Ode to Coke

Coke is kind of like my syrupy-sweet nemesis… maybe “frenemy” is the word I’m looking for. 

I love it and I hate it. 

I love it because… well, it’s delicious.  It’s all fizzle-y and soda pop-y with bubbles and sweetness.  (I should definitely get a gig copy writing for the Coca Cola corporation.)

I hate it because… well, it does nothing good for me, my waistline, or my teeth.  Even if the Coke museum practically guarantees you’re basically drinking a glass of water with a little sweetener in it, I’m not buying it. 

My travels in Central and South America have assured me that I am not the only Coke-lover in the world.  In fact, Mexico is hailed as the country with the highest per capita consumption of the drink. 

Still, just because the bright red can made it across the border doesn’t mean everything is the same.


Imagine my surprise one hot summer in Guatemala when the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted my Coke cold or room temperature.  Um…. room temperature Coke? Um… no, gracias. 

Fancy Factor

Argentina kept Coke in the fridge, but ice was a little trickier to come by.  When we requested it, it might be carried to our table in a silver bowl with scalloped tongs.  In our own apartment, we acclimated to chugging chilled Coke from wine glasses. Now home in the States, I have missed swirling Coke around in a sophisticated cup.

To Go

When we pulled over at a roadside restaurant driving through rural Guatemala, Billy was overwhelmed with glee ordering me a coca para llavar (Coke “to go”).  Since restaurant proprietors receive money back for returning the glass bottles, they naturally poured my Coke into a plastic sandwich bag and gave me a straw. 

Coke = Coke

I’m from the South, where “I’d like a Coke” can naturally be followed with the question, “Which kind?”  Because Coke can mean Coca Cola classic, but it can also mean Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Cherry Coke, or even Pepsi.  It’s a substitute for other regional terms like soda, pop, or carbonated devil juice.  You’ll rarely catch Billy drinking anything other than the real thing, but after four months in Argentina, I couldn’t wait to drink a big cup of Dr. Pepper… with ice. 

So my relationship with Coke continues. I pseudo gave it up for a while, but since I had a baby, I’ve been on a steady IV drip of sugar and caffeine.  I think Coke and I are set for the next 18 years. 

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