#1 Prepare for public transport: Choose a bus which is 80-90% occupied and position yourself near the back. Arrange for about 60 friends (or preferably strangers) to rush on and join you at the last minute.

Men travelling by open topped truck through the streets of india

#2 Prepare for the frustration: Write a list of about 10 important jobs which you might hope to achieve in the average day. Include things like posting letters, buying everyday household items, arranging trains/taxis, meeting friends, paying bills &c. Pick one from the list at random. With a lot of pushing and shouting and queuing and hassle this will be the one job you get done today. Now cross off half the remaining list. However important they may seem, and no matter how hard you try,  accept they will never get done. The remaining ones will get done eventually but establish a time frame of between 5-10 times longer and more stressful than you would anticipate.

#3 Preparing for the head-bobble: This is one to try with people in trains/buses/supermarkets/at work &c. Whenever anyone asks a question give NO indication whether you have heard, understood, or know the answer. Instead wobble your head from side to side as if trying to touch your ears to your shoulders. Observe their reaction. The more frustrated they get, and the more they repeat the question, the more insouciant you should attempt to make the gesture.

#4 Prepare for the stray dogs: Run naked through a rubbish tip covered in Pedigree Chum.

Old Indian ambulance crashed and burned out by the side of the road

#5 Prepare for the laundry: Substitute your regular washing powder for a handful of dirt and one or two small rocks. Lay your clothes out on the ground to dry, preferable in a spot where cats/dogs/humans are known to defecate.

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Tea in India

May 11, 2011

No photos this time I’m afraid. My camera, which has suffered weeks of abuse at the beach, the bar and bazaar, had finally had enough. No matter…

Sri Lanka is only separated from India by a few kilometres of sea at the closest point, but they feel worlds apart. We arrived in Chennai airport almost a week ago and have been mixing exploring the Tamil Nadu region with a bit of voluntary work in the Christian Missionary hospital in Vellore. Compared to Sri Lanka it’s hot, dry, dusty, dirty and overpopulated. There’s a lot more poverty evident here, and many people live without basic sanitation, or even a roof over their heads.

As in our country, tea is one of the great social unifiers here. Everyone from the maids and rickshaw drivers to the wealthiest businessmen start their day with a cup of chai. At the hospital canteen where we have breakfast it’s served piping hot in two small metal cups, the contents of which you transfer backwards and forwards to cool it. The doctors, nurses, cooks and cleaners make this look very easy but to the uninitiated like ourselves the result is usually several burnt fingers and a big mess.

Last weekend we explored Pondicherry, an old French settlement to the South, and next weekend we’ve booken tickets to an IPL match – India’s new 20-20 cricket premier league – in Bangalore. Cricket is probably overtaking tea as a national obsession so it will be fascinating to experience it first hand.

Hopefully we’ll have mended/replaced our dying camera by then…

Let’s see shall we?

As usual we’ve left packing pretty last minute. Now was NOT a good time to find out that my rucksack (last used for Duke of Edinburgh, aged 14) has been destroyed by moths and I have LITERALLY only odd socks.

We are setting off on our tea pilgrimage to Sri Lanka, India and China and our flight leaves for Sri Lanka in a few hours.

Bon Voyage Noveltea!

Noveltea are jetted away to Sri Lanka, India and China on a tea pilgrimage

"...Now is not a good time to realize that my rucksack (last used for Duke of Edinburgh, aged 14) has been destroyed by moths and I have LITERALLY only odd socks..."

Noveltea travels far and wide in search of the finest tea on the planet

Join our 3 month adventure through the plantations of India, Sri Lanka and China

 

We have some fantastic news we’d like to share with you! Inspired by tea over many years we are just about to set off on an adventure of a lifetime. Next week we will fly to Colombo for a tour of the tea plantations of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), India and China. We will then return home by train, over 7000 miles via one of the so-called “Silk Routes” through Kazakhstan and Russia, which is the way tea was originally brought to these shores.

We’ll be sorry to leave, as spring bursts through the doors and windows of Tea HQ, but we can’t wait to share with you tales and photos from our trip…