High Tea

I woke up this morning finding out that I’m all-alone. I was hoping to adventure out with my friend Katie. However she’s not feeling well today which makes it a good day for her and her driver to travel onto Kandy.

Hating Kandy and the way my schedule plays out for the next few days I decided to stay in Nuwara Eliya for another day and explore a little more of the area. As Katie was heading out I bummed a ride down the mountain to some waterfalls I saw on my bus ride here.

We headed off down the road and I soon found myself at the beginning of the trail at the falls. I said goodbye to Katie and then we both went off on our own separate ways.

I quickly found my way along the trail, which coincidently takes you through a restaurant, to the falls. I reach a hill side submit right before dropping down into Ramboda Falls. This hillside had an amazing view of the falls and a sweeping vista of the jungle valley below.

I proceeded down into the falls area were water cascades down 357 feet to the rocky-river bed below. I made my way down close to the base of the falls but realized many of the rocks were smooth and wet. With poor shoes and being alone, I didn’t want to risk easily sliding and breaking my neck. I played it safe even though I wanted to jump all over the rocks like a rock monkey (I made that monkey up).

After the falls I hiked a mile or so back up to the main road. As I walked along the main road I went through a small roadside village and came across three teenagers just sitting on some steps. I went up and asked how they were and what they were doing. They said, ”Nothing. Just talking.” I’ve noticed there’s not much for people, especially young people, to do here. With no TV’s, Xbox, movie theaters, there’s not much for them to do. As I have traveling through towns here, I have noticed people always sitting and talking. Some even play cards or board games to pass the time. I talked with the guys a little longer and then went on my way.

© Matthew Worden

I continued to walk up the road another mile where the road crosses the falls up river. There I found a trial leading back into the woods along the river. After a short distance up river, I came across a few families bathing and playing in a secluded area. They were having a great time and they encouraged me to join them. I contemplated but there were a few people walking around who weren’t part of the family. If I went in the water my equipment could easily walk off. I thankfully passed but had fun playing with them at the water’s edge.

© Matthew Worden

Not wanting to overstay my welcome I said goodbye and hiked back down to the main road and caught the next bus. I was heading back up the mountain into the tea plantations.

I jumped off the bus at the tea plantation factory where I heard they had tours and chocolate cake. As I strolled around the parking lot area I spotted a tour bus unloading a bunch of French tourist lead by a plantation tour guide. I pretended I was with them and quickly joined the back of the mob and found myself on a tour. Once the tour started I realized the whole tour would be given in French but decided to stick around anyway.

After the tour I decided that I would venture into the plantation fields to meet some of these tea pickers. I found a road outside the factory that would lead me high and deep into the tea fields. I hiked my way a mile up traitorous terrain till I met some pickers high on the hill.

I watched as the women waded through these tightly planted short but stiff bonsai like bushes. They would pluck off the new green leafs and their buds. Once they had handfuls of these leaves they would place them in giant burlap sacks that they hung from the top of their heads.

I spent some time photographing them and retreated down the mountain to the main road once again. I jumped aboard another bus and was back at my pink room for the evening.

Before bed I’m having tea with a greater appreciation for the women that made it happen.

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