Drinking Foggy Water
I have always been a little cynical about the value of bottled water. It always irritates me when a waiter tries to palm me off with an expensive bottle of ‘French Mountain Spring’ water, when there are perfectly good bottled waters available in the Canary Islands. Not only is it a travesty for the carbon footprint linked to any product, but why is French bottled water better than anyone else’s?
Of course the answer is commercialisation and profit. Over the years we have been led to believe that bottled water is somehow better for us than the water running freely from our taps, although I accept that use of a water purifier and filter is always a good idea to avoid stomach upsets. Yes, the addition of a fancy label and a posh French-sounding name adds up to quite an expensive bottle of water.
A few years ago I had the good fortune to spend an entertaining evening with an engineer who worked for a water company in London. His description of the chemical composition of tap water, including the side effects caused by some of the chemicals that cannot be removed, which can lead to the development of impressive breasts in men, led me to look at bottled water in a new light. It was then that I discovered the joys of mountain mist.
Mountain mist is collected from the highest peaks of the Canary Islands, which is now being bottled and sold as drinking water. It is collected on the island of Gran Canaria from fog at altitudes of 16,000 metres above sea level and sold under the brand name of Alisios, which is the name given to chilly, damp tropical winds that give the Canary Islands their typical climate at high altitudes. As much as 20,000 litres of clean water is collected from the mist in 30 prism shaped containers each month. This cool, steamy mist is sold as ‘Canarian Mist Water’, a process that is also kind to the environment since it leaves no waste and there are no emissions from the process.
It seems that the collection of mountain mist for use in this way is not new since there are accounts of similar water collection processes in historical accounts that date back a mere 2000 years. Pliny the Elder gives an account of the Garoe tree being ‘milked’ in a similar manner, which filled man-made ponds – a kind of early reservoir. The water collected provided drinking water in an area with no rivers. More recently, in 1948, a man from the island of El Hierro avoided a devastating drought by collecting water ‘milked’ from trees in zinc containers, which was then sold to villagers.
So next time you are offered an expensive bottle of ‘French Mountain Spring’ water in a pricey restaurant, maybe ask for a bottle of Canarian Mountain Mist water instead? That should stop the waiter in his tracks.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com or read his book, ‘Expat Voice’ (ISBN: 9780992767174). Available in paperback, as well as Kindle, iBooks and Google Play editions.
© Barrie Mahoney