“How many stories can you write about India?” Dan Robertson of The Tea House asked me. “Well, Dan, here’s another one – and this one involves you.”
Frankly, there isn’t an answer to Dan’s question – a once-in-a-lifetime trip spins many stories. At our San Diego Tea Meetup group on July 17, I presented a slide show of my trips to the tea fields of India, China, and the Charleston Tea Plantation here in America. We focused mostly on India, sipped Indian teas, and journeyed deep into the fields and factories. Along the way, we also enjoyed the fashion as well as the fascinating sites of the upper northeastern region of India. We climbed the hills and winding roads of Darjeeling, soared down to the bumpy plains of Dooars, and even ventured as far as Bihar, which takes you very close to the borders of Nepal and Bangladesh. All of these expeditions took me to tea fields. I only mentioned fashion because my daughter, Savannah – who has helped me serve tea since she was nine (she is entering her senior year of high school) – and I were dressed in sarees that I brought back from India.
I have shared my photos and slide show with many groups, but this was the first time I showed them to tea enthusiasts while we were actually sipping tea from some of the estates in the presentation! Even people who have had a very limited exposure to tea truly enjoy seeing the different shots I have of the various tea fields. So you know tea lovers look at the photos with completely different eyes.
Low and behold, Dan Robertson kept showing up in my presentation! Dan and I were both guest speakers at the first Indian Tea Forum in Siliguri, India in October 2010, and were both guests of Rajiv Lochan from Lochan Tea. Although Dan only stayed in India for three days and I stayed for over a month, we traveled together to several estates – this was not his first visit to this part of India. During the presentation, I mentioned Dan’s upcoming 2012 tea tour to India and Sri Lanka. Folks were very interested and when one woman from our San Diego group mentioned that she would be traveling with Dan and his 2011 group to China, folks got very excited indeed. We will ask our Tea Meetup member to share her experiences with our group when she returns from Dan’s tea tour in late summer / early autumn.
Just one more Dan Robertson story to share – if I may? While recently attending this year’s World Tea Expo, a trip to the ladies room, which was a very busy place at The Las Vegas Convention Center, led me to strike up a conversation with two women from San Diego. You guessed it – they are both joining Dan as well on his 2011 tea tour!
So you see, tea enthusiasts get together to socialize, to sip, and to learn about tea and tea experts share their love and knowledge of tea every chance they get. Best of all, those of us in the world of tea support each other in whatever way we can.