despite all the climbing it's still my cup of tea
19.01.2009 - 21.01.2009 22 °C
Munnar equals tea plantations. In fact, as we drove from Thekkady we knew we’d arrived in Munnar when the tea plantations started.
Close to 7,000 feet above sea level, Munnar is a very lush, green, picturesque hill station that is totally unspoiled – home to tea, coffee and cardamom plantations.
The drive was long, but gorgeous and we stopped several times to take pictures – and to sample some water coconuts – they look nothing like the ‘hairy’ cocoa-coloured coconuts we’re used to at home. These are bigger, smooth, greenish and need to have their tops hacked off with a hatchet – easier said than done. Then you can drink the coconut water, which is delicious – and then you eat the jelly.
It’s very good.
Our resort – Tall Trees – is up a very steep incline – and keeps inclining – even to get to the restaurant it’s all uphill. We each had our own two-story cottage, set amongst – you guessed it – tall trees.
The setting is gorgeous – very eco-friendly – full of colourful flowers and leaves and trees of every shape and description. And, it’s located on a 66-acre cardamom plantation. Just glorious – and certainly as opposite to the luxury we experienced in Rajasthan as can be.
This is nature at its best -- rustic … pure … simple. Waterfalls, lakes, streams and hills abound. It can also be quite cool, although we’re lucky. It’s sunny and lovely.
Last night Marney and Rashmi were afraid we’d be cold so they called and asked for some hot water bottles for all of us to keep in our beds (we got them in the desert and also at Spice Village). They were told this resort “doesn’t provide that service” … but lo and behold, just a few minutes went by and there was a knock at their door.
There stood a young hotel employee proudly carrying a tray upon which stood five, 500 ml plaster drinking water bottles which they’d made hot for us. Very sweet indeed – and very creative thinking too. That’s what they’re like here. They will do anything to make you feel welcome and cherished.
This morning after breakfast we visited a tea plantation and learned how tea is processed – you will be sorry to learn that the awful truth is that the dregs of the batch get shipped to North America. Then we went to a nursery where I went insane shooting pictures of flowers – and also saw members of a women’s club who were all dressed in turquoise saris – set amongst the flowers it was just a breathtaking sight.
More water coconuts on the side of the road, a nice lunch at a buffet restaurant near town, a walk through Munnar Village and back to the hotel for dinner (and hopefully to watch at least part of Obama’s inauguration – it will be the first time in a month I’ve watched TV. We’ve had TV everywhere we’ve been but I’ve not put it on once. After my third day in India I stopped reading newspapers too – even the local ones.
I have no idea what’s going on in the world and right now I don’t care. I guess I’ll find out soon enough, because tomorrow we go to Cochin – we’re there for one night – and then it’s back home.
This month has gone so quickly I can’t believe it’s virtually over. This has been the most marvelous experience. I’ll be back …