get stung by a jellyfish? I remember being the only person on a snorkel trip in Barbados to be stung, so looked up on the interweb to see if it is true about the nullifying effects of peeing. Apparently the sting of a jellyfish comes from specialized cells in the surface of its tentacles called cnidocytes. Each small, bulb-shaped cell holds a barbed, threadlike tube, called a nematocyst, filled with venom. On the outside of each cell is a tiny hair called a cnicocil. When this "hair trigger" is disturbed, the cell's toxic harpoon explodes from its capsule and into the skin of the jellyfish's prey or an unlucky swimmer, or more likely Danny Beer!

    The amount and type of venon and the effect that it causes depends on the type of jellyfish, the number of nematocysts involved, and the area and thickness of the skin they strike. Whatever the variables, a sting is never exactly pleasant as I have indeed found out, ouch!

    Pressure triggers the cells, so you can't just pick them off with your fingers (whoever is doing the picking is just going to get stung on the fingers, too). Certain chemical changes, like throwing off the salt balance between the outside and inside of the cell, can also cause the stingers to fire. This is why urine is often no good. Sure, urine contains salts, but it's just too variable! Concentrated urine might do the trick, and there are anecdotal reports from sting victims that it helps relieve some of the pain, but if the peeing rescuer is well-hydrated with beer for instance, then the urine will be too diluted and make the stingers fire.

    So maybe I will just try and avoid getting stung as clearly if this theory doesn't work I am not sure I would get any volunteers from my fellow passengers on the trip.

    Nyali-Beach

    Whilst walking across the sandbanks our guide and leader Edwin found a Hermit Crab with rusty iron attached to its shell, and asked if we knew where the metal came from?   It turns out that it's from The Globe Star, a cargo ship that ran aground on the 27th April 1973 along the Nyali Reef. It was carrying 10,000 tons of wheat bound for Karachi Pakistan, and despite an intensive salvage operation the vessel broke in half and was abandoned. In 1978, the wreck was demolished by Divecon Ltd, Mombasa, leaving the main engine visible and the remains of the ship less than ten feet below the surface of the sea and the wrecked ship is why the Hermit Crab had a coat of rusty iron.

    The rest of the day was lazy and spent relaxing. In the evening we were enjoying a meal in the restaurant and I couldn't help but notice, and commented to both Jetlag and Pam, that there seemed to be an unusual amount of what you might call fairly elderly white gentlemen with what appeared to be fairly young and attractive black ladies accompanying them. Indeed one particular gentleman appeared to have a very nice looking lady accompanying him with what can only be described as his future mother-in-law in tow.  Now Danny Beer has absolutely no problem whatsoever with this and can only think to himself "where exactly did I go wrong?"

    Ta Ta till next time
    BTW still no new beers!

  • Day Ten - Tuesday - Nairobi to Mombasa

    After a nice breakfast at Rita's we head off to airport to catch our flight down to Mombasa. We are travelling down on Kenya Airways and I have to say that the domestic departure tents at the Jomo Kenyatta airport are much better than the tents in the International Departure lounge, and the aircraft hangers that are being used to hold passengers before boarding actually have some catering facilities but unfortunately only Tusker, so still no move on the beer count!

    It's around a 45 minute flight to Mombasa and very comfortable one too, and when you step off the plane at Moi International Airport you notice that the climate has changed and that you are in warmer climes and nearer sea level and the Equator.

    We are staying at the Voyager Beach Resort on Nyali Beach, on an all-inclusive basis (if you wanna get p*ss*d show your wrist), and they have kindly sent a driver to pick us up from the airport.

    The transfer is around 25 minutes and we arrive at the resort and get shown to our room by the people that you only see when you arrive at a hotel and don't want someone to carry your bags. When we get shown the room it is disappointing. It does indeed have a sea view but the air con doesn't work and we think that maybe we have been given the "ha ha” room! Unfortunately the keen "luggage carriers” have vanished into thin air, just like a genie back into the lamp. Back to Reception, carrying our own bags and after much negotiation by Jetlag, that would make Dr Henry Kissinger "take the shame” we manage to get moved to a room that is very nice, where the air con works and where we still have a view of Nyali Beach and the Indian Ocean, so at least we can keep watch just in case the pirates decide to beach on Nyali.

    You do notice that the security around the hotel is quite high. There are large gates and walls protecting the front entrance, with armed security guards, but we don't feel insecure and there is a distance away from the general public, unless we decide to explore further down the beach.

    The staff who work in the restaurant are excellent and it is "all inclusive” so the only downside on day one Mombasa is they only serve Tusker, so the task is getting more difficult by the day!

    Tusker-Mombasa

    A nice first day in Mombasa and a very nice hotel, no new beers so still stuck at beer #9, ta ta till tomorrow, Danny Beer

  • Day Nine – Aberdare to Nairobi

    We leave The Ark after a hearty breakfast and are heading back to Nairobi for the rest of Sunday and Monday, before we head off to what's left of Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta to take an internal flight down to Mombasa.
    The drive is quite slow and it's at this point, rather than when we were in the jungle that David our driver drops into the conversation that he has had a problem with the vehicle since we left Nairobi around a week ago. There is apparently a problem with one of the rear brakes being locked on and this also maybe explain the route we took to Samburu and the slow speeds we have been achieving when at times we wondered how that jungle sloth was covering the distance quicker that we were.

    On the way back we are passing through Thika, the town where Jetlag grew up (no comment!), so we make a slight detour and drop into the local hotel for refreshments. It's called The Blue Posts Hotel and is found along the Thika-Muranga highway after the turnoff to Thika Town (again no comment but it is where Jetlag went to school!).

    In the grounds of the hotel they have a beautiful waterfall, Thika Falls (!), which they charge admission to view, but David our driver negotiated a deal for us, and they agreed that if we bought a drink and showed them the receipt on the way out they would waive the admission charge (they clearly understood that DB would not stop at one beer).

    I had a nice cold bottle (or two) of Tusker and then wandered over to look at the waterfall located in the grounds of the hotel, and it is a very nice site and a very pleasant hour or so was spent in the gardens sitting in the sun and sipping on a cold bottle of Tusker.

    Thika waterfalls

    On the way back from waterfall watching I spotted a couple of guys sitting on a table near us with a beer bottle label that I did not recognise. Now I bet you had forgotten all about this, the purpose of the trip to Africa, which was not to avoid Somali Pirates but was in fact to try and discover 80 beers in Africa in two weeks…........

    ……. Out of Africa Beer…… number 9…….White Cap Lager, named after the top of Mt. Kenya so clearly a local brew. Take your rightful place on the ball ball list of 80 beers.

    White-Cap-Lager

    Ta Ta till next time

    Danny Beer
    Nine beers in nine days is this mission impossible?

  • Happy Christmas

    Happy to be here. More Africa updates to follow,

    Happy New Beer

    Taking the old cow on holiday
    Taking the old cow on holiday

  • Day Eight – Saturday - Samburu to the Aberdare Mountains

    We left the Samburu Intrepids camp after a very nice breakfast and got ready for the long journey ahead. We are heading back south and skirting around Mount Kenya and our destination is The Ark, so we will be pairing up on the way and looking out for a guy called Noah.

    Our journey takes us away from Somali pirate land and we are travelling south along the A2 road through Isiolo, Timau, Nanyuki  and Naromaru,  before exiting the tarmac and heading on to the dirt road that leads up to the Aberdare Mountains and The Ark.

    We once again climb and move away from the dry and arid desert climate of Samburu and travel through the greener and wetter climate around the mountain.  It is also interesting to see a British Army base in Nanyuki, at The Nanyuki Show Ground (NSG), from where the British Army (allegedly) conducts yearly desert and jungle training exercises, on the mountain and in the arid areas to the north. Nothing to do with pirates then!

    We arrive at the Aberdare Country Club, where we have a very nice lunch before being transported to The Ark, and the first thing that strikes me is the large amount of Americans around, they are everywhere, larger than life as it were! The concept of The Ark and the Aberdare Country Club seems to be "why worry about travelling out and about to hopefully see some animals, why not stay in a reasonable cosy and luxurious location and let the animals come to you!”.

    The transfer takes around 30 minutes as you travel from the Country Club to the Ark, and the thing you notice is the real difference in the climate compared to Samburu. The jungle here in the Aberdare Mountains is green and lush, with a mistiness and dampness prevailing, a bit like the old Tarzan movies. We arrive at The Ark and walk across a "wood and rope” bridge, just like Indiana Jones did, only I think this is purely cosmetic as I don't see anyone carrying their luggage across the rope bridge. We are shown to our rooms, which they call cabins, and which are on decks  A, B and C, and they are nice if a bit functional. The interesting thing though is the buzzer in the room and this buzzes when there is something to look at, like an elephant (one buzz) or something really interesting that gets the maximum of four buzzes.

    I must say that I found it a bit contrived. The Ark is built by a waterhole so the animals will obviously come to it for water. When we arrive there are buffalos and elephants grazing, with the bull elephants exerting the territorial rights and moving the buffalo along. They have four viewing areas on the different decks, with the top one being outside and the bottom one resembling a pill box from WW2 (if you can remember them) where you look out of a narrow slot. Whilst the animals will naturally converge on the area, there did also seem to be "cunning plans” where they left food out to attract certain animals, that seem to be almost tame, but our American friends seemed to lap it up. They had a nice bar area, that only sold Tusker or Heineken, which was a bit disappointing if you are looking for new beers rather than animals, but I am a Tusker fan so was not too disappointed. They also had a satellite TV, so pretty soon the animals came second to the live Premiership games being beamed direct to the jungle.

    We had a nice if elaborate evening meal and a few more Tuskers and went to bed as the day had been a long one. Before retiring for the night though we did have to spend a little bit of time showing one of our American friends how to use their camera. Enjoying a nice sleep I was suddenly awoken by a buzzing sound, buzz, buzz, buzz! Looking at my watch I thought it can't be time to get up yet and then it clicked, something must be happening that I need to get up for. Jumping into some clothes I head out to the viewing area to see what the kerfuffle is about and there are two rhinoceros (is that the plural or should I cheat and say rhino's?) that have come to the water hole in the early hours of the morning. There were not many other animals around but there was a small dik dik (how very dare you) at the waterhole as well, having a light refreshment.

    Suddenly out of the bush some hyenas appear. They start to try and attack the birds that are at the edge of the waterhole or swimming on the surface, but as soon as they try and attack them the birds use their wings to escape, much to the frustration of the hyenas. The next thing we notice is the hyenas eying up the small dik dik across the other side of the waterhole, thinking that dinner was sorted for the evening! Now you have to remember that at night it gets quite cold in the jungle, and I have jumped into a T shirt and pair of shorts, so am feeling a little cold and feeling a lot of sympathy for the small dik dik, but I had to stay and pray (although I am not a religious man) for Bambi.

    Now the rhinocerossssss's notice the hyenas eyeing up the dik dik, and decide that they are not over joyed about this. As the hyenas try and get near Bambi the rhino's charge towards the hyenas, forming a barrier between the hyenas and their dinner. The hyenas try and be a bit sneaky and circle around, but the two rhino's decide that they don't particularly like the hyenas and continue to charge at them to keep them away while the dik dik, who is obviously not the sharpest pencil in the case, finally works out that it could be a good time to make a quick exit.

    I tried to take a few foto foto's but you can't use a flash and the rhinos were quite a long way from where I was, but it was a great experience and now I can say that I have seen a couple of rhinos and an American who doesn't know how to use their camera. Still no new beers though.... so mission impossible!

    Rhino

    Ta Ta, or as they say here in Africa, look after your dik dik and it will look after you.

  • Day Seven – Samburu

    We spent the day relaxing and taking in the vibes of the Intrepids. The location is great as it is by the river so the animals come into the area for the water. Across the other side of the river the Samburu Tribesmen bring their animals to the waterside at various times during the day. These include goats, sheep and camels, that have been brought down from the Northern parts of Africa.

    We went back out in the early evening at around 4pm, looking for some more animals, as we are not allowed out into the park after 6pm as the animals need their bed time sleep! We managed to find a zebra, which interestingly are rare in this part of Africa, and a host of smaller animals but unfortunately none of the big five, which is an interesting parallel with the struggle to find new beers!

    Back to the camp in time for the lecture from the Samburu warriors, who give a lecture on the "becoming a man” process in their tribe. The ancient history and exact origin of the Samburu people is difficult to trace beyond a period of about one hundred years. Events recorded orally soon become interwoven with mythology, merging into one. Some believe their origin could be in the Sudan, but others, within Egypt, the descendants of a lost battalion of Roman soldiers. True Maasai tribesmen call them ‘The Butterfly People', an off-shoot of the main tribe that remained behind whilst others pushed further South. Fiercely pastoral, the Samburu people are totally committed to their stock, almost to the virtual exclusion of everything else. Their cattle are their life; their wealth; their livelihood and the symbol of status and success within the tribe, but not seemingly their foreskin (read on)! Since, like the true Maasai, they believe that all cattle rightfully belong to them, cattle raiding of other tribes has always been a major preoccupation of the warriors.

    For me the most difficult part of the Samburu culture is the chopping off of the foreskin in front of the rest of the tribe. This is a part of the process of becoming a warrior, and should you flinch when this is happening you will be looked on badly and have to "take the shame", even the thought of having this done to me is enough to make me pass out, so I have great sympathy for the flinchers!

    As soon as a male of the tribe has been circumcised, he joins an age-set comprised of all the young men so initiated within a period of about fourteen years, and he will maintain a close affinity with these peers until death. Girls do not have any age-set grouping, passing instead through two stages of life, namely girlhood and womanhood. The men on the other hand pass through three, boyhood from birth to adolescence before entering an age-set, moranhood, from circumcision to marriage when they are warriors, and elderhood from marriage until death.  In the U.K. your eighteenth and  twenty first are seen as big points in your life, with a party and a cake, in Samburu land having the top of your penis cut off is more important! I wonder what the greetings cards say?

    "Congratulations on this special day,

    I hope the pain soon goes away,

    Congratulations on your circumcision,

    Not sure that was the best decision!”

     

    We leave tomorrow and head back south across the Equator and our destination is the Ark.

    Only Tusker beer here and the new beers are proving as hard to find as a Samburu Warrior with his foreskin intact,

    Ta Ta, or as they say here in Africa "Ouch that hurts”

  • Day Six – Friday – Samuburu - Continued...

    Carry on Camping

    We are staying in what can only be described as a luxury tent, which is a bit of a misnomer. Not sure luxury and tent usually go together but they certainly do here, as we have large and comfortable (proper) bed, a bathroom, toilet, and we even share a lounge with Jet Lag who is in the adjoining tent.

    When we were shown to our tents by the helpful porter we were given a lecture about "monkey proofing" the tent, "Make sure to close all the zips when you leave the (luxury) tent” was the message. Absolutely no problem with mosquito proofing apparently, but monkey proofing is of the utmost importance, I know which one has been irritating me more so far on this trip!

    We were up early this morning and out looking for animals. It seems that the animals don't have the decency to allow us a lay in, but the good news is that we were brought a cup of coffee in our (luxury) tent to wake us up at 6 a.m. Out on the hunt and we go on the prowl in the vehicle, with the roof up and binoculars in hand and see what we can spot. I think we were lucky yesterday spotting the "Queen of Samburu” and may have peaked on this trip a little too early, a bit like Charlton used to be like, now they don't peak at all!

    We see some giraffes, which are reticulated here. I thought that this meant that they got a blue badge and could park on double yellow lines, but what it really means is that the lines on their body join up to form a network, unlike giraffes from other parts of Africa that remain seprated, so they can knock the spots off them!

    We also notice some dik-dik (again just like being at Charlton) who are a timid animal and a form of antelope. There are also lots of elephants coming back from watering at the river and we ensure that we turn the engine off and sit in silence as they wander by.

    Reticulated-Giraffe

    We spot (or rather David spots) something in a bush and he draws the vehicle up nearer so we can get a look. He has spotted a Martial Eagle sitting on a leafy branch with its catch attached to the talons. He appears to be holding onto a small dik-dik (no laughing at the back!).

    The Martial Eagle or "Polemaetus Bellicosusne” for the more educated reader is one of the world's most powerful avian predators and, among African raptors, only the Crowned Eagle is comparable in predatory dominance. The Martial Eagle is an apex predator, being at the top of the avian food chain (not Macdonald's) in its environment and, if healthy has no natural predators. Although the flying range of the Martial and Crowned Eagles occasionally adjoin each other, the species have differing habitat preferences, with the Crowned Eagle preferring denser forests unlike the wooded savanna preferred by the Martial Eagle, a bit like crossing the river and entering into Essex. The two are not known to compete directly, but if there is a competition I am sure it will be live on Sky Sports.

    We drive around some more on the trail of the big five but don't manage to see any more, despite the best efforts of David. Back to the Intrepids in time for breakfast after the early start and a time to rest. It's been a busy few days and we are still on pirate alert!

    Too early in the morning for more new beers,

    more to follow…..

  • Day Five - Onwards towards Somalia and Samburu

    Part Two

    After crossing the Equator and confirming that the "acceleration of Danny Beer” theory is correct, and that beer does in fact travel down the throat in different directions when consumed either side of the Equator, we continued our journey northwards towards Samburu and Somalia. Descending down from the heights of Mount Kenya the temperature changes and the damp and rain are replaced by a more sunny and drier landscape and climate. The road is surfaced with tarmac but bumpy and full of holes and the Kenyan branch of Murphy's have put in speed humps so that when you go through town and villages you have to slow to a snail's pace. This gives the street side sellers the opportunity to sell their wares by trying to poke them through the windows of vehicles, even when the window is closed.

    Equator

    It is also interesting that there are themes to the street side sellers in that in one place they are all selling bananas as they are near plantations and the next they are all selling fish as they are near the river. I guess this truly expounds the thoughts of Adam Smith and his "Wealth of Nations” theories, as loved by a certain M Thatcher, and suggests that maybe the banana sellers should "get on their bike” and trade with the fish retailers rather than try and poke fish thorough the car windows?

    The Kenyan traffic cops have been pulling us over quite a few times on our journey. As we head north though we seem to get more checks, and at one point David our driver has to go and sign in to say that we are entering a certain region. Heading even further north we are flagged down by police and military, and David has a conversation with them in Kiswahili. As an intrepid explorer and fat yak hunter Danny Beer is fluent in many languages but Swahili is not one of them, as the best I can manage is kahuna matata, having learnt this from a Disney cartoon. David says that there is nothing to get concerned about but the gist of it seems to be that from next week we would need a police escort to travel through the next part of our journey. He says that the road we are travelling is being developed to travel straight through to the Somalia border and that this has raised security concerns due to the involvement of Kenya in Somalia.

    We arrive at the entrance to the Samburu National Park at around 5:00pm and David pays the entrance fee. He then lifts the roof on the vehicle and says that as it is dusk we are going to go on "a bit of an animal hunt" on the way to the Intrepids where we are staying. 

    It is an amazing experience when you are in the national parks in Kenya, where you are a guest in the animal's house and have to observe the etiquette of the animal kingdom. As the sun drops we scout around, with David on the look-out. He spots something and manoeuvres the vehicle across the bumpy terrain and we pull up and turn the engine off. Walking towards us is a lioness on the prowl. She strolls within two metres of where we are parked and decides to have a call of nature before heading back into the bush in search of something for tea, amazing!

    Lioness in Samburu

    We get to our accommodation at around 7:00pm in time for beer and a lecture, which members of the Samburu Tribe carry out with the aid of Powerpoint and a projector, which does seem a little weird in the middle of the jungle! The beer is Tusker, so no new beer to add to the list but a great day, although a long one with the travelling. We have a very nice a la carte meal in the restaurant, a couple more beers and retire like our predecessors Stanley and Livingstone for a good night's sleep.

    Ta Ta, or as they say here in Africa "kwa heri, kwa herini”

    Still no sign of the pirates but I think they are getting nearer as we head North!

    Danny Beer

  • Day Five – Thursday - Naivasha to Samburu - Part One

    We left early this morning on the advice of David our driver, as we have a long drive ahead of us as we travel up to Samburu. We skirt around Nairobi which is southbound and a bit weird and then head north through the Kenyan countryside. We travel through Ruiru, Thika, Makuyu, Nyeri, Nanyuki and Isiolo before reaching the national park at Samburu. According to the directions it is about 430km and a six hour journey.

    The journey is interesting, with a change of climates on the way, and a journey from one hemisphere to the other. On the way we cross the Equator Line and crossing the equator involves water going down the plug hole in different directions, of which I will explain more later in the blog. It also involves the discovery of new beers, which I think go down in the same direction regardless of the hemisphere? I could be wrong though, so maybe beer goes down the neck in different directions when you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere and is also subject to the Coriolis effect?

    We drive north towards Somalia, keeping a keen watch out for road pirates. We are travelling high above sea level and towards Mount Kenya, which is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa. The highest peaks of the Kenyan mountain are Batian
    (5,199 metres (17,057 ft)), Nelion (5,188 metres (17,021 ft)) and Point Lenana (4,985 metres (16,355 ft)), see you can learn GCSE Geography here! It's located in central Kenya, just south of the equator, around 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-northeast of the capital Nairobi. Mount Kenya is the source of the name of the Republic of Kenya and also the souce of the name for White Cap lager of which I find a bottle to consume on the way, along with a bottle of Snappy which is not really a beer but has alcohol and looks like beer so I am claiming it anyway. Beers nine and ten take your place on the Out of Africa list.

    I mentioned earlier about Corilolis and we stop on the Equator line where there are people with buckets of water and matchsticks who show you that the theories of Coriolis were in fact correct as the matchstick does spin around the water in different directions north and south of the equator line, so I am guessing the same is true of beer being consumed in similar circumstances.

    Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis published a paper in 1835 on the energy yield of machines with rotating parts, such as waterwheels. That paper considered the supplementary forces that are detected in a rotating frame of reference. Coriolis divided these supplementary forces into two categories. The second category contained a force that arises from the cross product of the angular velocity of a coordinate system and the projection of a particle's velocity into a plane perpendicular to the system's axis of rotation. Coriolis referred to this force as the "compound centrifugal force". The effect was known in the early 20th century as the "acceleration of Coriolis", and by 1920 as "Coriolis force", got that? I am thinking of publishing a similar paper about the direction that beer travels down the throat, the "acelleration of Danny Beer” and hope this will add a PHD to my many honours including the knighthood for services to beer.

    Ta Ta, or as they say here in Africa "kwa heri, kwa herini”, Part two to follow..........................

    Still no sign of the pirates but I think they are keeping a low profile for later.
    Danny Beer

  • Day Four – Wednesday - Crater Lake and Lake Naivasha

    Pretty Flamingo

    A day out today as we were collected by David our driver for a trip out to Crater Lake and then back round Lake Naivasha for lunch and beer searching at the Lake Naivasha Country Club.

    The journey to Crater Lake was about an hour and a half across some very rough roads. When we got there we had to pay an entrance fee to the park but it was worth the bob's.

    To get down into the crater, where the Crater Lake Lodge is situated, you have to go down 106 steps. Crater lakes are an interesting phenomenon, and form as the created depression within the crater rim is filled by water. The water may come from precipitation, groundwater circulation (often hydrothermal fluids in the case of volcanic craters) or melted ice. Its level rises until equilibrium is reached between the rate of incoming and outgoing water.

    http://youtu.be/-qsTwP_XFko

    We walked around the peak of the crater, which is navigated by looking out for painted white arrows pointing in the direction you need to travel. These are not always that easy to find but proved to be easier to find than new beers on this trip so far. When we reached the other side of the crater we descended down through the jungle type terrain and marshland, and walked along the edge of the lake looking out for crocodiles, although I am not that sure there were any in the lake! The lake is famous for its Pink Flamingo's and there are flocks of these sitting on top of the water and who pedal off across the water madly as you approach, doing their best not to have to use their wings to fly. It is a very beautiful location and well worth the visit, and the walk as the views from the top of the crater are beautiful, as are the views on the lake.
    Flamingo

    We eventually got back around to the lodge at the bottom of the 160 steps that we need to walk back up and decide that refreshments are required. Pilsener take your place on the Out of Africa in Eighty Beers list. Another one bites the dust as Freddy Mercury used to say, before he ended up doing the same himself! A word of warning if you do walk the crater, plenty of water, sun block and mosquito repellent is required.

    Pilsener
    After we had walked back up to the top we woke David who was having a nap in the Toyota and drove around the other side of Lake Naivasha back to the Naivasha Country Club. Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake outside the town of Naivasha in Nakuru County which lies north west of Nairobi. It is part of the Great Rift Valley and the name derives from the local Maasai name Nai'posha, meaning "rough water" because of the sudden storms which can arise.

    Between 1937 and 1950 the lake was used as a landing place for flying boats on the Imperial Airways passenger and mail route, from Southampton in Britain to South Africa and it linked Kisumu and Nairobi. Also Joy Adamson, the author of Born Free, lived on the shores of the lake in the mid-1960s. On the shores of the lake is the Djinn Palace, which gained notoriety in the Happy Valley days between the two world wars. It now forms part of the Oserian flower farm.

    A founder member of the Happy Valley Club and one of the first British settlers in East Africa, and a predecessor to the Right Honourable Danny Beer MBE for services to Beer Hunting, was the Rt. Hon. Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Baron Delamere (1870–1931), K.C.M.G. who is credited with helping form the Happy Valley set. Lord Delamere,also a member of the Happy Valley setmfirst travelled to East Africa in 1891 for lion hunting (rather than beer hunting,) and returned yearly to resume the hunt. In 1894 he was mauled by an attacking lion and as a result, he limped for the rest of his life. Serves him right if you ask me! He is also credited for coining the term "white hunter" although not the term "beer hunter”. In 1896 he moved to Africa and eventually settled in Kenya and in 1906 he acquired a large farm, the "Soysambu Ranch", which would eventually rise to 200,000 acres (810 km2). How the other half live eh!

    We end up for lunch at the Lake Naivasha Country Club which opened in 1937 as an intermediate staging post for Imperial Airways' flying boat (seaplane) service, travelling from Durban to London. Previously known as the "Lake Hotel" in the 1930 there were papyrus-thatched chalets but these have been replaced with a more modern structure. The place as with the area itself reeks of its colonial past at the (not so)) great days of the British Empire and in particular the white rule and apartheid in some parts of Africa.

    The Lake Naivasha Country Club is located on the opposite shore of Lake Naivasha from the town of Naivasha, Kenya. Built using old colonial architecture and opened in 1937, Lake Naivasha Country Club provides accommodation in rooms and cottages across 12 hectares (55 acres) of green lawns shaded by mature acacias and fever trees. The public rooms also display the British colonial style. The residents' lounge has a massive fireplace and large bay windows and the bar adjoins a snooker room, for playing billiards and drinking beer in the British tradition. Views from the club across Lake Naivasha are dominated by the shadow of Mount Longonot, 2,777 m (9,111 ft), a partly extinct volcano which, in 1983, was declared a Kenyan national park (52 km²).

    After a nice lunch and another new beer, Pilsener Ice its back to the house in Naivasha. When we get back it is a bit late to venture out so we go across to the club house and watch a movie about an Irish gangster and from that point onwards Jetlag refers to me as a potato eater!

    Pilsener-IceClubhouse
    So two new beers, which makes it eight found so far. 10% down already and the hunt for Red October continues (if there is an African beer called Red October!)

    Ta Ta, or as they say here in Africa "kwa heri, kwa herini”

    Still no sign of the pirates but I think they are keeping a low profile for later.
    Danny Beer

  • Day Three – Tuesday – Naivasha

    Buffalo Soldier, Dreadlock Rasta

    A chill out day after all the travelling but still a chance to hunt out new beers! As we have no internet access we decide to walk down to the Great Rift Valley Golf and Country Club to use their Wi fi and search their bar.

    The club is about three hundred yards (one hundred metres?) down the unmade road in the opposite direction from the Cow Shed Off Licence. There is a manned security gate that we have to pass to get into the club but we are fine as they recognise us after we were introduced on the way in.

    They have a magnificent golf course here (although I don't play the game) and they have zebras and Bambi's, and a bit like Charlton warthogs grazing around the golfers. More importantly they also have a new beer, White Cap lager, so White Cap takes its place on the Out of Africa list. I make that beer #6 so just another 74 to go!

    White-Cap-Lager

    We have to leave the club before it gets dark at around 5:30PM. What reason would DB have to leave a bar so early I bet you are thinking to yourself? Well the unmade road between the Club and our house for the next few days is in the middle of wild buffalo country. We are fine during the day when they are sleeping but at dusk and during the night this is a no go area unless we are in a vehicle. So we head back to the house and the remaining bottles left in the cow shed crate.

    Buffalo-Road

           Ta Ta, or as they say here in Africa
           "kwa heri, kwa herini”

           Still no sign of the pirates!

            Danny Beer

  • Day Two – Sunday -Nairobi to Naivasha

    Jambo

    The distance between Nairobi and our second destination is just over 90 kilometres, and as I was brought up using miles as a measurement of distance, Jetlag has advised me to divide by 0.621371192, which is easy for me using my abacus and slide rule!

    Not far, I bet you are thinking? But you are probably not taking into account the roads here in East Africa. The traffic moves slowly at best, even on the semi-decent roads, and with traffic overtaking in all lanes it's a bit of a nightmare. You have to negotiate all types of vehicle, including push bikes loaded high, donkey (Carlton) drawn carts, mopeds with at least three people travelling on them, lorries that look long past their sell by date, and buses that pull over at a moment's notice looking for passengers. The traffic issue is further exasperated by the traffic cops, who seem to make the traffic jams worse rather than better, with their constant arm waving and whistle blowing.

    We leave at around 10:30AM after breakfast at the Boulevard, and I was expecting a two hour journey, but this ends up taking around four hours, the last of which is on an unmade road. We are travelling to Naivasha to stay for a few days at Jetlag's sister Rita's place. We also have David, our driver for the rest of the week until Sunday.

    We travel through Kikuyu, Limuru Town, Karagita and skirt around Hell's Gate National Park before reaching Naivasha where we are staying until Thursday morning. Naivasha was originally grazing ground for the Masai, until they were displaced by European settlers at the turn of the 20th Century, a familiar tale if you read any of my earlier posts from the World beer hunt. On the way we stop at a viewpoint for the Rift Valley, which is where Jetlag said my ancestors were originally from, and there was me thinking they were from Kerry in the Republic of Ireland! On a clear day you can see Tanzania but today it is a bit overcast although hot, so visibility is not that great.

    We arrived at our accommodation for the next three days in Naivasha at around 3:00PM and the search for new beers continued. I explained to David our driver about the current beer hunt and he originally said eight beers should be easy. I think that maybe something got a lost in translation as when I said eighty David laughed for quite a while. We are staying in one of eight beautiful houses on a large enclosed plot next to the Great Rift Valley Lodge and Resort, which is built on the Eburru, a mountain that the Masai call Ol Donyo Opurru, meaning Mountain of Smoke. We have great views of Lake Naivasha from the house and can watch the sun rise and set on across the lake.

    Jetlag's brother in law Yogesh has told me that there is an off licence on a farm in a cow shed, and that we should go and find this and see if there are any new beers to be had, so off we go! Best to get our priorities right.

    The "off licence” is indeed on a farm, in a shed, and we wait around while dogs come sniffing and geese come pecking, until a nice lady comes and unlocks the door to the barn. In the barn there is an array of wines and spirits, but not a great selection of beers. I do however find one to add to the list, which is Tusker Pilsener Malt, so beer number five makes the "Out of Africa” list.

    I buy a crate of twelve bottles of Tusker and twelve bottles of Tusker Pilsener Malt, to get me through the next few days, as Naivasha is about an hour's bone shaking drive away. The crate costs 3000 Kenya shillings (bobs), which is around 90 pence a bottle, and as the Tusker is in 500 ml bottles this makes them a bargain. You also have to pay a deposit of 800 bob's (sounds like Black Adder) which are refundable when you return the bottles.

    Tusker Beer 

    So day two comes to an end, and if I were counting beers rather than new beers I would be well on my way, but as only discovering new beers count "Out of Africa", at the end of day two only five beers discovered and twelve days to go. Oh dear!

    Ta Ta, still on the lookout for pirates,
    Pirates on starboard bow

    Danny Beer

  • A bit of a close shave but Danny Beer is OK

    A bit of an incident here in Nairobi but DB, Jetlag and Pam are all OK
    Ta Ta
    Danny B

  • Day One – London to Nairobi

    I have left WLR at home and swapped it for Jetlag and Pam, who are travelling with me this time, so it’s an upmarket Danny Beer that is leaving Heathrow Terminal 5 this morning, as Jetlag don’t do rough!

    According to the departure announcements, Flight BA0065 is boarding, so I have to rush out of JD Wetherspoons with just two beers to take away from the total of eighty, Stella Artois and Heineken. I won’t bother with loading a foto foto of these as you should all know what they look like.
    Arriving at the gate we find that the flight has been delayed for just over an hour. Thanks BA, not the World’s favourite airline at the moment! The 80 beer challenge is going to be difficult enough without you making the challenge harder. There were at least ten beers I could have added from Wetherspoon’s, but I guess they may not have let me on the flight if I had risen to this particular challenge.

    The lovely drinks lady (better not to call her a trolley dolly in these days of political correctness) did at least help BA make a small contribution by offering me a can of Tiger beer, so there you are, Stella Artois, Heineken and (you want?)Tiger beer, three down, seventy seven to go! Clearly “Mission Impossible”, but as ever rising to a challenge, Danny Beer is going to give it his best shot.

    We land at the charred remains of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and are loaded onto coaches. I am glad at this stage that I used the toilets on the airplane, as I don’t fancy joining the queue for the four portaloo’s, two for men and two for ladies, sited next to the coach boarding place. I also glance at the soldiers standing around, armed with large machine guns. I guess news of DB’s arrival and the possible kidnap threat by the Somali Pirates has reached the Kenyan authorities, who are maybe considering using a different tactic than the canoes this time! This seems to have placed the airport on Red Alert, shame it wasn’t the same when the fire started.

    We are transported around to some large tents that could have been purchased from a B&Q superstore, and these are being used for Passport Control. Having already procured our visas, we are shown into the “Diplomats” queue, which is quite short, compared to the other long queues of people who need to get a visa, or who don’t have the diplomatic status of Danny Beer. The queue is moving nicely until the people in front of us decide to start calling all their friends from other queues to join them, most of whom have ignored the request on the airplane to fill in their visa request forms. Worse still they only appear to have one pen between them!

    As the other queues dissipate around us we find that we are waiting the longest to clear Passport Control, with only a few people left behind in the same queue as us. Finally getting the stamp on our passports we exit the B&Q tent and cross a road to enter Baggage Control, where we find a few bags going round and round on the single conveyor (not including our bags) and a horde of people trying to go through a small funnel type exit, only really large enough for one, with one Immigration Official insisting on checking everyone’s passport, just in case they have crawled under the B&Q tent.

    We find our bags, which have been conveniently placed at different spots around the hall and we join the queue to get through Immigration. Actually “joining the queue” is probably not the best description as this now resembles the Pamplona Bull Run without the bulls!

    I manage to walk straight through Immigration and Customs by ignoring any requests to stop, but Pam and Jetlag are called back to show that they have valid visa’s, passports and are not trying to smuggle any fire extinguishers into the country!

    We find our transfer into Nairobi and the Semtrim Boulevard Hotel, arriving just before midnight, and in time for a bottle of Kenya’s finest Tusker Beer.
    Day one of fourteen, four beers down, seventy six to go, it’s looking like it might be easier for England to win the World Cup in Brazil than it will be for DB to meet this challenge!

    Ta Ta, or as they say here in Africa “kwa heri, kwa herini”
    Danny Beer

  • Out of Africa, being chased by Pirates, in 80 Beers, the journey continues…..

    Stanley meets Livingstone, Danny meets Beer. The African journey....

    Day One – leave Terminal 5 Heathrow on Flight BA0065 to Jomo Kenyatta Airport (or what’s left of it). Overnight in the Boulevard Hotel Nairobi. Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Two – After breakfast (no beer this early) at 10:30AM transfer to Lower Kabette Road to pick up supplies. Transfer by safari van for some chill days in Naivasha after travelling through the Rift Valley. Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Three – Venture out around Naivasha and search for beer supplies, whist keeping security at level 11 in case of pirates. Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Four – Trip to Mt. Longonot, Lake Naivasha or Crater Lake, after checking Google Beer Maps for the best hunting location! Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Five – Last day in Naivasha. Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Six – After breakfast (no beer) transfer on road to Samburu. Game drive in the afternoon, beer drive in the evening. Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible..

    Day Seven – The search for the big five (animals not beers) in the day and beers (not animals) in the night. Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Eight – Transfer to The Ark. Build the bar, the animals will come. Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Nine – Back to the capital Nairobi in search of more beers… Watch out for pirates, find and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Ten – Back to what’s left of Jomo Kenyatta for a flight to Moi International Airport, Mombasa. Off to the coast and the challenge gets harder here. Keep looking left towards Somali, start to keep an even more beady out for pirates and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Eleven – After breakfast (maybe beer – All Inclusive!) more beer hunting, Maybe try a trip on the Tamarind Dhow in the evening? Not sure though, if five or six of them in two canoes can hijack this, what chance will Danny, call me Karen, Beer have on the Dhow? Advice:Still keep looking left towards Somali, start to keep an even more beady out for pirates and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Twelve – The clock ticks on and Mombassa, which unlike Nairobi has a much larger Muslim community, at this point it may be time to panic (about beer not pirates!). Still keep looking left towards Somali, start to keep an even more beady out for pirates and drink as many different beers as possible.

    Day Thirteen – The last day, leave Mombassa tonight to travel back to what’s left of Jomo Kenyatta, count the total and fail dismally? No point in keep looking left now, and can put the ransom back in the bank account in eleven hours, if it hasn’t been spent all ready on beer or ransom!

    Day Fourteen – If the plane has taken off from what’s left of Jomo you will find out if Danny, call me Karen, Beer has joined the list of intrepid explorers (and fat yak hunters) to discover the real Africa!

    A different trip, a harder challenge? Out of Africa in 80 Beers.

    Two weeks, eighty beers will Danny, call me Karen, Beer make it………

    Don’t forget, all beers count on this one!

    Ta Ta

    Danny (Call me Karen) Beer

  • Out of Africa being chased by pirates in 80 beers

    BA0065 to Kenyatta (burn baby burn) airport.

    80 beers in two weeks. Clearly impossible, but DB is always up for a challenge!

    Will he spot the "big five"? With two weeks and 80 to go anything counts.

    So Stella Artois and Heineken take your place on the African list (applause)

    Just gotta watch out for those Somali Pirates!

    Happy beer hunting,

    Ta Ta

    Danny Beer

  • Faulty Towers - The dining experience

    If you get the chance go and see Faulty Towers - the dining experience. Currently showing at the Charing Cross Hotel. It really is a magical two hours plus of laughter and entertainment, especially for those who love Fawlty Tower and it includes a three course meal.

    Danny Beer recommends you go see, but don't mention the war, I did once, but I think I got away with it!

  • Three years ago

    Danny BeerGot my invite to Beervana in Wellington NZ this morning, all hail the ale! Wondering what I was up to three years ago?

  • Happy Anniversary

    Blimey O'Reilly

    Flight BA878 9:30am from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to St Petersburg - Pulkovo 2 Terminal.

    Three years ago today! Time to bring WLR out of the cupboard?

    Happy travelling!

    Danny Beer, intrepid explorer and beer hunter
    All Aboard

  • The Beer Hunter Game

    Here's a game you may enjoy playing?

    Buy a tinnie six pack of your favourite beer, maybe VB or even something more exotic like Fiji ,and invite a few friends around. Before they arrive take one can and shake it up real bad. When they arrive get one of them to stay in the room alone and mix up the cans. Then the fun begins. You can re-enact that famous scene from the Michael Cimino film where Christopher Walken's character plays Russian Roulette as each person attempts to open the can without incident.

    Have fun, but be careful, alchohol comsumption can damage your health, especially your eyes!

  • RIP Christchurch Cathedral

    Heard on the news today that the cathedral in Christchurch has been condemned. This is it pre and post Danny Beer -Nothing to do with me!
    Cathedral Post Danny BeerChristchurch Cathedral

  • Numero Uno on Google!

    Crikey

    Danny Beer is numero uno on Google, how good is that?

    Ta Ta

    Danny Beer #1 on Google

  • Finally the book of my trip around the world

    Danny Beer at Beijing Railway Station
    Click the picture above or the link below and select preview to view a copy of the diary book of my trip

    "Around the World in Eighty Beers" by Danny Beer

    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/1643944/934da1c783c43f0c1525a62542ed0950

    Kindle and Ipad copies to follow when I have finished them!

    Happy Reading

    Ta Ta

  • Happy Anniversary

    One year to the day that I landed back in the UK after discovering eighty beers around the world. Who could believe that? Thanks again to the people I met and who helped me.

    Where next? Watch this space,

    Ta Ta

    Danny Beer

  • Ten Thousand Page Views!

    blogstatsWow

    Ten thousand pages of my blog "Around the World in 80 beers" have now been viewed since I started writing the diary of my world trip back in Ma 2009, amazing or what!

    Ta Ta and thanks for reading

    Danny Beer

  • Happy New Beer

    Happy New Beer

    Four Ex Man

    Ta Ta
    Danny Beer

  • Around the World in 80 Beers - Beers 9 to 1

    Around the World in 80 beers!

    Here it is the final 9 beers of the 8o consumed by Danny Beer on his trip around the World.

    Beer #9 to beer numero uno, numero um,nummer een, номер один, beer #1...

    Fiji
    Beer #9 Fiji Draught
    Beer #8 South Pacific Export
    Beer #7 Fiji Gold

    Samoa
    Beer #6 Vailama Lager Beer

    Hawaii
    Beer #5 Longboard Island Lager
    Beer #4 Red Stripe Jamaican Lager

    San Francisco
    Beer #3 Anchor Summer Beer
    Beer #2 Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    and beer #1 and the 80th beer around the World....

    Tusker Beer, Kenya's finest consumed in Tommy's Joynt, San Francisco
    beers 9 to 1

    Ta ta

    Danny Beer

  • Around the World in 80 Beers - Beers 24 to 10

    Around the World in 80 Beers!

    New Zealand

    Beer numbers 24 to 10

    Beer #24 TUI Brewed since 1889
    Beer #23 Stein Lager Pure
    Beer #22 Monteiths Lively Pilsener
    Beer #21 Summit Lager
    Beer #20 Dux Lager
    Beer #19 Propeller Lager
    Beer #18 Mangatainoka Draft
    Beer #17 Canterbury Wards Beer
    Beer #16 Harringtons - The Rogue Hop
    Beer #15 Toot and Whistle Natural Ale
    Beer #14 Macs Gold Draught
    Neer #13 Molly's Ale
    Beer #12 Green Man Lager Organic
    Beer #11 Weka Native Lager
    Beer #10 Lion Red Beer

    Beers 24 to 10

    Danny Beer doesn't usually do requests but just for Jetlag here is the bottle with the red top in a brown paper bag:

    Beer in a bag

    Ta ta

    Danny Beer

  • Around the World in 80 Beers - Beers 49 to 25

    Around the World in 80 Beers!

    Australia

    Beer numbers 49 to 25

    Beer #49 Tooheys New 5%
    Beer #48 Pure Blonde
    Beer #47 Castlemaine XXXX Gold
    Beer #46 Hahn Super Dry
    Beer #45 Crown Lager
    Beer #44 VB - Victoria Bitter
    Beer #43 James Boag's Premium
    Beer #42 Cascade Premium Light
    Beer #41 Stone & Wood - Handcrafted
    Beer #40 Carbine Stout - Since 1924
    Beer #39 Blue Tongue Premium
    Beer #38 Good Bastards
    Beer #37 Barons Lager
    Beer #36 Beez Neez
    Beer #35 Resch's Beer
    Beer #34 Melbourne Bitter
    Beer #32 Kilkenny Draft
    Beer #31 Gage Roads Premium Lager
    Beer #30 Lemom Myrtle Witbier Draught
    Beer #29 Little Creatures Bright Ale
    Beer #28 Bohemian Pilsener Hand Crafted
    Beer #27 Bondi Blonde Low Carb
    Beer #26 Schwartz Brewery Dark Bier
    Beer #25 Skinny Blonde

    beer 50 to 25

    Ta ta

    Danny Beer


  • Around the World in 80 Taxis?

    I wasn't going to write much more but after getting home last night and watching a TV programme on BBC1 called "Around the World in 80 Days" I felt that I had to put pen to paper or rather finger to keyboard.

    I was flicking through the TV channels and recognised a carriage from the Trans Siberian Railway and thought to myself "that all looks a bit familiar"! The programme is a part of the BBC's Children in Need campaign and features(!) two people called Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker (ever heard of them?) who are apparently Countryfile hosts and possible ex Blue Peter presenters (it all becomes clear now).

    The Sky Plus info informs me that "celebreties re enact Jules Verne's literary odyssey for Children in Need. Can Matt and Julia travel 3700 miles overland to China in just 14 days?"

    What do you reckon the outcome will be then?

    They are apparently taking the third leg of the journey overland to China via Lake Baikal in Siberia, and Mongolia, a journey very similar to part of my world trip, but in my case without the taxis, translators and PA support afforded to our brave and intrepid travellers.

    Picture 144Picture 544Trans Siberian Station 3Trans Siberian 54

    It brought back some fond memories. The Russia and Siberian train stations and Trans Siberian train carriages were very familiar although I doubt that Matt and Julia had to sleep with one eye open and their version of WLR chained up to a non movable part of the carriage! They seem to have had similar delays and encountered the same bureaucracy as me crossing the border from Russia to Mongolia. They did not however show any of the numerous temperature checks you have to undertake before being allowed to cross the border, but maybe this was politically sensitive or perhaps BBC presenters are exempted?

    At one point they missed their train connection but luckily they were in a hired vehicle so they could use that to race on and catch up with the train at a later station on route (easy peasy eh!) and certainly Danny Beer was never invited up to the train drivers seat and allowed to press the horn button. I think if I had attempted to speak with the train driver I may have been shot or at least placed in handcuffs and been escorted from the train by the militia.

    In Siberia they travelled across Lake Baikal but missed out a visit to Olkhom Island which is one of the most beautiful places on Earth (in my opinion) and instead opted to film a little slot of them bathing in the cold waters of the Lake, what a waste.

    Similar to me, Matt and Julia went on a horse riding expedition (yep siree they say Choo instead of giddy up in Mongolia pardner!) but I notice that they didn't seem to get the derisory comments and laughs that Danny Beer had to put up with following his horse riding expedition, but perhaps that's because they were doing it for charidee?

    Matt and Julia, like me, tasted Mongolian tea (yuk disgusting), and we both spent a night in Gers in the middle of the Mongolian wilderness (but obviously not together) and there was no mention on the programme of the lack of toilet and washing facilities and the need to use the hole that has been dug as a replacement for the toilet.

    But the most ridiculous part of the programme for me was the scenario that the two people they were going to hand over the baton to had problems getting a Chinese visa so they had to meet at the Chenggis Statue instead. Getting the Mongolian and Chinese visa's was a pretty simple process, especially when compared to the Russian visa. You just make an online appointment and pop up to London with your valid passport, two passport photos and the seventy five pound fee and pop back a week later to collect the passport with the visa now stuck inside one of your passport pages so quite how the massive resources of the BBC could not manage this is beyond me, or maybe the television shot is much better if the handover takes place on top of the Chenggis statue (you cynic Danny Beer!).

    Danny at Ghenggis Khan Statue 9Ghenggis Khan Statue 14
    It was good to watch the programme as it did bring back lots of good memories but I notice that Matt and Julia made no attempt whatsoever to discover any new beers on their journey! Not even for charity.

    Ghenngis Khan Statue

    Ta ta

    Danny Beer

  • Around the World in 80 Beers - Beers 62 to 50

    Around the World in 80 beers.......in order of discovery!

    Japan
    Beer #62 Heartland Beer
    Beer #61 Asahi Beer

    China (Shanghai)
    Beer #60 Reeb Light
    Beer #59 Yanjing Beer

    Macau
    Beer #58 Haizhu Beer

    Hong Kong
    Beer #57 Kingway Shenzhen Brewery Co
    Beer #56 Blue Ice Beer - Ice Filtered

    Malaysia
    Beer #55 Anchor Strong Beer
    Beer # 54 Jaz Beer

    Singapore
    Beer #53 Chang Beer = Product of Thailand

    Indonesia
    Beer #52 Bintang Pilsener

    Singapore
    Beer #51 Haywards 5000 India's Premier Beer
    Beer #50 Knock Out India's 7.2% Beer!

    Beers 62 to 50

    Ta ta

    Danny Beer

  • Around the World in 80 Beers - Beers 65 to 63

    Around the World in 80 beers!

    China

    Beer 65 Tsingtao Draft
    Beer 64 Suntory
    Beer 63 Snow Beer

    beers 65-63

    Around the world in 80 beers


    Ta ta

    Danny Beer

  • Around the World in 80 Beers - Beers 68 to 66

    Around the World in 80 beers!

    Mongolia

    Beer 68 - Boptno - Since 1927
    Beer 67 - Aatah JoBb Beer
    Beer 66 - Chinggis Beer

    Beers 68- 66

    China tomorrow

    Ta ta

    Danny Beer

  • Around the World in 80 Beers - Beers 75 to 69

    Around the World in 80 Beers!

    The countdown continues.....

    beers 74-69

    Russia - Trans Siberian Railway and Siberia:

    Beer 75 - Xkhboe
    Beer 74 - T Cebetnoe
    Beer 73 - Oxata Kpenko 8%
    Beer 72 - Cmaplain Meribhuck Cbetnade
    Beer 71 - Kanhckoe Cbetnade
    Beer 70 - The beer with no name
    Beer 69 - Cngnpckar Kopoha (Siberian Star)

    Ta ta to Russian Beers....

    Trans Mogolian

    Ta ta again
    Danny Beer


  • Around the World in Eighty Beers - Beers 80 to 75

    Around the World in Eighty Beers!

    The countdown begins!

    Russia - St Petersburg and Moscow:

    Beer 80 - Baitjhika
    Beer 79 - Belle Vue Kriek
    Beer 78 - Kozel Zal 1874
    Beer 77 - Krusovich Beer
    Beer 76 - Heckboe

    Beers 80 to 75


    Ta ta
    Danny Beer

  • Day #137 - Thursday 8 October 2009

    Take me home country roads (again)!

    Hotdogs for breakfast and a few beers in DJ Reynolds, where we end up chatting to Gary who is in New Yawk for business. His trade is a clothes designer and he has designed clothes for a number of companies including GAP and Pringle. Gary very kindly buys us a round of drinks and when we have finished chatting we head back to the Wellington to retrieve our bags. Pam and Norman are flying Virgin out of Newark and I am flying BA out of JFK and I am due to arrive back to Heathrow about two hours earlier than them.


    A pretty uneventful flight home and although WLR was over 23 kilos this was not questioned by the check in staff. It's a seven hour overnight flight and the time difference is five hours so by the time I land back in London my body does not really know what time of the day or day of the week it is. The flight arrives half an hour early which is bl**dy typical as I have to wait for Pam and Norman's plane to arrive at Terminal 3 Heathrow.

    A Picadilly Line, District Line and finally Jubilee Line to North Greenwich mark (nearly) the end of my travels and the final stage is thanks to my brother Steve who picks me up at North Greenwich and drops me home.

    It is a bit strange when I walk in the front door for the first time in months but I will be able to once again sleep in my own bed, won't have to lock up my stuff (or maybe I will?) and I once again have the opportunity to get on Pam's nerves live and direct and in person rather than from a mobile phone or internet connection.

    I will have been on the road now for 138 days, I will have been through 38 cities in 14 countries, travelled 32,000 miles and tasted over eighty new beers from around the world..........

    And now I am back home and my journey is over. I will be doing a couple more blog posts to detail the beers and thank some of the people that I have met and have helped me on my travels.

    Below are details of my trip with the mileage to show that I have travelled 32,000 miles around the World.

    Finally, if you have enjoyed reading my blog thanks and my name is Danny Beer and if you haven't enjoyed it then my name is Michael Palin and why are you still here?

    Around the world

    Ta ta and yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaa for nearly the last time!!!!!

    Danny Beer

    My Journey:

    Journey

    Miles

    London to St Petersburg

    1300

    St Petersburg to Moscow

    393

    Moscow to Irkustk

    2609

    Irkustk to Ulan Bator

    324

    Ulan Bator to Beijing

    1008

    Beijing to Shanghai

    677

    Shanghai to Osaka

    847

    Osaka to Tokyo

    250

    Tokyo to Hiroshima

    513

    Hiroshima to Tokyo

    513

    Tokyo to Osaka

    250

    Osaka to Shanghai

    847

    Shanghai to Hong Kong

    764

    Hong Kong to Macau

    38

    Macua to Hong Kong

    38

    Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur

    1563

    Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi

    252

    Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur

    252

    Kuala Lumpur to Singapore

    197

    Singapore to Batam

    16

    Batam to Singapore

    16

    Singapore to Cairns

    3123

    Cairns to Brisbane

    866

    Brisbane to Sydney

    454

    Sydney to Christchurch

    1329

    Christchurch to Wellington

    189

    Wellington to Auckland

    306

    Auckland to Nadi (Fiji)

    1312

    Nadi to Samoa

    719

    Samoa to Hawaii

    2607

    Hawaii to San Francisco

    2395

    San Francisco to New Yawk

    2570

    New Yawk to London

    3463

    Total

    32,000

  • Day #136 – Wednesday 7 October 2009

    Eating burnt toast and drinking black black coffee!

    Hot dogs again for breakfast today and to complement the hotdogs we get a latte from Tim Horton’s. This involves a trip down to the store on Fifth Avenue to get a mega large bucket of milky coffee for me and smaller buckets for Pam and Norman. Pam and I also went to the supermarket to get some orange juice and when we were there we were asked by the lady on the checkout whether we were from Texas? I must have acquired (or maybe it was Pam?) some sort of southern drawl as I was not dressed like Woody in Toy Story. We informed the nice lady on the checkout that we were from Lundahn, Engerland not Hooston Texaaaas.

    After the two hotdog breakfast it’s a day of “shopping til we am dropping” when we visit the worlds largest department store, Macy’s, as they say everything is bigger in the “youessofa”. After Macy’s we go in search of some underwear for a friend which you can only get in New Yawk, and after being defeated in 21st Century Store we try the SoHo district, or South of Hooston District if you come from around these parts. We did find a store selling the brand but not the pants that were required so at that point we gave up the search for underwear. We then we went for a walk through Little Italy, which proved disappointing not only for the lack of Tony Soprano’s, but also for the lack of decent affordable food and rather stroppy waiters, and then Greenwich Village before heading back to the Wellington.

    Before Pam and Norman arrived in New Yawk I managed to get tickets for “Amateur Night at the Apollo” and the last show of the season and also the grand final. The Apollo is right in the centre of Harlem and when we arrived there were large queues of people waiting to get in. The show began at 7:30pm and started with a warm up pro singer. This was followed by some audience participation where people from the audience are dragged, or in the case of the Japanese girls run, up on stage and then have to perform a dance routine after which the audience applaud the loudest for their favourite dancer who wins a T shirt.

    After this there are two “stars of tomorrow” on stage a young girl dancer and a saxophonist and then the real competition begins. The rules are that each act takes the stage and if the audience like them fine, but if not they start to boo and if the booing gets loud enough a guy comes on the stage dressed up as different people, including a policeman and a sheriff, and herds them off the stage before they finish their act. The first few acts are fine but then a dancing couple takes the stage and last about two minutes before they get booed off stage. The MC and compere is a professional comedian and is very funny although he does have the American dress sense and takes the stage in the second half as a very loud red outfit. He does do a very funny routine of different races performing including, Jamaicans, Africans and Japanese.

    After the interval a fake Stevie Wonder does a song and then the rest of the acts take the stage. In the end it is won by a white lady from Brooklyn who has a very good voice and sings a love song that I can’t remember the name of. After the show we go back to D J Reynolds for a drink and then the Happy Hour at the deli for our $4 pints of domestic lager.

    Apollo Theatre 4

    Ta ta to New Yawk. Tomorrow I am leaving on a jet plane and don’t know when I’ll be back again!
    Danny

  • Day #135 - Tuesday 6 October 2009

    Hotdogs for breakfast! What a **** Liberty.

    It’s a big Ta Ta to Nic and Chris as they head back to Mooseland this morning having checked out of their hotel, which means it is also a big Ta Ta to free internet access. We are still trying to find a decent breakfast here in the Big Banana and we have settled on a diet of two hotdogs with red sauce, mustard and onions. We get these at the hotdog stall just up from the Wellington and they are only $1 at this stall, whereas at most other stalls they seem to be $2, so they are a bargain, and you know how I like my bargains!

    Our plan today is to take the ferry out to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The ferry is $12 for both islands and you have to go through airport type security before you board the ferry. All wallets, jackets, watches, metal objects and shoes have to be removed for scanning and in the end you think it will be easier just to strip naked and walk through the security scanner! There is a particularly obnoxious American woman in front of us that was refusing to remove her watch and I know what I would have told her to do with it if I were the security personnel.

    Statue of Liberty 11Statue of Liberty

    We eventually get to board the ferry and take the fifteen minute trip to “La Liberté Éclairant le Monde" and we decide to stay on and head straight to Ellis Island as the best views of the statue are from the ferry.

    norman & statue 3

    The immigration station at Ellis Island opened on January 1 1892. Five years later the wooden structure burned down, along with many immigration records. On 17 December 1900 a new fireproof building welcomed 2,251 new arrivals.

    Ferries and barges brought “steerage” passengers out to Ellis Island from Steamships (the First and Second Class passengers were quickly processed on board the ship.) Doctors watched as immigrants entered the building and climbed the stairs; a limp, laboured breathing, or other suspected troubles warranted further medical examination. In the Registry Room inspectors questioned each individual. Included among the 29 questions were name, home town, occupation, destination and amount of money they were carrying. Those allowed to stay in the “youessofa” continued downstairs, exchanged money, bought provisions and perhaps rail tickets. A third stayed in New Yawk. Only one to two percent were denied entry but this is still quite a large figure as between 1901 and 1910 six million immigrants were processed at Ellis Island.

    On the Island they have the American Family Immigration History Center and here, and online you can search the ship passenger records for arrival in the Port of New Yawk and Ellis Island from 1892 – 1924. There are over 3.5 million manifest pages available so I took the opportunity to search for any of my ancestors that may have preceded my epic journey in search of Eighty Beers from around the World and guess what, on Nov 9, 1912, Daniel Beer arrived on the Pannonia which sailed from Hungary’s port of Fiume. Now I bet you are thinking to yourself “Danny Beer is making this up! There is no way that Danny Beer’s long lost cousin could have pre-empted his epic journey around the World looking for 80 beers"!

    Well I kid you not and if you don’t believe me here is a copy of the manifest entry:
    ellisisland

    and if you think that I have faked the manifest go to www.ellisisland.org and search for Daniel Beer.

    Now Hungary to New Yawk in the “Youessofa” is not exactly a trip around the World, so Daniel did not quite manage to emulate his distant cousin Danny but it's still a long journey to undertake, especially knowing that all that is waiting at the other end is Budwater and Muller Light. A massive "big up" and “nuff respect” to my long lost cousin for undertaking the epic journey which was such a long time before my own:

    96 years, 10 months and 27 days ago or;

    849,480 hours ago or;

    50, 968, 800 minutes ago or;

    3,058,128,000 seconds ago.

    I wonder how many beers Daniel managed to discove before he arrived in New Yawk!

    In the evening we went to visit Pam’s aunt who lives in Da Bronx, and we had a very nice meal and Auntie got upset with Pam for eating most of her homemade hot pepper sauce! We also met Auntie’s daughter Jenifer who is now Principal Skinner at PS46 School Edgar Allen Poe. Back to the Wellington and our last full day in New Yawk tomorrow,

    Ta Ta and take a minute to remember those that have gone before us

    Danny

  • Day #134 – Monday 5 October 2009

    Who has got the upper hand?

    After using the free internet at Nic's hotel today was then devoted to a day of more sightseeing and shopping around the Big Banana. We went to FAO Schwarz the famous toy store with the floor piano as featured in the film Big with Tom Hanks (I think Hamleys is much better).

    Nic and Toy Soldier

    We went to Tifanny’s not for breakfast though. Norman wanted to get some stuff to take back home as gifts and we went to the Disney store and posed with Mickey and Minnie before heading off to Grand Central Station, which only seems to have local trains running from it. As it was a lovely sunny day so we also had a walk around Central Park.

    The Chuckle Brothers:
    Two Muppets!

    In the evening Nic and Chris have a “pizza nite in” so we went for some food in an Irish pub called DJ Reynolds and then ended up at the Happy Hour at the deli where pints are $4 and cocktails $5 until 2:00am. They also have the largest bottles of Heineken I have ever seen!

    Danny & Heineken

    The “guess beer #80” competition was my most successful one to date with over three entries, but unfortnately none of them were correct! My clue was that I have mentioned the name of this beer very early on at the start of my trip but had not consumed it until I got to San Francisco. The other clue I gave to Jetlag was that he more than anyone should guess the name of the beer!

    Day #1 St Petersburg - 26 May 2009

    I left Heathrow on a BA flight and arrived safely at Pulkova 2 Airport. In the true spirit of Around the World in 80 beers I packed my Fosters flip flops and wore my Tusker Export (Kenyan Beer) T Shirt.
    Yep, In Tommy’s Joynt, Van Ness at Geary Street, San Francisco, Youessofa, I found beer #80 on my trip around the World – Tusker Beer, brewed and bottled by East African Breweries Ltd, P O Box 30161 00100 Nairobi, Kenya.
    Tommys Joynttommysjoynt

    A very fitting beer to make beer number 80 on my list as it brings back so many memories of my previous trip to Kenya!

    Tusker Beer in Tommys Joynt 2Tusker Beer in Tommys Joynt 3Danny at Shaman Pole Mongolia

    I can sleep easy tonight knowing that I hanve achieved my goal and commiserations to those that entered the competition but were unsuccessful!

    Ta ta

  • Day #133– Sunday 4 October 2009

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s

    We decided to look for somewhere to get a decent breakfast before Nic and Chris arrive later today. Finding a decent breakfast in New Yawk is not the easiest of tasks and I think we failed miserably today.

    Norman went for a walk earlier and he was give a coupon for Planet Hollywood which gave us a free coffee, tea or orange with a breakfast, so we thought we would try this out. Breakfast at Planet Hollywood finished at 10:45am and we arrived at 10:40am but they still said we could get a breakfast so we were shown to our table, and then left there for about twenty minutes whilst the staff either stood around chatting to each other or were clearing the tables ready for lunch. So we waited, and waited and waited (which is more than the staff were doing) and in the end asked someone to serve us. They went away and we waited a bit more and then someone finally turned up. We ordered two “Full English” breakfasts plus one "Planet" Breakfast.

    The food eventually turned up and most of the contents on our plates were cold. We had nothing like milk or cream for our coffee or sugar/sweetener and ended up borrowing some from another table. There were no serviettes and we asked someone else to bring us some and they eventually arrived.

    At this point the waitress came across and asked us if everything was OK and I bet you can guess what the answer was, a big no, nyet, nej, non, nein, nada, oxi, or bu, depending on what your native language is. The waitress looked at us blankly for a minute and walked off. We scratched our heads and thought “so much for the excellent customer service in the “youessofa’, "New Yawk" and particularly "Planet Hollwood”.

    About ten minutes later a guy appears at our table and says that he is the manager and what did we want to see him about? We mentioned that we didn’t actually ask to see him but while he was here we took the opportunity to point out the discrepancies in the service and the meal. He listened to our complaints and then asked US to TELL HIM what he could do for us. Norman suggested that maybe HE should be telling US what he could do for us, but said that maybe if he knocked the cheaper of the three breakfasts from the bill that would help. He went away and came back a few minutes later and had knocked one of the breakfasts from the bill and had also taken 40% off the rest of the cost so we were a lot happier about the situation. Norman then suggested that some discount vouchers may help us to make a decision to return so he went away and came back with some vouchers so we decided that rather than writing to Bruce and Sylvester and never visiting the place again we would give Planet Hollywood a second chance later in the day.

    My niece Nicola and her hubby Chris drove down from Toronto and arrived in the afternoon. When they arrived they were “booked out” of the Wellington and moved to a four star hotel across the road. This was very useful for me as their new hotel had free wi-fi and internet access unlike the Wellington, and you know I like my freeness!

    In the afternoon we went on a little guided walk around some of the sights I had seen previously on my trekking expeditions with Dave and Bob and these included Battery Park, Wall Street, NYSE, the Bronze Bull and Seaport and the Brooklyn Bridge. We had some lunch at the Heartland Brewery which was very nice and probably the best food we had during our time in New Yawk, and I would have been claiming new beer at the Heartland if I had not already reached the 80. We walked around for the rest of the afternoon and took in Bloomingdales and in the evening returned to Planet Hollywood to claim our discounts.

    The food was OK in the evening and better than the breakfast but the waitress was a bit OTT with the “my name is Shirley and I am happy to be your host. I would like to recommend this and that etc.” crap. They had a DJ playing stuff in the restaurant and we were trying to get him to play some requests, especially Motown but he said he had already played lots of Motown so could not play much. When the bill came the discount was cancelled out by the added service charge but at least the meat on Normans ribs fell off the bones!

    That’s it for Sunday.

    Ta ta

    Danny

  • Day #132– Saturday 3 October 2009

    I think I may need to sleep on it!

    Pam and Norman arrive at just after noon today so I head out to JFK to "meet and greet" them. Their flight arrives at around noon so I have a coffee, check my emails and head out on the subway to JFK.

    The New Yawk Hostel is the largest hostel in the World if their telephone “on hold” message” is to be believed. They have around 900 beds in the hostel which makes it a big, big, big, place with very busy facilties, so you can imagine how luxurious a place it is to stay in and how busy the facilities are!

    At the hostel they are renovating the bathrooms (which don’t have any baths, so a better description would be washrooms - but that is how they describe toilets here) so the men’s washroom/bathroom is closed on my floor and the men have to use the ladies on the same floor, and the ladies have to use the men’s washroom/bathroom on the next floor up (got that?).

    Now the thing with this hostel game is that you have to be prepared for the type of late night situation where you may have a “call of nature” in the middle of the night as it were. At home this is not a difficult scenario and usually involves an easy hop in and out of bed, a short trip along the landing in your undies (or thongs if you are Australian), a quick scratch and then quickly back to be snugly wrapped up in the duvet cuddling your hot water bottle.

    In the hostel environment this is a very different situation and usually involves detailed planning to ensure that you not only have suitable clothing for a midnight "washroom trip" but also the ability to climb down from the top bunk in the pitch black and find the dormitory door which is locked. You will also need a uniform that includes suitable jim jams, a pair of flippety flops at the ready by the bed as the floor in the hostel can be a real experience if you want to go "barefooting"!

    Most important item of all though is your swipe card to get you back into the dorm after your midnight sojourn down the hall to the ladies washroom/bathroom as without this you could be left in an embarrassing predicament, very embarassing indeed! Don't forget you also have to make sure that all your bags and valuables are suitably secured with padlocks or similar, as for a period of time you will not be in the same space as they are.

    As you can imagine this type of action takes “military like” strategic planning, and this is even before you can contemplate having a snooze or going to sleep at night. Forget about the military expertise of Churchill, General Patton or Monty in the Desert, this is the super intelligence high level stuff, where the World's biggest brains (everything is big here in the "youessofa") and biggest computers are deployed to ensure a satisfactory conclusion to a difficult situation.

    This generally means that you spend most of the night worried about whether a trip to the bathroom will be necessary, and the worry makes the thought of a trip to the bathroom even more necessary, and the thought of this worry about whether to make a visit to the washrooms seems even more important, even if the bladder at that point has not quite made its mind up and the brain is saying “sleeeeeeeeeeeep”!

    To sum it up, the thought of worrying about worrying about the need to take a trip “Downtown” to the washrooms, with your hand carefully enclosed around your wallet with the room swipe key in it, just to ensure that if you do need to take a trip Downtown you will be suitably prepared, makes the need to go to the washroom situation even worse, and there is no way a good nights sleep in La La land (not the one where Andy lives) is ever going to happen!


    Pam and Norman arrive after their flight is delayed by around two to three hours and when we catch the Airtrain the rain has started. As it is a weekend the express subways are not running but we manage to exit the subway at the station that is directly outside the Wellington Hotel. We check in and then we head back to the hostel to retrieve WLR from the $5 locker.

    In the evening we have a meal in a restaurant that was expensive and not very good but we were a bit knackered and settled for it. We had a set menu where the food seemed to be served "lukewarm to cold" and my seafood dish was like Captain Birdseye had decided that it may be better served straight from the freezer,cold, ice cold,rather than edible.

    Back to the hotel for some sleep and for once I don’t have to worry about how far the washroom is from my bunk, where my swipe card is, who is in the room and how I climb down from the top bunk in the dark!

    Ta ta from La La land (not the one in California!)

    Danny Beer

  • Take me home country roads

    Danny Beer is still alive and hoping to post an update to the blog soon.

    Some very close entries to the competion and Jetlag was the closest but not quite correct!

    Ta ta from JFK

    and I wish Pam would not keep singing a medley of:

    "Tie a Yellow Ribbon round the old Oak Tree"

    and

    "Take me home country roads".

    There's only so much country music a boy can take!

    Maybe I can get a cheap flight from JFK to ??????????????

    Ta ta for nearly the last time and Vera is cooking a broth for Saturday!

    Ta ta again from the Big Banana

    Danny

  • Day #131– Friday 2 October 2009

    I woke up this morning!

    I tried to do some washing today and I am not sure that is was an overwhelming success. Also my left boot is worn out at the heel and the repair I did on my jeans has not totally worked and holes have appeared again!

    During the day I did a bit of research to check out some of the things that Pam and Norman have said they might want to do. I check their route to Newark International Airport and then hop around New Yawk, using my seven day pass, to check out the Ellis Island trip and some shopping haunts, including Macy’s.

    In the evening they are advertising a “blues” night for $8 if you are staying at the hostel. It is at a place called “The Underground". Now I have not been to any “blues” for a long time, and I think the last one may have been the West Indian variety rather than the “I woke up this morning” type of blues they play in the youessofa.

    The Underground Bar is, as you would imagine, downstairs in a basement, and we get there for around 9:00pm. There is a main bar room area, a pool room and behind that a room where the band have set up. The room is quite a small space (not as small as the comedy club on Ellis in San Francisco though!), with capacity for around twenty people, including the band.

    It’s a dark place, with tables laid out in a “U” shape around the stage and the lighting is mostly candlelight which gives it the atmosphere of a “Jazz Club…. Great!.....”. The band consists of a drummer, organist, bass guitar and lead/slide guitar and there are a couple of guest musicians, one who plays the flute and the other the harmonica, and they guest on some tracks.

    The music is not bad, the band play pretty tightly and the first set is traditional blues with slow rhythms and lots of lead guitar play. I can’t say I actually know many of the tunes but it is a good first set.

    Before the second set the other five backpackers that left the hostel with me for the show have all left and at one point there are more members of the band on the stage (4) than the people sitting in the audience (3 including me).

    In the second set they also play some rhythm and blues which is bit faster and I think I recognize one tune as a Canned Heat number, maybe called “Down the Line?”

    After being there around three hours I decide to call it a day/night as I have to check out in the morning and meet Pam and Norman at JFK.

    So that’s the update for today, sorry it is not very interesting but I am definitely looking forward to NOT sleeping in a hostel bed tomorrow night!

    I woke up this morning, ta ta ta ta ta,

    Got out of my bed, ta ta ta ta ta

    My baby done left me, ta ta ta ta ta,

    The only colour is red!

    And still no one has guessed beer #80!

    Ta ta
    Danny

  • Day #130 - Thursday 1 October 2009

    “You want potatoes?”

    I am trying to catch up a bit after the two days of tours that left me absolutely knackered.

    Putting the last two days tours behind me I am today booked on the tour of Harlem, and this also costs $10 but it has 3 hours on the list so I am thinking do this in the morning and chill for the rest of the day.

    Before the tour I decide to get breakfast in one of the “Old Skool” American (probably Mexican!) diners around the corner from the hostel. I get there about 8:30am as the Harlem tour doesn’t leave until 10:00 and I have a craving for scrambled eggs on toast, yum yum!

    I get a seat in one of the booths and the very nice waitress comes and asks me if I would like a menu, and I reply no thank you I know what I would like for brekky. I say I would like two scrambled eggs on toast with bacon, and the conversation goes something like this:

    Waitress: “What would you like?”

    Me: “I would like two scrambled eggs on toast with bacon, a glass of orange juice and a coffee please”

    Waitress: “You want potatoes with that?”

    Me: “No gracias, just two scrambled eggs on toast with bacon, a glass of orange and a coffee please”

    Waitress: “You want a glass of iced water to go with that?”

    Me: “Yes please that would be nice”

    Waitress: “OK, so you want two scrambled eggs on toast with bacon and potatoes, a glass of orange juice, a coffee and a glass of iced water”

    Me: “No potatoes thank you, just two scrambled eggs on toast with bacon, a glass of orange juice, a coffee and a glass of iced water, thank you”

    Waitress “You sure you don’t want potatoes, everyone else has them?”

    Me: “Yes I am sure thanks, just two scrambled eggs on toast, a glass of orange juice, a coffee and a glass of iced water”

    Waitress: "Postive now?"

    Me:"Yes gracias!"

    Waitress: (who looks at me and thinks what is this guy on, no potatoes for his breakfast that is the best bit!)

    "OK!"

    Waitress to Chef: “Dos huevos revueltos sobre pan tostado, tocino, un vaso de jugo de naranja, café y un vaso de agua helada. Este idiota no parece querer papas!

    Adios Adios and ta ta,

    Danny

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