Our first stop was a tea plantation, where we walked up and down the steep little roads for a couple of kilometers.
Tata, a huge Indian corporation, owns this plantation of 60,000 or so acres. They employ 12,500 Tamils, who live in company housing and enjoy medical and educational benefits in return for small salaries.
The tea plant is a member of the camellia family. These bushes would grow to 20-30 feet tall if they weren't clipped every so often.
The tea leaves ate picked year around. The planters are experimenting with horizontal rows, which make picking easier than the fascinating mosaic patterns carv d out in the hillsides.
Tea plants can live for more than a century, and it may be awhile before it's known whether the new planting pattern is better.
The weather was perfect and we enjoyed both the walk and the information Hadlee shared with us.
All this despite the fact we don't really like tea, except for green on the occasional afternoon.