Friday, March 18, 2011

Would You Like Some Tea with that Sugar?

One thing this country likes is it's sugar. Today I experienced just how sugary they like their drinks. I've always been amazed watching them add sugar to their tea, wondering how they drink it so sweet. It is completely normal to add 5 teaspoons of sugar to their 8 oz glass of tea here. (Just as a side note- yes, a glass of tea. And yes, it is hot tea. And you're lucky if the glass has a handle. I think I have some permanent marks on my fingers where I have held a burning hot glass of tea. I've drank hot tea from metal cups without handles in Nepal before, and I thought that was crazy. But let me tell you, the glass cups are much, much worse. So don't go complaining when your barista hands you your cup of coffee without a little cardboard holder, be thankful that your hot drink in in a paper cup! End of side note...) When I tell a host that I would like just one spoon of sugar in my tea, they raise their eyebrows in disbelief that I only want one. I've found that one spoonfull creates a delightful blend of the tastes of the tea with a little sweetness. Sometimes, though, I'll go for two if I'm in more of a mood for a southern sweet tea. But today, I didn't really get a chance to specify how I like my tea. They handed me a glass and I couldn't turn it down. Plus, I thought, why not expierence what a 1/2 inch of sugar in a glass with some tea added to it tastes like. I figured it would just be super sweet, not bad, just not exactly how I like my tea.

Have you ever had a cup of really strong coffee, or eaten something extremely spicy that tastes good, but you can only take tiny bites of it? That is the best I can come to describing this for you. The sweet taste was so strong and overpowering I could barely drink it. I'm not even sure why the tea was there- I certainly couldn't taste it! After getting through the thankfully small 8 oz of tea and eating some biscuits there was still some sugar at the bottom that hadn't dissolved in the hot water!

Another example of their addiction to sweets lies in this picture:

Do you see what's in the bottle? No, it's not bright red grape juice. It's fanta. In a baby bottle. And just for the record, although the white baby is trying to get ahold of the bottle, her mother wouldn't let her! But it is completely normal here for people to go around giving small children sweets, which is probably how they develop such a sweet tooth. It's not a taste I plan on acquiring, though- I don't want to come home and have to add sugar to my coke to make it taste good!

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