first experience with the hot South American drink mate is a rather long story.
You see, I was hitch-hiking
my way through Argentina and ended up on the vast, arid, largely uninhabited Peninsula Valdez. I’d been walking alone
along the peninsular coast for about 7 miles, scrabbling over rocky outcroppings and kicking through the hot sand, when
at some point I turned around and realized that the tide had come in and cut off my exit.
It was so late in
the day, I’d be stuck there into the night if I had to wait for the tides to recede. So I headed into the interior of
the peninsula and proceeded to get lost. I soon ran out of water, and briefly contemplated how long I would last. Then,
as often seems to happen in dire circumstances, I was "saved". I ran into a couple of laid-back Argentine
dudes camping on the peninsula. They were stoned, but immensely cool and they invited me to sit down for mate.
I was so parched, the last thing I felt like was hot yerba tea. But that’s all they had so I sat down with them
for a drink. And it was GREAT! Since then, I occasionally grab a mate when I can fine it being sold around New York,
which is rare. But I am not the only one to sing mate’s praises. This article on mate in the USA
Today does so as well, and goes on to explain something I hadn’t realized: that there is a bona-fide fad going on
for mate. With the likes of Matt Dillon, Madonna, Alicia Silverstone and rocker Flea, all being into the drink. And you
know, well, it’s Academy Award night after all, that once stars are into something, we’ll all soon be into it as well.
And then, of course, the fad will quickly die.