We just got back from Sri Lanka and tea country was certainly the highlight.
We agree that we don’t think we’ve been anywhere quite as beautiful–ever.
The terraced tea bushes were breathtaking–reminiscent of Tuscany’s vineyards.
Tea doesn’t like to sit in water so they have to plant it on steep hills, which makes for such delightful terracing.
Did you know that left to its own devices, tea plants would grow to tall trees, but to make it easier to pick they prune it into short bushes? Many of these bushes were 150 years old!!
In its efforts to ‘be a tree’ it sends out shoots and leaves very rapidly. Each tea plant is picked every seven days. They only want the first and second leaves… and 30% of the time they’ll take the third.
All of the pickers are Tamil women. They pick so quickly and work so hard, it’s really very humbling to watch. The leaves are carried in bags attached to their heads so their arms are free to pick.
The ladies make just $5US a day picking, but their housing, schooling and medical is all covered the plantation owners. Despite all of their hard work for very little money, the women were so happy and greeted us with many smiles.
All of tea country is covered in well-kept paths for the workers, which made for excellent hiking for us. Walking the trails was my favorite part by far of the trip.
And boy were we thankful for our desk jobs after watching these people work!
So although we skipped Turkey and instead had rice and curry, it was still a very fitting place to be for Thanksgiving.
Just below the high-grown tea, at a slightly lower elevation you find lots of tea paddies, which are also stunning.
I can’t even tell you how much I loved that bright, bright, bright green!