LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||03/SET/2009 1:43 PM|
|Assunto:||Coffee - how about tea?|
I lived in the South, so we were always sipping chimarrao. The first time I was in RGS, I was in a hotel in Bento Goncalves when a Gaúcho said he was going to show me how to drink chimarrao. He must have been about 25, and I'd been drinking it for almost 40 years. Chimarrao doesn't begin and in the Rio Grande do Sul. I got started with Chilean friends, and then I started sharing a cuia with Argentines.
The Uruguayans are the world's biggest chimarrao drinkers, but Gaúchos are probably close behind in second place. When you go into a shop or office, you find people drinking it all day long. Non-stop. They walk down the street drinking it. They drive cars while drinking it. They may even make love while drinking it. When you go to a Gaúcho's home, usually the first question he asks is, "Aceita uma cuia?" And it starts. It's remarkably close to cigarette smoking in that people are constantly drinking chimarrao and it's constantly being offered to friends. I'll drink chimarrao alone, but it's always best when you drink with friends, passing the cuia from hand to hand. I have very pleasant memories of sharing a cuia while talking about hobbies, plans for the future, children, etc. Very, very pleasant.
The people of every country seem to think that only they know how to prepare it properly. And every person seems to think he makes it better than anyone else in his country! Try "Youtube" and you'll see for yourself!
Have you heard of the Ten Commandments of Chimarrao! They exist. Some versions are quite funny. I had the Ten Commandments on my wall in RGS, and they were similar but different from the ones below taken off my T-shirt:
1-Nao mexa na bomba. (If you know anything about chimarrao, you know this is something really stupid to do.)
2-Nao pecas acucar no mate. (In some versions of the Ten Commandants, you are told " If you want to drink something sweet, buy a Coca Cola." Outside Brazil, sugar is often added. It's also common in some regions to add the peel of a lemon or grapefruit, or maybe cinnamon.)
3-Nao "durma" com a cuia.
4-Nao deixe um mate pela metade.
5-Nao diga que chimarrao e anti-higenico. (Kissing is unhygienic and you don't complain about that do you?)
6-Nao altere a ordem em que o mate e servido.
7-Nao diga que o mate da cancer.
8-Nao diga que o mate esta quente demais.
9-Nao tenha vergonha do "ronco do mate".
10-Nao condene o dono da casa por tomar o primeiro mate. (Actually, the host is doing you a favor as the first mate is often bitter.)
These Commandants are not jokes. There is a reason for each one. I thought they were "cute" when I first read them, but over time they just made good sense. They show respect and consideration for others.
I collected cuias and bombas. They can be quite beautiful. And they vary from country to country. I only have one guampa. I saw some beautiful ones in Paraguay, and after all these years I'm still sorry I didn't buy some. I say "collected", but the truth is I have bought two cuias and several bombas over the Internet in the past few months. Yes, I can buy erva mate in Costa Rica.
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