Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Welcome to Sri Lanka-Land of Ceylon Tea

I have been so excited to tell you about my trip to Sri Lanka to discover the land of Ceylon teas that I took in January . I am finally sneaking in a few minutes to share a little about it in between writing and deadlines for my new tea book.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island surrounded by the Indian Ocean.  For those of you that don't know where it is, it is located off the southeastern coast of India.  I flew from London to Sri Lanka and spent New Year's day lost in time somewhere high in the sky.  I landed early in the morning and made it just in time to the hotel to watch the sunrise over the Indian Ocean with a cup of Ceylon tea in hand.

The island was occupied by the British until the 1940s, so much of the architecture and design elements reflect a British Colonial look which I love!  The first hotel I stayed at was the Galle Face Hotel.  Here are the large wooden carved doors that are original to the building!  My first day there I spent wondering about this historic hotel as I tried to get acclimated to my new time zone.  My wondering led me to the hotel's interesting royal museum which I will tell you about in my next blog! 

Sri Lanka is ten and half hours ahead of east coast time of the United States and five and half hours ahead of London. So with the plane ride and time change, some acclimating was necessary.  What could be a better way to fight jet lag than by sitting at this pool with the gorgeous ocean view. I think I could get used to any new timezone like that!!

All of our meals were served on this large veranda that faced the ocean. The cool breeze was so inviting. My first day there of course included afternoon tea which is another great way to adjust!   The choices were endless and stretched as far as the width of the veranda.  Some of the selections included things I was familiar with such as finger sandwiches and some were unique to this tropical island's Indian influences.  It was a food adventure to try the unknown.  I also loved the assortment of fruit that was available with all of our meals such as bananas, pineapple, mango, and passion fruit. Most of them tasted much better than what I was used to because of their freshness!

 Any afternoon tea that includes chocolate mousse is a hit for me! How about you?

This hotel seemed to be an oasis for weddings which was intriguing to observe.  It was an introduction to some of the cultural differences and styles of dress for their formal affairs. I was captivated by this bride and her wedding party.  The dresses were ornate and so different than that of what I see in America.  The flowers in this simple bouquet were beautiful.  Does anyone know what they were?  I wonder if I could find them in the states. (Thanks to a reader, I found out they are Nymphaea lotus that may also be called Egyptian White Water Lily or white lotus)

I took a walk alongside the ocean in the evening and happened upon the same bride and groom getting their pictures taken while the sun was setting over the Indian Ocean!  What a wonderful beginning to my trip as I observed this special occasion from afar!

This bowl of floating flowers is what greeted me as I made my way down to the spa for a massage to ease my body of the eleven plus hour flight from London.   I was told that the small white flowers are called temple flowers. I think they are just beautiful floating in the large bowl.


Since I started my blog with the lovely sunrise, I thought I would end it with the stunning sunset that concluded my first day in this new land full of adventures that awaited me!

Come with me as I take you to Sri Lanka.  I will show you some wonderful tea plantations, interesting foods, and beautiful scenery! 

Happy Sipping Ceylon Tea, Lisa

Side Note: Next week, I will be speaking in Sonoma wine country for a private event and then off to Las Vegas for the World Tea Expo.  I would love to meet up with you in Vegas if you are attending this trade-only event.