I Made It!

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I Made It!

Thursday.
Delhi, India.
The soldier in the gatehouse eyes me dubiously.
“What is your business at the British High Commission?”
“I’m here to pick up a slab of beer.”
The soldier studies my passport with pursed lips. His head bobbles from side like the hips of an Elvis Presley dash doll.
“You are Australian, yes?” he asks me.
“That’s right.”
“This is the British Embassy.”
“I know. I’ve got an appointment here.”
The soldier grudgingly picks up the phone. He has a short conversation in Hindi with somebody and waves me through the gate dismissively.
I meet my contact in the Embassy foyer and take delivery of my beer.
“Do you have a car?” she asks me.
“No. Just this.” I show her my scooter.
“Did you ride this from Scotland” she gasps.
“Not all the way” I reassure her. “I’m a hitchhiker.”
She stares at me, wide eyed.
“You hitchhiked from Scotland?”
“Most of the way, yeah. All across Europe.”
“Aren’t you exhausted?”
“I could use a beer.”
I’ve had a lot of help getting here to Delhi. When I left Edinburgh two months ago I never worried about whether or not I would make it here because I know hitchhiking and I know that if you wait long enough good people will help you out.
As soon as I stuck my thumb out in Scotland I started meeting awesome humans. People like; Dan the Serbian truck driver, who drove me across the channel to France; Pietro, my host in Paris; Peter and George, my new best friends in Czech Republic; and of course Maria, my hitchhiker buddy from Athens.
Now I’ve finally reached my destination: Delhi, India.
It’s a hot and dusty day in the city.
I load the slab of beer onto my scooter, wave goodbye and head for the park. It seems like good weather to have a beer in the park.
There are plenty of people walking and hanging out. I find a spot on the grass near the India Gate and crack a can.
I’ve barely had time to slurp the froth off my beer before an Indian guy comes over and ask shyly if they can have a photo with me. “Sure” I tell him. “Would you like a beer as well?”
We stand in front of the big arch, and his buddy snaps a couple of shots.
“What is this beer?” they ask me.
“It’s Scottish” I tell them.
They nod seriously and finish their cans.
“Very nice” they tell me.
By the time we’ve done our photos a small crowd has gathered around to take pictures of us taking pictures. Everyone starts helping themselves to beer.
It’s a feeding frenzy.
All the barefoot dudes selling candy, and the ladies flogging scarves and the tourists from Mumbai descend on the box of beer like pigeons.
I’m glad I had a can in my hand or I would have missed out. Seems like India likes Scottish beer.
Time for a nice curry now. Maybe a mango lassi, since I’m all out of beer.
Before I sign off, one more big ‘thank you’ to all the awesome generous people who saw me on the roadside and helped me along my way. Hitchhiking isn’t as easy as it once was, but it feels really good to know that it’s still possible.
Big, big thanks to Innis & Gunn, makers of India’s new favourite IPA.
Not only are you guys visionary beer brewers, you are also adventurers in spirit.
You came to me six months ago with this crazy idea to hitchhike beer across the planet, and then put up the cash to make that crazy idea into a crazy reality.
It’s been a lot of fun.

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