Day 40: Refresco Ban

Overland miles: 3817 Tacocount: 53 Days without Sodas: 1

When we set out on our Latin American adventure we presumed that tea, particularly black tea would be almost impossible to get our Limey hands on in most places we visited. Coffee, surely, was the only hot drink on order in Mexico and other Central American countries – perhaps with the exception of hot chocolate in some quarters of the continent? Well, we were both wrong and right on that front: our favourite evening tipple, Earl Grey (decaf) is definitely not available anywhere, and we both felt it was simply too sad to carry a box of Twinings in our rucksacks. So we are definitely yearning for a cup of the Raj’s finest by now. But herbal, fruit, yellow and black blends are all on offer in most of the bars, cafes and even the more traditional eateries we check out. They’re lined up next to the massive urns of thick black coffee at our school in Guatemala, our family has a box of ‘organic throat remedy’ tea on their table, filled with disgustingly restorative ingredients like liquorice and cherry tree bark (although that was left by a previous student). Hell, the bar we’re sitting in now is serving up the Brits’ fave, PG Tips. Clare’s opted for fresh mint, though.

It’s never quite the same as it is back home though, natch. There’s something about the long-life leche (milk) used in these ‘ere parts that puts you off a milky builders’, so you have to stick to te negro (black tea) or go ‘erbal. And almost on principle I’d just rather have a nice strong cafe con leche (milky coffee) in the mornings. Clare though, she’s a tea addict. Can’t get enough of the leafy stuff. So our ‘Days without Tea’ count, running at the top of previous posts, is a little bit redundant. We might as well be clocking Days without being Sold Indigenous Crafts.

Another thing we’d been getting more than enough of in Mexico was refrescos, which are any type of fizzy drink such as those that exhort you to ‘open happiness’ or ‘live life to the max’ or some such marketers’ waffle. These drinks are available everywhere, at all times of the day, often integrated into numerous meal deals and sold almost in exclusion to any other soft drink. It’s a corporate take-over that’s made America fat, it’s contributing to the current Mexican obesity crisis, and it’s not doing our own waistlines any favours. So, as we entered Guatemala, we decided to make a pact to ban the refrescos – or agua frescas as they’re known here. Or at least cut back on them to a point that they’re a treat rather than the staple accompaniment to every meal. We thought we’d let you know this in case anyone spotted the new ‘Days without Sodas’ count and wondered what was going on. As if you cared, people!


Anyway, the good news is the days are rolling by and sodas are being steadily replaced by, well, licuados and beer. It’s not a brilliant start to our health-kick, but it’s a start all the same. Now, we return you to your normal service. Next up, Clare gets up close and personal with King Jaguar Serpent IV!

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