Why “Drinking the Water”?

When you travel to certain places, people will jokingly warn you, “Don’t drink the water!

I think that’s terrible advice. I generally do drink the local water – at home (wherever that may be at the moment) and away.  It has made my life much more bountiful.

Sometimes the water needs to be filtered or otherwise treated, of course. When I lived in Mexico, I always had to boil it for 10-20 minutes before consuming. I greatly prefer that small hassle to drinking the soul-less water that comes in plastic bottles. Sure, I’ll drink the bottled stuff when I’m out and about and unable to get reliable liquid from a faucet, but I go for the local stuff when I can.

Of course, “water” means much more to me than merely H2O. I’m talking about food, weather, language, history, dress, religion, architecture, customs, worldview – everything that makes a time and place a particular time and place. Some of this is delightful; it goes down pretty easily and I can chug it. Other aspects I can only sip at gingerly.

I’ve read that the average adult female body is made up of about 55% water. When I take in liquid, that water becomes part of me as my cells become hydrated. When I participate actively in a particular place and time, that becomes part of me, too, as I am metaphorically fed, clothed, instructed — enriched.

I am a part of all that I have met.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in his poem Ulysses
Mexico Retold

There's more to Mexico than meets the media

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