Saturday, November 24th, 2007
Durga ended up having something to take care of in the afternoon, so he put off our plan, but in instead of where ever he had in mind, he invited me for lunch at his place, where I met his wife, daughter, and son. His wife works at the tea factory, just down the hill from their house, where he also used to work but got laid off.
After lunch, he told his son to take me through the tea fields, which was fine with me. A couple of his school friends joined us and we had a good time together as they fooled around like school boys and I took pictures. Their small neighborhood, tucked in the tea fields, was definitely poor, but it seemed like a very peaceful community life. The children all seemed happy and everyone we passed on the way back to Durga's house greeted me kindly and with big smiles.
I got him to drop me off in the market so I could find the internet room and look around at bit. "Downtown" Munnar was just a small bunch of shops, hardware stores, and houses filling in an S-bend in the river but it was busy with market goers, rickshaws, and buses. I picked up a 15 rupee package of postcards to get a good idea of what there was to see around Munnar.
One image that really caught my attention was of "top Station" where beyond the sloping tea field, thick white clouds wrapped around steep, jagged mountain peaks.
It was about a 20 minute walk back to JJ Cottage, but I was getting used to it now, learning when to cross the road to avoid the muddy patched, and where I didn't want to be walking when one of the big, red Munnar-Kochi buses came rolling by. There were a few nice looking restaurants and tea shops along the way and I thought I take a look at some of them. After be spoilt on Chinese and Korean green teas, I wasn't much interested in the dry, flaky, bitter looking Indian green tea, but I did sample a package of local black tea blended with white. When I got back to my room, I brewed some with the small pot and kettle I'd bought in Chinatown on my last day in Bangkok. It was sweat, creamy, smooth, and delicious. One of the best black teas I'd ever sipped, and for 250 rupees, more than double what I'd paid for the other black tea, it still felt like a steal!