Funky Mate

Trip Start Mar 29, 2010
Trip End May 24, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  , Santa Cruz,
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When traveling in this part of the world, you can't help but notice a strange drink that virtually all locals drink.   People pour hot water in a hollowed out gord that's filled with a dry green plant that looks remarkably similar to alpha pellets you might give to a bunny rabit in a petting zoo.  They sip it out of a metal straw, and frequently share with their friends.  This drink is called Yerba Mate.

What is most striking about Yerba Mate is that everyone drinks it, and I mean everyone.  We saw the custodians in a bus station sipping and sharing mate on their break, hotel owners indulging during an "once" (tea time in the afternoon), and even our guides shared a cup after lunch on the top of the Perito Moreno glacier. 

I had to give it a try. 

When we had some time to kill in a cafe, I decided to order mate and Monique decided to chronicle the experience with our camera.  In the pictures below, you can see the progression as I prepare the drink, sip it, then "enjoy" it.  It's remarkably bitter (hence the expression on my face), but drinkable with a bit of sugar.  Monique characterized it as "sewage water," which isn't an unfair comparison.  The Argentines call it "an acquired taste."

Regardless, I choked down the full pot.  In the hours that followed, my stomach felt weird and I found myself bouncing off of walls from what I presume to be over-cafination.  I think IŽll try it again sometime. 

To learn a little more about Yerba Mate, click here
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Maggie on

Love the Funky Mate pic series, Monique. Good job of capturing The Kid's expression. The education continues with your travel blog. Continue sharing those good times and stay safe!

Mary Dove on


Your Mom forwarded your site to me and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your and Greg's fanastic adventure. Keep safe and enjoy!!!

Bob Mather on

Great adventure series......I wouldn't trust that stuff if you have to aquire a taste for it.

jenandtony on

We see you 'enjoyed' mate just as much as we did. Elsewhere in warmer places people also drink it with cold water and we spent some time with some Argentinians from BA who claimed that it was very good with Fanta rather than water. We were never tempted to try it that way! Great blog and good travelling!
PS coca tea is also an aquired taste that we never aquired and we found it did nothing for our altitude sickness either!

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