Black Beers and Stouts

I regard myself as a bit of a connoisseur of black beers and stouts and even brew my own on the odd occasion. I even brought my beer brewing gear here plus ingredients.

I had no idea what to expect but actually there is a fairly reasonable supply of the black stuff.

Firstly, the bad news. Yes, there is Guinness in 330 ml cans. It is made in Malaysia. It is 100% total crap and an embarrassment to the Guinness company. There is also ABC Stout which tastes very close to the above-mentioned Guinness.

Secondly, the average news. Carlsberg have Danish Royal Stout. Also brewed in Malaysia. Maybe I am just kidding myself that it is better than the 2 above. But it did seem better.

And the best news. The Portuguese do pretty good black beers. Both the Sagres Black Beer and Super Bock Stout are quite nice drinks. One day, I will do a one-on-one taste test and produce the final analysis.

Of course, I forgot the un-named helicopter company who brew their own beers and stouts in what is an absolutely incredible setup that is truly astounding. Of course, purely for personal consumption only.

One week in the house

Life is actually quite a bit different now. Living in a house now means access to all that stuff I waved goodbye to 6 months ago. But apart from footwear, I am still wearing the same old clothes I have been rotating for months.

It means no more hotel breakfasts and it means buying food in order to have it to eat it. The first shock is the financial one when you spend US$400 on food and end up with … well, not very much. And I had already pretty much given up on any snack foods. I had also thought I had put on weight but I actually sent over a set of scales and to my amazement, I am 5 kgs lighter than 6 months ago.

Note to file : I have to start local market shopping rather than this expat supermarket stuff.

To be honest, I have been suffering from some unknown health problem of late (presumably bacterial infection), but must wait until the doctor gets back from his 2 weeks out of the country. Perhaps this is the real reason for the weight loss (or the self-prescribed anti-biotics).

Back to the house. I guess you have to expect teething problems when everything is new, but the wooden doors are cracking, there have been electrical problems, shoddy plumbing, no water pressure, cockroaches, really bad rising damp in the walls and we still lack a bathroom basin and gas cooker. When we decide not to eat out, we use the temporary gas cooker on the front porch. And we are still waiting on some key furniture deliveries for the living areas.

As I type, there is not one drop of water emerging from any tap. The tank is full, the pump is on. I don’t know. But one day, it will be sorted.

It has rained the last few days and after this, the mosquitos have come out in force around the house. It is almost impossible to remain unbitten unless you become a walking insecticide vehicle. But there are enough local stories of malaria and dengue fever to convince you that you just have to do it.

If you are into organics and the non-use of pesticides, me thinks you will not survive here. It is pretty difficult trying to impress with the latest eau de cologne, perfume or macho deodorant when you must by necessity smell like a roach bomb (ie insect spray).


When it comes to supplies of imported items often bought by expats in Dili, there is one key item that defines the state of play with these supplies. Yogurt.

Some people ask if one has seen any yogurt in any of the supermarkets. At the Hotel Dili, the sign would read at breakfast time, “No yogurt due to no stock at the supermarket”. At the Hotel Timor, there would be no sign and no yogurt at all.

There has been no yogurt for around 10 days until a couple of days ago. So you know the boat has just come in and customs have cleared it. But there has been some enormous delays at customs over the last 2 weeks and I don’t know why.

But at least yogurt is back.