Monday, 15 October 2012

The drink that cheers...

DAY 15 - Anyone for a drink?
We head off in our van to the Kanan Devan Hills Tea Plantation and museum. Where we learn all about the history of tea which originated in China in the 4th century, but dates back to the 1880's in this area. Tea grew in popularity as...
...The affordable drink for the common people

Tea plantation at Munnar, Kerala India
We get to see the manufacturing process which looks largely unchanged....

This KDH tea company was previously owned by the Indian multinational conglomerate TaTa Group, however they sold out at the time of depressed tea prices in 2005....Life in the hills has turned a full circle each employee is now a shareholder in the Company that their fore founders helped to build....

The tea shop.... Where we can buy: Tea "The cup that cheers but does not inebriate". this was the slogan promoting tea as an alternative to alcohol, mid-19th century; associated with the temperance movement.
We explore the hill station of Munnar itself, which is nothing special, a large commercial town....Having found that our hotel is dry, the girls set off to find the nearest Bottle Shop/Off-License/Liquor Store depending on which one of us was asking for directions! Asking the auto rickshaws drivers produces a vague wave and a point and off we set..

We find ourselves in a insalubrious back street in front of a small Dickensian shop with a large metal grill, behind which are neat rows of bottles mostly spirits and a few very grubby beers.
There is a queue of men who order from the unsavory character behind yet another metal grill with a small opening at the bottom. They grab their alcohol (given to them tightly wrapped in newspapers), then rush out shoving the alcohol inside their dhoti's before leaving.
The men in the queue behind get agitated at all our questions and the length of decision making time as they await their fix....

Eventually we find what we are looking for the drink that really cheers... and also inebriates.... although the girls tell me that they needed a lot of the gin to feel in the slightest bit tipsy....

When we checked in to Tall Trees we were suprised to find a small packet of Tetley Tea, which seemed particularly unexotic (Tetley the a market leader in the UK & Canada & a popular brand in the US and Australia - 'as common as muck....') However we later find out Tata beverages own Tetley and so it is the local from now onwards
.....Only Tetley will do!

.....and mine's a large gin!

Little Wandering Wren

Location:Munnar, Kerala, INDIA

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