Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nepali Tea and A View

I am just home from a lovely three days at the beach in South Carolina and while I hope to post on the great beach family fun we all shared I simply must start off with.....HOLY GUACOMOLE THE CAMELLIAS IN SOUTH CAROLINA ARE EEEEEN-CREDIBLE!  I have never seen such an explosion of camellias and I was ready to move in to at least half a dozen homes along the road and sip sweet tea in the presence of this majestic flower.  Knock knock knock, "why hello, may I live here?  Please?"
My children thought I had completely lost it as we careened down the backroads with mommy yelping and squealing, "look at that one! look at that one!"  Everywhere they bloomed, their blossoms like the painted roses of Alice in Wonderland.  One tree, easily twelve feet tall, was packed with baby pink blooms and a skirt of petals around it like a tutu.  Lola loved that one.  DD was hoping for blue.

The only disappointment was as much as I would have loved to knock on these doors, I am actually quite shy about approaching people and couldn't drag myself to photograph on someone else's lawn so I only stole this one tiny photo as we pulled out of town, in a downpour.   I tiptoed (in the rain) and looked around me as if I was doing something very wrong (not conspicuous at all) and found myself face to face with this gorgeous bloom.....

The camellia.  If I had my way we would plant fields of them but just one would do.  Ruby red or brightest pink.....sorry, DD, no blues to speak of.
Returning from our trip through South Carolina, I began looking into the camellia more and found something out I had never before realized.  Years ago I spent five months in Nepal including one blissful month in the mountainous region of Ilam.  What I did know was that Ilam is known for its' delicious tea, similar but (in my opinion), a bit smoother than the more well-known Darjeeling.  What I did not know was this delicious tea, and more-so, the mesmerizing tea fields, are all from the camellia sinensis, or "tea plant." As I have found, the camellia's are an incredible family full of widely used oils, teas and blooms.  Take a look at this photo I took in in the Ilam tea fields.
Tea walking,  through camellia sinensis.
The tea fields leave an impression like no other.  Rolling mounds of green bushes densely spread through the steep landscape of far-east Nepal.  Tiny houses tucked in between land folds and surrounded by green as deep as the snow that follows come winter.

Traveling friends enjoying tea and a view. 
I didn't knock on these doors either but as the pathways through the Himalayan mountains are more aptly referred to as "foot highways" you can't help but have face-to-face encounters.  These encounters, complete with tea, kindness, and mountain views provided incalculable inspirational value.  

So from those years past as well as the three days I have just spent in the South I add this to my dream basket.....a single beautiful camellia growing in my garden; a hillside of camelia sinensis....tea and camellias.  If that little dream comes true, I will leave a sign on the road saying, "Stop for tea, a blossom and a story."  If you haven't already bored of it, we can sip and chat the day away offering thanks to the camellia, thanks to a long ago trip to South Carolina, and an even longer past trip to Nepal.  

and Thank YOU for stopping by,

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