A nation of tea drinkers?
I should also mention that I´m not just in any Brazilian state. This place is (teasingly) better known as the Republic of Rio Grande do Sul.
Of all Brazilian states, Rio Grande has had the greatest seperatist tendency and history. The legacy is seen in the extent to which the state flag colours - red, green and yellow - predominate compared to those in other states.
As if to assert their independence of spirit, macho gauchos are less likely to reach for a packet of fags. Insteas they take their gourd and fill it up with local mate tea and hot water, which they slurp through a metal straw.
While mate is an acquired taste (I like it weak), the point of this macho trick is in not giving concern to the inevitable burns you get from drinking a hot drink through an already hot straw.