This morning I enjoyed a drinking a morning mate with Alicia at La Salamora. No, not latte, mate, the national drink of Uruguay. Mate (pronounced mah- tay) is like a tea and to me it tasted like an oolong or green tea, if you have ever had that. It is strong and is said to keep you alert and awake. Many people in Uruguay drink it all day long. It is sipped through a metal straw called a bombilla. The straw has a sieve at the end and the cup is filled with leaves and then hot water is poured in. Because so many people drink mate, you can fill up your mate thermos at the gas station, where they have hot water dispensers that are made to fit thermoses.
Drinking mate is a social thing and it's meant to be shared. That means that Alicia made a mate and passed it to me. We would be drinking the mate, passing it back and forth, out of the same straw. This was a little strange to me at first, because I am very American when it comes to thinking about germs. I asked Alicia about this and she said that people in Uruguay are very healthy and then laughed. I took a sip from her straw.
I was feeling the caffeine as Alicia and I rode out from La Salamora with Daniel to visit a nearby castle. A castle in Uruguay, you might ask? Well yes.... more to come
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