When you travel, learn something or bring something back that makes you more interesting

Today I visited a couple of friends in New York City, good friends that I don’t see very often. While it was fun visiting with old friends, the highlight of the visit was trying some tea that another fellow (just met him today) had brought back from Argentina.

Here’s the Wikipedia entry in case my description doesn’t make sense.

And before I forget, my whole point is that because he brought back this tea from Argentina (and you can buy it in the US) and was able to tell people about this part of Argentinean culture everyone thought he was more interesting and he was the center of attention.

The first time I came back from Korea I brought some ginseng liquor (which isn’t even popular in Korea) that looked pretty interesting because of all the ginseng roots in the bottle of alcohol. Anyway, if you learn to cook a foreign dish, make a foreign drink, or something other people will enjoy learning about the culture you visited, you can make yourself the center of attention if you want.

So the Argentinean tea was interesting. Apparently in Argentina everyone shares one cup with a metal straw in it. The person who makes the tea passes the cup to the left. That person drinks the tea and hands it back to whoever is in charge. They pour more water and pass it to the second person to the left. And on it goes.

Now the cup doesn’t hold much water so it only takes a few seconds to drink the tea when it’s their turn. And there’s no waiting for the tea to cool down since everyone else is also waiting.

The metal straw burned my lips a little bit and the tea was quite bitter. Wikipedia says the tea is bitter when made with boiling water, but it’s also bitter when made correctly with hot but not quite boiling water.

Now Brian might or might not care that I think he’s cool for teaching me about and sharing Argentinean tea, but everyone else was also interested so the ladies present gave him more attention since they were learning something interesting.

And he is a more interesting person that he was before he learned about Argentinean tea. That reminded me that when I travel I should also try to improve myself in some way – hopefully by learning something about the other culture that I can share with others.

So what have you learned in your travels?

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  1. JAEHYUK says:

    When I came back from Cuba, I brought some cuban cigars. My friends didn`t really know how to smoke cigar so they smoked just like normal cigarette. The smoke was killing their throat and it was so funny.

    Here are some tips for smoking cigar.

    Do not inhale the smoke, just taste it in your mouth and blow it out. If you smoke a cigar too fast, it will burn hot and ruin the flavor. If you smoke too slow, it will go out and you will have to keep relighting.

    Coffee drinks, port, scotch, brandy, and most drinks made with kahlua can accompany cigar.

    Then smoke and enjoy cigar.

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