Passion fruit juice is my favorite juice of all time. It is called "parchita" in Venezuela, "maracuya" in Costa Rica, and both "mburcuya" and "maracuya" in Paraguay.
No, not confusing at all.
Whatever it may be called, I love it! It's always in season in Venezuela and I grew up drinking the stuff. It cuts your thirst like no other juice. In Costa Rica it was known for lowering blood pressure, and in Paraguay they tell me it makes you sleepy. Passion fruit juice makes you sleepy? I had never heard that, however, I recently learned that if you drink gallons of it at one sitting then, yes, it will make you sleepy.
When my parents were here visiting in November we took them out to one of our favorite restaurants, La Paulista. It's a Brazilian style steak house and the food is really good. So is their passion fruit juice. They bring the juice to you in small glass pitchers. Each pitcher holds about two servings of juice. We can chug the stuff down pretty fast, because we're all passion fruit (or parchita, or maracuya, or mburucya...) fanatics. My parents loved the food and juice so much, we went back another day with my two sisters.
"Oh, you just have to try their passion fruit juice!" We told the girls this many times on our way to the restaurant.
After being seated by the very kind waiter, we all placed our orders for "The Juice." Imagine our dismay when he said they were all out.
"Yes, sir. We're all out."
"You mean you're out of The Juice that comes in glass pitchers? Cold and frosty? Ya know...when you bring the small pitcher to the table...?"
"Oh! That Juice. No, we have some. I will bring you a pitcher of juice."
And off he went. We were happy. He returned with a glass pitcher of The Juice which we basically inhaled.
"We want four more pitchers, please."
"Yes, four more pitchers. Please."
"Yes. Four more pitchers of The Juice."
"You want FOUR? But there are only six of you."
By now we're wondering what is wrong with this guy. Each pitcher is about two servings of juice. We can all easily drink that. Finally, the point was made and he understood that we wanted Four, yes, FOUR, pitchers of Our Favorite Juice Of All Time.
We all ate contentedly, stuffing our faces with the delicious food, getting more full by the minute and wondering where our Juice was.
Then it came.
Four HUGE pitchers, full to the brim, of The Juice.
Gone were the cute little personal glass pitchers, and in their place were four tall, pitchers of juice with about two liters in each pitcher. That's 8 liters of juice...for six people.
Who are already full.
However, these six people are not your regular run of the mill people. We have blazed jungle trails, had babies at home, built houses out of duct tape, lived overseas, survived military coups, and WE CAN DRINK THE JUICE!! All of it! Because there's no way on this earth we're going to admit being wrong to the waiter. He did try to warn us, after all.
For a while we sat in awe. Each one of us estimating how much room there was left in our stomachs...Not much considering we had eaten a considerable amount of cow, chicken and pork.
Brian poured us all a glass, and it began.
We chugged down the first glass. Not too bad.
Then the second...then the third...by glass number four our we're all taking dainty little sips, and glancing at the waiter our of the corners of our eyes. We didn't feel stupid. Not one bit.
As we drank glass, after glass, after glass of the juice I thought I heard something...a tiny voice...turns out it was my stomach pleading for mercy. I ignored my stomach's pleas and said to myself, "Must. Drink. The. Juice!" And I drank some more...
Finally, the mission was complete. The Juice That Never Ends was gone. Every last drop.
We paid our bill and tipped the waiter with a cocky sense of "Ha! We showed them!" I think I may have heard them laughing as we walked out the door. "Hey, Pablo! Did you see that group of Yankees that were dumb enough to order FOUR pitchers of juice !!! (Cackle,cackle)
Then began our trip home. The roads in Paraguay are known for being, um, AWFUL. "Bumpy" is an understatement, but it's the word I will use for now. I had never noticed how bumpy the roads really are till I had a stomach full of liquid. With every bump, our stomachs sloshed. With every slosh, we groaned.
The road home went something like this:
"Grooooaaannn...." by six very "sloshy" people.
At one point during the ride home some brave soul asked, "Why didn't we just leave the juice?"
The car got quiet. What exactly were we trying to prove? Maybe we just wanted to give the waiters something to laugh about that day. Maybe we feel like good stewards for not wasting the juice. Maybe we just needed a funny story to remember. Who knows?
What I DO know is this: The Paraguayans are right. Passion fruit juice makes you very sleepy. We all went home and crashed on our beds...well, first we stood in line outside of the bathrooms, THEN we went to take naps.
Maybe it was one of those "you had to be there" kind of things, but it makes us all chuckle and therefore, it must be blogged about!