Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#16 Try Maté

I believe I have officially achieved at least honorary Uruguayan status by trying maté for the first time and not spitting it out. I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it (unlike another Shankee's(Uruguayan for American) experience I read about where he described it as tasting like ditch water). As I later discovered I had tried mate amargo(bitter) which is for those tough-gaucho(Uruguayan cowboy)types like John Wayne who are tougher than tough.

However, being unitiated into the maté culture at the time I was the equivalent of little girl. Later, one of the sisters in the house asked me if I wanted some mate. Being the oh-so-polite person that I am. I took a sip and loved it. Why? It was mate dulce(sweet).



And so began the Great Mate War of Casa Del Campo. The Dulces(women) and Amargos(men) fought for my mate soul. The Dulces started off strong they shared their mate with me until I was only drinking mate dulce. They told the Amargos, "He likes mate dulce"(I do). To which the amargos countered, "He is a man he likes mate amargo"(Heck yes I'm a man). However, the Dulces clearly had the advantage as they shared their mate dulce until I had forgotten the taste of mate amargo.

But while the war waged on I wanted one of my own, so the next day I went out and looked at mates just to get an idea of the price. Well then I realized I have no job at the moment so that means I'd have to wait until I got one before I could even think about buying one. Learn to share it is. That night I was resting in my room when I heard Monica(the mom in the house) come out.

I came out of my room to be social and say hi. Then she said I have a present for you. I was completely surprised by her kindness. I looked inside it was a complete mate set thermos, mate, bombilla and all. I was so happy I was grinning from ear to ear. I think Perico must have told her about our conversation. Well that or they can read my mind in which case I need to start thinking in English instead of Spanish.



Later that night, I asked an Amargo(Chule) how to cure my mate. He showed me and said that if I used mate dulce it would be absorbed by my mate(gourd) and I could never have a truely amargo mate again, so I couldn't switch between them. I had to choose one or the other. I knew mate was an acquired taste like fine wine(or "goooood vine" as Juan Pedro would say). I believed I would acquire the taste for mate amargo. The Great Mate War had ended the Amargos had miraculously yanked victory from the jaws of defeat. I am now an Amargo ¡Viva los Amargos!

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