Gaucho and Yerba Mate

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If you have been to Argentina, Paraguay or Uruguay you must have heard of yerba mate. It is typical for this region beverage, prepared by steeping dry leaves of mate plant in hot (but not boiling) water. It is very common to drink it with friends from shared, special cup (in spanish called mate) through metal straw (bombilla). To those who are not used to it, yerba mate might have very bitter taste. Also by now I have already learned that argentines are very sensitive with the whole ritual of drinking it. You certainly should not play and move around the straw, because it stirs the mate too much and causes the straw to clog. I’ve done it once and been told off by a loca personl!

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet up with the real argentine gaucho (south american cowboy) and drink the best yerba mate I had so far, prepared by him. Mayo (named after the month May he was born in) spends his life here in Patagonia on taking care of one of the estancias and animals living on it. I was very impressed by his way of living, especially when he showed me the skin of puma that he killed the night before in order to protect the other animals. Even though it was very difficult at times to understand him, due to the very strong patagonian accent that he has, I had a great time talking and listening to him and promised to give him one of the photos that I took during the visit.

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