Immediately upon arrival at my hostel on Feb 6th, I made another impulsive splurge – I really need to stop doing that, eh? I booked whitewater rafting for the following day, having never done it.
In my dorm room of eight people, I met Renzo, a porteño on holiday with his friends Alejandro and Eduardo – all three were just a smidgeon younger than me. Renzo spoke the best English out of the three, though I really was trying with my Spanish. As seems to be a common theme with the Latinos I’ve met, they were all shocked that I was travelling by myself at my age and without fluency in Spanish, but appreciated that I tried. (I guess they haven’t really been talking to other foreign travellers then, cause there’s plenty of people like me around, and plenty more that don’t know any Spanish!) Within one minute, Renzo offered me mate.
Mate (sounds like ma-tay) is a very common drink I’ve been seeing for the past few weeks, and it seems that it is inseparable from Argentinians. People carry around a gourd (itself called mate) made of wood, a pack of yerba mate leaves, and a thermos or pot of hot water. Everywhere. I’ve always been curious to try it, and to be offered some without any sort of prompting was a pleasant surprise. Continue reading