© 1993 Christine Krieg
My story begins with a community of a thousand men and women. Okay, okay, mostly men and let me tell you, I didn’t mind that one bit! We were traversing the east coast of Tassie (that’s Aussie slang for Tasmania, that island to the south of Australia that once got left off an official map. That ought to tell you a thing or two about how isolated some of the folks here might feel. Who can blame them for doing things their own special way?)
But back to my story. Where was I? Oh yes, traversing the east coast of Tassie. Well, this was a truly good bunch of folks. Their only goal was to enjoy themselves and their beautiful surroundings on two-wheeled transportation. Now, if you cycled for countless hours up and down hills (of which there were MANY), around lakes (and sheep), over rivers (and the ubiquitous sheep turd) you might build up quite an appetite by the end of the day. And we did. But being Aussies and all, we also built up quite a hunger and longing for a pint or three. Or four. Or five. (Here was living proof of that beer statistic I remember reading before setting out on my Australia adventure. Aussies consume the most beer per head than any other nation on this planet.)
What does that have to do with the plight of poor Piggy Boo, you ask? I’m really glad you asked. Remember the stuff I told you about Tassie getting left off the map? You know, about people here doing things their own way? Well, one afternoon, as we (our cozy group of a thousand riders) pulled into another small town, instantly tripling their population, we proceeded to fill the nearest pub. The pub was part of a small farm, nothing unusual in this part of the world. All the blokes (Aussie speak for guy) started drinking pints of stout, the most potent of beers. I watched the dark liquid pour like molasses straight down their gullets. The stout was quite cheap, a dollar fifty I think. That’s when I noticed the sign up on the wall behind the bar. It simply read:
STOUT FOR PIGGY BOO
Strange, I thought. Who or what was PIGGY BOO? And why would they sell stout cheaper for this PIGGY BOO? Could it be the “Local of the Month”? My curiosity, never something to be held back, soon got the better of me.
“Who’s Piggy Boo?” I asked the bartender.
His face had the burnished good looks of someone who spent all day outdoors. He turned, and his blue twinkles took on a mischievous smile.
“Our pig. Want one?”
“Your pig drinks stout?” I forgot to close my mouth.
“Yeah. Loves it.”
This I had to check out. I tossed a few coins on the counter, grabbed my brown bottle of molasses and made my way to the door. A small crowd had already gathered around Piggy Boo’s pen. A bottle tipped slightly. The stuff oozed out. The pig pushed his lower lip forward, never missing a drop.
I swear Piggy Boo was smiling.
Christine Krieg considers herself a citizen of the world. Born in Australia, she stayed just long enough to acquire a bit of an accent before moving to Germany. She grew up there and finally settled in Northern California. She tasted the intoxicating power of travel in her thirties while sitting in a tiny plane over the Amazon rainforest. Ever since, she has photographed and written about her adventures to foreign lands. Her last journey took her to the rainforests of Borneo in search of orangutans in the wild. As a full-time photographer, Christine creates beautiful author portraits as part of her work. She also donates time and talent to Left Coast Writers to capture our monthly speakers. Visit her website and check out her beautiful images at www.cksworld.com.