My regard for elections has changed several times. In fact, I was pretty much ho-hum about it until I realized what sacrifices some people were willing to make just to be able to cast their vote during the national elections. When I learned that exercising the right to take part in choosing the country's leaders on foreign shores meant many hours -- even days in some cases! -- of walking on dusty roads and rugged terrain to the polling centers, I decided that I was taking things too easy.
Then I recalled that women did not use to be regarded as deserving of the right to vote, which the original Women's Movement fought to change. What countless others had to fight to achieve I was definitely taking for granted.
Another thing I didn't use to appreciate was water. Who would even give a glass of water a second thought when all his life it was just there flowing from the faucet or stored in the refrigerator for the taking, anytime? Well, thanks to those television documentaries, I was enlightened. Imagine entire towns not having access to something as basic as potable water, while in some parts of the world water pipes that burst would be left for days like that or leaky faucets would be nothing out of the ordinary. Why, plants in my area are more fortunate to be getting regular "showers" when families in many hard-to-reach rural areas can't even get a drink!
Well, just a while ago I was pondering the tall glass of iced water that accompanied me as I went online. I had debated with myself whether it would be Dalandan Fruit Soda or plain water that would go into the glass, as this allegedly caffeine-free and "made with real fruit juice" beverage had a way of quenching one's thirst so effectively, I could imagine my throat and airway going "Ahhhhh!" in exhilaration if they could talk every time I downed an ice-cold glass of this drink on a hot day. I chose the water because it's common knowledge that the brilliant makers of any soda work their magic on the product so that any drinker -- after the initial thirst-quenching -- would eventually end up feeling more thirsty and wanting more! I've been feeling this myself. So water it is, with big blocks of ice! It may be tasteless, but it's pure, it won't keep me awake at night, it's got no chance of giving me a sugar high, and it addresses near-dehydration perfectly.
While downing my iced drink, I chanced upon an article on the Wall Street Journal that made me realize yet again that we really can take things for granted. Now it's ice cubes. For those who appreciate iced beverages, check it out:
When it comes to ice, size does matter, not to mention shape, density and clarity. If you prefer your Scotch on the rocks, beware: Small, brittle ice will quickly dilute years of cask aging. No one wants a Bruichladdich slushie.
But large cubes or spheres of ice will melt more slowly, bringing your drink closer to the temperature of the ice without over-diluting it. Larger pieces, such as spears the length of a glass, are ideal for keeping tall, carbonated beverages chilled. And there's a place for pebbled and crushed ice, too: mint juleps, swizzles and many tiki drinks wouldn't be possible without them.
Pretty interesting, huh (even to me, who has never heard of and has no idea what a Bruichladdich slushie is)? I must admit that these days when the tropical temperature is becoming more pronounced, I couldn't care less about the shape and density of the ice cubes that go into whatever I'm drinking. I'd be happy with a cold drink. Period. But then, when I remember the villagers in remote areas in Africa or South America (or even my Asian neighbors) that have to wait for humanitarian projects to be concluded to be able to get a taste of clean water, I'm simply contented with a glass of room-temperature water. My throat may not be exhilarated, but it can do wonders for the soul.
* Photo by Dave Kennard