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Hatton - Friday, 2 February 2018

Visit a tea factory

sunny 24 °C

Hotel - Ceylon Tea Trails, Tientsin, Bogawantalawa, Hatton - Room No Irvine Stewart

We woke to sunshine and beautiful green mountains. Breakfast on the verandah was slow and pleasant. They even had printed a small newspaper with news from Australia. Phyl and Greg didn't join us for breakfast as Greg's mother's funeral was taking place in Australia so they had their breakfast in their room and spent some quiet time together.

Today's Freechoice was between a visit to a tea factory or a mountain bike ride across the tea covered hills. I had chosen to do the mountain bike ride while we were still in Australia but Didier told me in Colombo that I was the only one who wanted to do it and I would have to go on my own, with no guide. As I have absolutely no sense of direction and discovered that the ride was up and down mountains, I decided to forget about the mountain bike ride and visit the tea factory instead.

The weather up here in the hills is a lot more pleasant than lower down. Not too much humidity at all.

We left at 8.45 am in a little mini bus and met up with the other group at the tea factory. It was a one lane mountain road but everyone drives reasonably slowly and they are very polite drivers. No road rage here!

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We visited the Dunkeld tea factory. All the tea factories in the area still maintain their Scottish names and the tea they produce is called Ceylon tea. Why? Because Ceylon Tea has an excellent name on the world market and as the guide said, if they changed the name to Sri Lankan tea, sales would drop because half the world doesn't even know where Sri Lanka is, let alone that it was once called Ceylon.

There is a child minding centre on the property and we called in to say hello to the children. About eight children aged 3 to 6 were sitting at desks in a classroom, in their school uniforms, with ties on. They were learning to write and it was very neat. They were happy to see us and said "hello" in beautiful English. They learn English from a very early age. Phil drew a map of the world on the board and showed the children where Sri Lankan was and where Australia was located.

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We then crossed the hall to the under 3s room. They were so cute and happy to have their photos taken too. Child minding of the tea pluckers children is free.

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We joined a small group of Americans and British people and watched a short video of tea production from whoa to go. Our guide was Bernard who was Mark Forbes god father (Mark was our local guide in Negombo). Then we were guided through the factory and each process was explained in detail. There is so much to tea production that next time I have a cup of tea, I will be a little more mindful of where it came from. And to think, some leaves from a tea tree fell into Emporer Shen Nong's cup of hot water in 2737 BC, and tea was discovered!

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As we were heading back to the bus, the tea pluckers were bringing their morning pickings in to be weighed and recorded in the tally book. They are such tiny women and carry these heavy packs on their backs. I could hardly lift it. If they don't pluck 20 kilos, they don't get paid. But if they do, they get $10 for every 20 kilos. But their housing is provided, along with their food, child care and medical. In a couple of generations, no one will want to be a tea plucker because the children are becoming educated and wanting more from life. Some how they will have to find a mechanical way of plucking the tea without damaging the bushes or compromising the finished product.

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If a tea bush isn't kept low and pruned, it will grow to 60 foot.

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Mr Dilmah

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Our lovey dovey photo at the tea factory.

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We said goodbye (again) to the rest of our group who are staying at Norwood and drove back to Tientsin for lunch on the verandah. Then within about an hour and a half, we were back on the verandah again having High Tea. Does this eating ever stop?

After High Tea, Phil and I went to the jacqusi with our G&Ts. Very nice.

We are now getting dressed for dinner which will be in the formal dining room tonight.

We were served a Sri Lankan curry for dinner with a traditional Sri Lankan dessert to follow. And then for some reason we started to sing and we sang lots and lots of old songs. We asked our waiters to sing a song and they appeared with one of their fellow workers who sang a Sri Lankan love song. It was very nice. We all had a good night even if we were a bit loud. But at least we were the only residents. I think the poor staff was worried that we were going to be up all night singing!

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Posted by gaddingabout 08:37 Archived in Sri Lanka

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