Tea for two and waterfalls too

Today is day release! We go on a day trip and we are off to a tea plantation. The 1 1/2 hr trip brought us back through the busy windy roads that brought us here and then up and into the hills. The last part was very windy and narrow and I wondered how the local busses made it up here with ease, the only thing I thought about apart from trying not to be sick. Remain focused Zoe you can do it.

Entrance sign

We arrived at Ashburnham tea plantation, a beautiful place which was built in the 1930’s with a wonderful colonial look and feel to it. It was like stepping back in time and I can see why they built it where they did. After a lovely refreshing iced tea, we started our tour around the grounds.

Iced tea, we pretended it was whiskey

It started with a spray of our feet with some special citrus liquid which repels leeches, shit what am I about to do? We walked around the grounds and learnt about its heritage and interesting facts about their tea production, far more complicated then I thought it was but much easier then in the thirties, apart from the picking itself. We met the ladies who pick the tea for up to 8 hours a day and even had a go at picking ourselves, whilst wearing the bags they collect up to 22kgs of tea in around our heads.

Me helping, not helping

I am in absolute awe of these ladies and how hard they work, barefoot and in pretty hot conditions. They seemed happy that we were helping, not really sure that we were helping but it was great to see how happy they were to interact with us. I wanted to take one home with me but Rich won’t allow it.

Kind lady that helped show me how to pick tea correctly

We walked back to the house and had a quick check for leeches, only one incident of a leech but it was on a flip flop not skin so it’s ok.

After lunch we then went on a walk to the waterfall, which involved walking down approx 300 steps with amazing views along the way and then popping out into a little clearing of rocks and the lovely waterfall. Peer group pressure meant not going in was not an option, so a quick change and a tentative splash into the water I went. After the initial gasp, I realised it wasn’t actually cold, it was really rather pleasant and we all had a go at standing right under the waterfall for a photo.

When in doubt, pose like a muppet

We splashed around a bit and then made our way to the next pool which was slightly higher up, this was more challenging to gain entry to but again worth the effort. After getting out everyone did a quick check for leeches as two people had been sucked onto already. It reminded me a little of the scene about leeches in the film standby me.

View half way down to waterfall

After the long walk back up the steps, another cup of tea it was time to go home for dinner, watching the amazing sun set out the window of the bus along the way.

Sunset on the way back to base

We had another amazing dinner tonight, they really do know how to make tasty food here. We then had yoga nidra, the art of being asleep but without being asleep and most definitely not snoring.

The yoga building was set up differently and looked amazing as we walked in to lie on our mats in a circle, with all our heads facing inwards. It was a special session where I experienced different sensations and great awareness. As we were guided through this process our teacher spoke of the different colours linked to our chakras and I really could sense the colours and see them too. The weirdest thing was when I guessed the next colour before she said it, very spooky. Maybe this yoga malarkey is for me….

After this we all went to our rooms in silence and went to bed hopefully for a better nights sleep than yesterday.

Day release was pretty good