Those who know me know my wanderlust as well as my affinity for tea. Some also know I love a good story. While on a recent Caribbean cruise (not a tea tour this time), I began to suffer from a prolonged period without some good tea. Oh, there were teabags. Lipton obviously had the contract for this cruise ship, and no aspersions cast on their products. But I left that world behind a long time ago.

It had been seven long, lonely days at sea (actually only three) since I’d had some “normal” tea. I had left the comfort of my tea cave — with all my precious caddies — and boarded a floating metropolis bound for the open seas and warm tropical ports of call. Once the initial glow of excitement began to fade and I realized that the daily “afternoon tea” that was advertised in the brochure was just a cruel ruse to lure in those afflicted by the caffeinated curse, the whispers of tea-withdrawal-induced panic started to tickle my subconscious. I tried to assuage my “needs” by acquiescing to using a tea bag. “I can just use two” I justified to my inner Smeagle. But soon, I caught myself needed to use three or even four. And sometimes (tea gods forgive me) resorted to adding sugar and even (gulp) milk.

Amid the tightly packed assortment of tea bags at the 24-hour restaurant, I even mistook one red foil envelope (Apple Cinnamon) for another (English Breakfast). Imagine the horror! Expecting an insipid brown infusion to leach out from the paper bag but instead seeing blood red tendrils seeping into the clear water. It seemed like the whole ship started spinning like one of those Psycho movies. Okay, so the boat was gently rocking and it was a bright sunny day. But inside…..!

Tune in Wednesday for the thrilling conclusion! – Tea on the Sea – Part 2

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