It is absolutely amazing just how common Coca-Cola is. We have found it in ever city, in every country, in every restaurant, of our entire trip. We have found in on islands and every sidewalk vendor we’ve seen. When we traveled La Moskitia in Honduras we encountered people with virtually nothing from the outside world, except Coca-Cola cooled with a solar powered refrigerator.
I think the thing that most impresses me is just how many different sizes of Coke bottles we’ve found: 237ml, 250ml, 12oz, 295ml, 410ml, 16oz, 500ml, 600ml/20oz, 625ml, 1L, 1.325L, 1.5L, 2L, 2.25L, 2.5L, 3L, & 3.5L bottles. And I doubt that’s even all of it. Cokes supreme dominance is something that is completely remarkable. So completely does it dominate that even though every snack stand is filled with Frito-Lay (owned by Pepsi-Co) products they almost never have Pepsi. Always Coca-Cola.
Fitting that in Peru, home of Inca Cola…the beverage that Coke finally purchased a few years ago rather than continue with beverage wars…we really start to learn about the Coca leave itself. (By the way, Inca Kola is basically liquid bubble gum. So if you like bubble gum you will LOVE Inca Kola).
So the truth you ask? Rumors have always abounded about Coca-Cola´s relation with this controversial plant. In Peru and Bolivia we chew it to help with the altitude and even make a tea out of it. Dare we bring it back to the USA, we´ll likely be arrested…so how could Coca-Cola be pulling this off?
They won their court case way back at the start of the century and up to at least 1985 it had been confirmed that our fuzzy drink contains extract from the coca leaf.
Really though, this isn´t so important. Coca-Cola, if indeed its newer formula does still contain coca extract, only uses it for flavoring. The ironic thing here is that many people will tell you that coca is not a drug. These are probably the same people who are drinking it in tea and chewing it to help with the altitude. Of course its a drug if you use it for these purposes…but that doesn´t make it any more dangerous than the fix any of us gets from the caffeine in a cup a coffee or relief from some Tylenol.
The coca leaf itself is one of the world´s first plants to come under domestication, used in the Andes by indigenous peoples for millennium for a variety of purposes a brief google search will only begin to mention. It´s powers to heal and help are many but obviously its power to cause harm can be great as well.