Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Slurp This

Last night I was scrolling through Twitter for a blog topic when my friend Benjamin mentioned earning a Slurpee if he reached his word count.

Mmm, Slurpees. Wonderful sugar and ice and artificial flavors blended together in the perfect combination to deliver a one-two punch to my throat. (I don't get brain freeze -- I get it in my throat, which really makes a lot more sense if you think about it.)

We may not have Slurpees here, but we have something equally delicious and just as thirst-quenching on a hot sunny day: flavored waters. I know, I know, that doesn't sound very exciting, but they really do call them aguas. I've seen every flavor under the sun -- naranja (orange), piña (pineapple), fresa (strawberry), melón (melon), horchata (rice milk), limón (lime), and the one that always makes me giggle and we probably drink it the most, jamaica (NOT ground-up Jamaicans).

Jamaica (pronounced huh-mai-ka) is made from a dried flower that they boil, similar to the way you make tea, then they add sugar and ice. It's bright reddish purple and very sweet and I can pretty much guarantee if a restaurant serves flavored waters, they have jamaica. You can also buy them from street vendors, but because of the water issues here, I generally only buy them from actual establishments. There's a chain of stores called La Michoacana that sells waters and paletas (popcicles that are the same flavors as the water) and there's one nearly on every corner.

One thing that took me awhile to get used to is while you can get your flavored water in a cup, for the most part they come in a plastic bag. The vendor pours in the liquid, sticks in a straw, then ties a knot about a third of the way down. You then carry it by the knot. The only down side is it's nearly impossible to set them down without spilling, but otherwise it's kind of fun drinking out of a clear plastic bag. I'm especially impressed by how quickly little kids figure it out. You can't walk down the street without seeing someone carrying a bag full of colorful water.

Have you ever drank out of a plastic bag?


LurkerMonkey said...

I've always wondered what all those brightly colored drinks were sold by street vendors in Mexico. But I don't think I'd like the flavor of Jamaicans. Yes, they're great people, but ...

By the way, I posted your story today.

Melanie Avila said...

That joke just never gets old. :)


Janna Qualman said...

Neat! I would so try a jamaica agua.

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, it's an acquired taste -- at least for me -- because I couldn't get past the flowery taste. Now I like it.

Natasha Fondren said...

Yummy. With our tiny frig, now, we store lots of stuff in plastic bags. We do a lot of eating out of plastic bags, too, LOL. Haven't tried drinking yet, though!

The local grocery is almost entirely Mexican food, which suits us just fine (have to buy tiny bags of brown rice in the american section, though), and they had those popsicles, but no shaved ice. I'm bummed.

What is UP with all the jelly cups? Sounds icky to me. I did try a new candy: K-something. Kranky. Chocolate covered corn flakes. Pretty yummy. :-)

Jewel/Pink Ink said...

We would drink our "soft drink" in plastic bags when I was growing up, and yes, it was kind of a pain if you wanted to set down the thing. Those flavors sound yummy. I miss that - just the colorful drink choices in the tropics.

There's a kool-aid flavor called Jamaica. Now I get it.

ElanaJ said...

Wow. I just got mad at my son for slurping his melted ice through, get this, a plastic bag. LOL!

Melanie Avila said...

Natasha, there is an abundance of plastic in the stores and markets here. I don't know about the jelly cups though. Do you mean the jello-looking stuff?

Jewel, I'm glad I cleared up the Jamaica name for you!

Elana, that's funny! I still get dirty looks (from Ibis) if I actually slurp. Apparently you're supposed to leave the last little bit. As if!

Nadine said...

What a fun way to drink! We're big on shave ice here (aka snow cones) but don't have the plastic bag drink. I'll have to try that!