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People Staff
September 10, 2008 AT 10:00 AM EDT

Viggo Mortensen will never stray from his mate, a traditional tea that’s consumed in many South American countries. Mate looks like dry green herb, and you drink it with a pipe that works a lot like a straw.

The 49-year-old actor, who grew up in Argentina when he was a kid, says he can’t start off his day without some mate. Unfortunately the Eastern Promises actor realizes mate can’t be found in many places around the world, so he chooses to take his own stash with him when he travels.

You can see how taking bags around with you, filed with unidentifiable green herb can cause some problems. While traveling to the Toronto Film Festival, the actor experienced some trouble firsthand: “Of course they asked me if it’s a bong or a pipe to smoke pot. I’ve made the mistake of putting the mate in a plastic Ziploc bag instead of its original packaging, so that it ends up looking like pot. At first, they always think the worst, but then you explain to them what it is, and it’s always been OK,” said the actor.

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