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Published: November 6th 2011
THIRSTY IN ETHIOPIA...THE BEERS. I've told you about our "Coffee Tour" of Ethiopia...in the North...in the South...and also in the Centre...served in small cups, black, strong, clean, one sugar...not muddy.
"Did you perchance try the amber fluid...of Ethiopia..? you ask.
As it turns out, Mike brews his own beer...in Toowoomba, Queensland...so one assumes he is partial to "a cool one...or two."
And so it was in Ethiopia.
Being a patriotic Aussie...prepared "to take one for the team"...well...I decided to join him.
Before Ethiopia...in Mali...we'd be watching T.V. in our hotel in Bamako of the Queensland floods...horrified at the devastation in Mike & Ros' home town.
Mike didn't talk about it much then.
He said his house should be fine...it being on a hill.
He was concerned for his community...as we all were.
In the news every day was the election fiasco in neighbouring Cote D'Ivoire...and the floods in Queensland...yep... news in Mali, West Africa..!
He would have a Flag or a Castel... savouring the cold ale... thinking... planning... adventuring.
It was not until a bit later that he told me.
He was worried about the possible damage of
floodwaters on his beer making equipment...under his house..! "Years of brewing...my life fluid could be washed away."
I felt his pain.
But what could I do..?..so far away..?
Only one thing for it..."Hey Mike...do you want a beer..?
First night in Ethiopia...Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa...encouraged by excellent cuisine...and a veritable "Beer List." "St George...Dashen...Harar...Bedele...Meta"
...all good...I can't think clearly after five...so that's all I remember.
Next day Ermias took us on a tour of Addis Ababa...to an Art Gallery restaurant...very classy...and the beer..?
In Gondar we drove past the Dashen Beer Factory...on our way to the castles of Fasiladas. (See my blog "Ethiopia: Gondar to Find Prester John").
I was on my quest...Mike was on another.
All he wanted was to visit the Dashen beer factory..!
After that, Mike developed a favour for Dashen Beer...and I developed a favour for Bedele.
St George is the Number 1 beer in Ethiopia...nice drop...but possibly due to the reverence of St George as the Patron saint of Ethiopia...a good marketing ploy in my book..!
Bedele came in two sizes...different labels...but I could tell just by looking at it...the one
with the blue label is bigger. Savoring various injera, chillie, meats...the larger bottle was easier to wash it down.
We are in Konso...heading to see the exotic tribes in the South...Konso...Stone Terracing Culture...when we got the news that the President had cancelled our accommodation in Jinka...our stepping stone to see the Mursi.
(See my blog "Ethiopia: Stretched Lips & AK47s...the Mursi.")
Toured a 450 year old Konso Village...a village on many levels, divided by rock terraces...of various heights...fences of thick wooden poles about as thick as two to three fingers...paths of rock...terraces and tea-pot thatched rooves...very Konso.
Markets with women in their layered skirts...orange the predominate colour.
We danced in Konso...but that's for another story.
We had lunch in the place where locals & tourists sat under thatched shelters and ate injera, omelettes and drank Coca Cola or beer...and of course...coffee.
I saw a local couple served with big hunks of cooked meat, glossy brown spicy sauces and injera...the national carbo...aerated flat bread/sponge made of keff..."Can I have some of that please..?"
When my injera came...it was soaked in a fatty, yellow liquid...any semblance of meat...not visible.
I could not eat
it...not even the Bedele hid the taste.
So I ordered an omelette...and...another Bedele..!
We had to organize Konso accommodation. Where we were there were rooms...4WDs and drying washing marking their turf.
We all agreed we wouldn't get a moment's sleep if we stayed there...the Bar being next to the only rooms available...so I was elected to check out the hotels Konso had to offer.
Konso is not a swish town in any venacular...so I was not looking for a palace...just somewhere better than where we were.
Gobeze drove me past the Mary Hotel...two storey...quaint...actually looked like an old world pub..."Too noisy...on the main road...try the Green Hotel first."
Short distance down the road...past the sign...down a steep dirt ramp or driveway...into a building site. Workman building a 3 storey concrete shell staring at this mizungu.
The Manageress shows us a row of tiny rooms...two single beds squeezed in...a suspect basin, a suspect toilet with bucket...and a suspect shower...power only at night then 6 a.m...assured me the builders knock off at 5pm and will not have started before our early start to Jinka tomorrow. "Perfect"
I thought...might as well check the
mattresses and pillows.
And lucky I did. I raced up and down...into each of 12 tiny rooms...and got the 4 best mattresses...and 4 best pillows...and chose the rooms nearer the road...as there was a bar down the end...that opens later and may run until late.
I had a good laugh with Gobeze as we went back to tell the others our mission was successful.
I had the duty of finding the best digs and I choose a building site..!
To my absolute surprise Mike & Ros were, or so they said, quite happy with my selection.
Considering we had slept on mud rooves in Dogon Country, on the banks of the Niger River and in goatskin tents in the Sahara Desert...I should not have been surprised...but Ethiopia was not Mali...so I was surprised.
Den and I had an afternoon sleep. We had to have the window open...protected from the mozzies at night by the grille on the window and potent mozzie stickers that I stuck on the grille that seemed to help.
We emerge at about 4pm and go for a wander...photographing Konso totem poles...trying to make out we were in other
than a building site.
And there was Mike.
Happy as I have ever seen him...like a warthog in mud...face glowing...seated at the bar with about six Ethiopian men.
He was drinking St George...the men compiling many empties...a pretty young woman serving...and her husband keepng watch. "I have had the best time..."
he mused...introducing me to his friends...a school teacher, a hospital worker, a university teacher, a driver, a mechanic, a local...all waxing lyrical with their Aussie mate.
And so I joined them...as you do.
And the beer...cold, refreshing...and Ethiopian.
After that Mike often mentioned his time at the bar at the Green Hotel in Konso...he had achieved his quest...Thirsty in Ethiopia...the Beers..!
Relax & Enjoy,
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