Friday, August 26, 2011

Ayubowan!

 Ayubowan!
This is the friendly greeting you receive everywhere in Sri Lanka.  Lalith Guy Paranavitana, owner of Empire Tea Services is offering his wonderful Tea Tour of Sri Lanka again this coming January.
If you are even remotely thinking about going, don't hesitate a minute longer.
It was the trip of a lifetime, will be long remembered for its tropical beauty, kind and gentle people, and of course, all that wonderful fresh tea!
Here are a few photos of our memorable trip.
This official greeter at the Galle Face Hotel has been at his post for something like 70 years!
Beautiful Hotels 
Ladies Plucking Tea -- only two leaves and bud for all tea from Sri Lanka!!!

We even plucked some ourselves!
 We visited 4 factories and saw how tea is made from start to finish!  First it is withered in large bins shown here, then rolled to crush the leaf and open the cells so that oxidation can begin.  Then leaves are put on tables to oxidize.  Then dried and sorted by leaf size.  Then, lots of tea tasting.
 
We asked one of the experienced tea tasters how long it took to become proficient at tasting.  He said, "Well, I've been tasting tea every day now, 7 days a week, for 10 years, and I think I am just now getting good at it!" 
The tea tasting at each estate was so much fun. I have never, and may never again, tasted such fresh tea--some that had just finished that day!  That fresh tea aroma in the factories is something I will never forget. 
We got up close to the elephants!

And visited many temples and famous Buddhist sites.

Who knew Cocoa bean pods were this big?

I had to be drug out of this batik store! Beautiful wares!

Majestic waterfalls


The Jeep Safari was so much fun.







We waded in the Indian Ocean.
Wove through narrow, winding mountain roads.

And saw beautiful vistas in every direction!  It's easy to see why Sri Lanka is now one of the top tourist destinations in the world!

3 comments:

Marlena said...

Oh, Elaine, so beautiful, thank you for sharing. I think I would've just hidden under the racks in batik store. I love the photo of the greeter, what a mustache. I bet he's a sweetie.

Marilyn said...

Love seeing your pictures. It reminds me of my time this past spring in Taiwan visiting tea farms. I think the farms we visited we smaller than the one I see here, but still similar process.

Elaine said...

It's so wonderful to see the beautiful tea fields up close. We really enjoyed seeing the hands-on care with which the tea is made. Gave me a whole new appreciation for this "affordable luxury" (per James Norwood Pratt).