Monday, August 17, 2009

Tea Plantation

We got to visit a Tea Plantation while we were traveling in Kerala (South India). The Plantation is near Kumily in the mountains known as the Western Ghats.The plantation was very large. We saw lots of tea plants, but the first thing we learned was there is only one kind of tea plant! How we get many kinds of tea is because of where it is grown. The tea is in different climates so we get many different flavors.
This is how tea is made: First the tea leaves are trimmed off the tea plants. Then workers take the fresh leaves and suck the moisture out of the leaf. The factory uses big fans and trays for this. Next the dried leaves are roasted on a moving belt over a wood fire. Then machines separate and grind the leaves. Another machine sifts the tea into full leaves, bits of leaves and powder. This is a big pile of roasted tea! Tea powder is what goes inside a tea bag. Loose leaves are what we use for masala chai (spiced tea).
Our favorite tea is hot milk-tea with a lot of sugar!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

We went to the Periyar Wildlife Preserve near Kumily, Kerala. The Preserve is in a mountain forest. It was way, way colder than where we live near New Delhi!First we went on a jeep ride through the forest. On the way we saw lots of animals: giant black squirrels, wild elephants (even a baby elephant), bison, Sanbars and two kinds of macaques (monkeys). We also saw what we thought was an inchworm... it was really a leech! A leech sucks your blood and looks like a little inchworm. Our dad had 6 or 7 on his ankles at one time. Gross! We found out that if leeches suck too much blood they die.

After the jeep ride we ate breakfast. We had fruit, idli, sambar, fried eggs and chai. Then we went trekking for 3 1/2 hours. We were way up on the top of mountains - sometimes in the clouds! We hiked across a river and got our feet very wet. There were lots and lots of leeches on the trail. Leeches hate salt so we used some on our feet and special leech-socks to keep them away. The socks go up to your knees to help keep the leeches from biting you!

We had lunch after our trek and then went on a rowboat ride and climbed a waterfall. The boat ride was very short. I wanted it to be longer. Before we left the park we saw a small museum full of animal bones. The had all of the bones from a female elephant! Then we went back home through the jungle to the hotel in our safari jeep. It was a long day, but very fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


We just got back from our trip to Kerala. We traveled there by plane. It was a four hour ride and had one stop in Mumbai before we landed in Cochin, Kerala. When we got there it was very late so we looked around and then we ate dinner. Do you know that Kerala is the coolest place we have been to in India? The temperature there is in the 80's during the day. We even went up into the mountains were we all had to wear jackets!
Kerala looks very different than Delhi. It is green, clean and developed. Kerala has less people so it is easier to keep clean. There are HUGE fishing nets and coconut trees. We stayed in a 3 star hotel in Fort Cochin. It has a pool and we stayed upstairs. The color of the hotel is white, green and light red.
Another thing that is different about Kerala is that there are lots of Christian churches there. We went to a beautiful, old, large one that was built by the Portuguese and the Dutch.