Understanding mate (Drive Day 211: Jan 26, 2004)

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Omit the accent mark above the e, as this WordPress font does, and the word mate conjures up Australian friendliness. Which actually makes it a not-so-terrible typo. Because friendliness is what this ritual of tea drinking demands. I’m not used to sharing lip germs with strangers but what I’m beginning to learn is that strangers are just friends you haven’t met. And in Argentina that describes every person in a municipal campground who ambles over for a look at the Ford F350. It’s ugly-American rude to refuse a sip from a shared silver straw. Never mind that the stuff tastes like soaked twigs and dirt – it’s the comradery that counts. And the farther from civilization this road trip takes us, the more that human connection matters.


Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

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