Aqua Sin Gas, Por Favor

International Travel, South America

Agua_Sin_Gas__white_greenA lot of the world seems to love sparkling water, and I don’t get it. According to one source, “sparkling water usage averages 27% (vs. still), but Germans prefer it at a rate of 97%, the French at 13%, and the US at 16%.”** In 2009, a small town south of Milan installed sparkling water fountains, or “houses of water.” This was soon followed by Paris’ first sparkling water fountain in 2010, with Perth following suit this year (on a three-month trial basis).

Throughout Central and South America, sparking water is also ever present, with one needing to order “agua sin gas” if they prefer still water, and looking for “sin gas” on bottles and caps (or “con gas” if they prefer bubbles in their water). You do have to look for this distinction, as it’s surprisingly not apparent just looking at the bottles. Even shaking the bottle a bit doesn’t always help. The only sure fire way to tell otherwise is opening the bottle and listening for that revealing release of fizz to inform you that you’ve purchased the wrong kind of water again.

On a recent trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, a German girl on our tour couldn’t understand why anyone would want to drink still water, as it was just so plain. Ironically, I see just the opposite. Admittedly, right or wrong, I associate carbonated water with soda, so I’m expecting something extra when I see bubbles. I figure, if you’re going to go through the trouble of putting bubbles in your water (or searching out water with bubbles already in it), you should also put in some syrup or fruit juice, or at least some Scotch.

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2 thoughts on “Aqua Sin Gas, Por Favor

  1. From the view of a german, I’d say it is not about taste. It is about the feel of it.
    Our tap water in most of the areas is of pretty high drinkable quality, with few to none chlorine in it. So at least for me, there is not much difference in taste to bottled still waters, (George Carlin once said ‘Try spelling Evian backwards …’) so why pay extra for basically the same stuff?
    The sparkling ones, instead, offer the additional sensation whilst drinking, we experience as refreshing. Although I have to admit that I drink more of aromated still water in my time, if it comes to plain water I’d also prefer the con gas type, in Germany called ‘Sprudel’ – or ‘Selters’, after the most common brand.
    ‘Soda’ in German language is also used only for water, cola et al are referenced to as ‘Limonade’, being drunk firstly for their taste, not the prickling.
    Hope to have helped you get a better insight why we are so fond of this ‘tasteless’ stuff.

  2. Hadn’t thought about the feel of it. Again, I associate some sort of taste when my drink has bubbles, but could see it being more appealing that flat water for some. Then again, here in the States it’s common for people to order water with lemon, so I think they prefer some flavor even when the water is still.

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