Sri Lanka (part 2)

People sincerely respect you, smile to you, they don’t bother you if you ask them not to. The majority population in Sri Lanka is Sinhalese, who have Indian, and also South-Asian origins. Many look like a mix of Indians and Thais. Sinhalese language, however, is purely of Indo-European origin.

Sri Lanka Family

In Sri Lanka, there are also other communities such as Hindu Tamils, Arab Moors, descending from 12 century traders, Burghers (of Dutch descent), Malays and about 3,000 aboriginal Vedda people living from hunting in the tropical forest.

Sri Lanka Tamil Girl

A Tamil woman

The Tamils are the Indians that were brought from India to work in tea plantations. To work is to put it smoothly, as even today, it is more of a slave job. Workers, almost all women, gather tea leaves under the burning sun. They forget the roughness of their work by chattering together, laughing, singing…

Sri Lanka Tea Picker

Sri Lanka tea is called till now Ceylon tea. It grows mainly in the middle of the island above 1,000 meters high, on the slopes of the Hill Country. It is a tall tree in its natural state, up to 20 meters high. Pretty much like grapes, it must be cut to concentrate its flavor in the leaves. Sun exposure, altitude and soil greatly influence its taste. The higher it is grown, the more expensive it is valued. A bush lives 4 years, and then it must be cloned.

The same bush can produce green tea or black tea. The only difference lies in processing. Black tea is made by cutting, then bruising the two upper leaves (only) on a bush. Fermentation will ensue; the tea will get a tobacco-like brown color. After that, tea is roasted in a petrol-fueled oven to make it black.

Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor

Green tea, on the other hand, is first steamed to kill fungus and to halt the oxidizing and fermentation action of enzymes. Thanks to this process, green tea has more caffeine and anti-oxidant polyphenols (prevent cell aging) than black tea.

Tea factory Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is really a land of opportunities for photographers. People are always happy to pose in front of my camera. Furthermore, wildlife in Sri Lanka is extremely rich. There wasn’t a day without seeing a wild elephant, a varan, a monkey, a flashy-blue kingfisher, a cobra, to name just a few among many other species.

Sri Lanka monkey

My one and only painful experience was the night ascension of the mountain Adam’s Peak to see the most sacred Buddhist monastery of Sri Lanka. The tour was advised by many guide-books so you can see the sunrise on the mountain. Imagine yourself climbing an abrupt staircase 4 hours in a row. Arrived at the top, for sunrise time, it was pouring glacial showers. Going down was still a torture as other muscles of my legs were solicited. It took me 3 days to walk normally. However, the reward of “making it” was well worth the efforts.  < page 1 <

Sebastian Zelechowski   Tea field in Sri Lanka

2 Responses to “Sri Lanka (part 2)”
  1. phil says:

    one correction they are called Sinhalese and the tea from Sri lanka is called “Ceylon Tea”. It was formerly “Ceylon” but then they changed it.

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  • © Sebastian Zelechowski, Moscow 2011
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