The curse of bottled water

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Six of us were dining in Tarragona on Tuesday night, and the topic of bottled water came up. We all agreed, it is a scandal that diesel fuel is being used to move bottled water around the earth's surface when often it has no chemical advantage whatever over tapwater. What an ecological disaster. What a ripoff. We all insisted we wanted tapwater, and our Spanish-speaking Catalunya-resident host clearly understood us. But three bottles of spa water duly arrived.

Tonight, in a different restaurant, down by the fishing boat harbor, I was firm: tap water, I insisted; not bottled — I pointed to a bottle and made signs of negation. We spoke in a pidgin composed of Catalan, Spanish, and English, my waiter and I; but I thought he understood me well. I even mimed the turning on of the tap to show that I was serious, it should come out of the faucet.

He returned a few minutes later with some bottled water from Caldes de Boí in the Pyrenees. I meekly drank it.

The Catalan phrase I needed but didn't have at my tongue tip is l'aigua de l'aixeta. But it's too late now: my drinking water was trucked in from hundreds of miles away, and I have contributed to the exhausting of fossil fuels and the death of the planet.

Learn how to say "ordinary drinking water from the faucet, not bottled" in the language of the area you're going to. That's my advice. I know I didn't follow it myself, but hey, do as I say, not as I do.

[Comments open only for those who have never tasted bottled water.]

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