Now, by popular demand, you get to learn about Mate...
While preparing to go down to
Drinkers of mate themselves aren’t hard to spot either. You see then walking down the street with a thermos of hot water under one arm along with a gourd-looking thing with a metal straw sticking out from it. The calabash gourd, itself called the mate, is usually covered in leather and can be decorated any way that you’d like. The metal straw is called a bombilla and strains the leaves as you drink (seems interesting to drink something hot through a metal straw, but that’s what they do). Also something you would notice are all the leather materas, or “mate bags” that people carry slung over their shoulders to hold their thermos and gourd when not in use.
To emphasize its popularity, I’ll point out that it is the National Drink in
Originally, mate was drunk by the Gauchos of Uruguay and
There are regional differences to mate. In
Another thing that make drinking mate so appealing to me is the sharing culture that goes along with it. Many people drink it alone, but it’s very common to see couples walking down the street with one gourd and thermos between them or to see a group of people sitting in at a restaurant or in front of a house passing a gourd between each other. One person has the thermos and “prepares” the gourd by adding the leaves and the bombilla. Then hot water is poured into a cavity created on one side of the gourd. The preparer takes the first drink to test the preparation/flavor. If it is satisfactory, he refills it with water and passes it to the next person. You have to drink all the water until you make a slurping sound with the straw and then hand it back to the preparer. He will refill it and pass it back until you thank him while you return the gourd. I think it’s pretty cool to be able to share a drink in a community like that.
I don’t think that there is any equivalent in the