Aloe vera drink: four stars for what is usually a two star plant with a zero star fruit. Aloe vera is a versatile plant, which has been used to cure almost every known ailment involving almost every known body part. Unfortunately, the fruit of the Aloe vera plant is not well studied, and very little information is available on the fruit’s suitability for consumption. This uncertainty about the toxicity of the fruit, coupled with its unavailability, has forced me to reevaluate my entire review process. As of today, I will no longer be artificially limiting my reviews to fruits, and will henceforth consider reviews of any member of the plant kingdom.

This particular specimen was an Aloe vera based drink. The drink is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and artificially flavoured with some sort of grape ester. There are small pieces of Aloe vera floating in the drink, which taste and feel like grape jelly. It is delicious. The drink is sweet and flavourful enough that it can be diluted in the ratio of one part drink to four parts water. This high concentration is a boon to miserly consumers looking for a cost-effective drink, but a drink that requires dilution is less suitable for transient consumers where convenience is required.

I took a break, while my eldest nephew propelled the raft with the extended curtain rod. I took off my shoes and socks and let my feet dangle into the water. The sun was warm. I closed my eyes and listened to the water lapping against the melon raft.

When I woke up, my forearms and the top of my feet were burnt bright red. I saw that my eldest nephew was similarly afflicted. Our raft badly needed a shade cloth if we were to continue travelling at this time of day.

In the evening, we moored the raft by the bank of the river and set camp. I gave my nephew the machete and instructed him to go find some herb which could be used to produce a healing unguent or salve to treat our burns. I cooked tomato soup. Some hours later, my nephew returned with several fronds of Aloe vera, which he had discreetly harvested from a nearby garden. We sliced the fronds open and rubbed the sticky gel on our arms and our feet.