Rolling hills, a light mist, and stunted green trees as far as the eye could see; the only place I could think to relate Munnar to was The Shire. This picturesque landscape is India’s source for everything tea related, and considering there is never a time you cannot see tea trees, this makes perfect sense. The second afternoon we were in this tea paradise, a few of us went on a short trek up a mountain to get a better view of the environment. And WOW. It reminded me of how I felt a few weeks back when we went to learn about the Taj Mahal, and I just spent a few minutes staring at the structure from a distance. Practically waiting for the scene to fall down, as if it was simply a giant postcard. This view from the mountain looked too good to be true. I can’t even describe how perfect it looked and felt, but the picture can give you a pretty good idea.
One morning we had the opportunity to pick tea leaves from the field, see how it is processed, and then got to take home the tea that we picked ourselves. I don’t think that I would like to spend my days picking tea, but I am glad I got to experience this beginning stage. Our main project during this trip was to practice our business skills and create a plan for a potential tea company, so being right in the heart of tea central really helped us connect. My group members Jonah, Tiana, Paul, and I worked efficiently and collaboratively throughout our time in Munnar and then came up with a plan to start a business that we were very proud of. Unfortunately, the “panel,” a group of teachers, did not choose to invest in our idea. However, the four of us are still quite impressed at how well we worked together and we had a great time! So, all worked out well. 🙂
One of my favorite moments during this trip was when a few of us stopped in the smallest part of town for a tea break. Our guide assured us that we wanted our tea with milk and sugar, then proceeded to offer us fried peppers and bananas. We watched a skilled elderly man simmer milk and mix in roughly 10 heaping tablespoons of sugar. He added the tea and then poured it in a fashion that should be thought of as doing it in the most difficult way, but it looked professional in a way. Carefully and quickly, he spilled the tea into six cups and passed them around. It tasted absolutely amazing. I think the chilled air surrounding us made us appreciate the hot drink even more. The whole senario felt like the perfect moment though. Then we picked up some more of Munnar’s second specialty, homemade chocolates (Dark chocolate was the best), and made our way back into small city surrounded by tea fields for as far as the eye can see.