Posted by: travelrat | January 1, 2017

Travel Theme: Leaves

teahouse-chengdu

Happy New Year, everyone! 

It seems rather an odd time of year to be writing about leaves, because there aren’t any. Even the ones I gathered up in the garden went down to the recycling centre a month ago. But, this week’s Travel Theme subject does let me tell a story from a couple of years back.

After a night of strong gales, I was at the railway station, when an announcement came over the speakers that the train would be delayed because of ‘leaves on the line’ … followed by:

‘I know that’s what we always say, but this time, it’s serious. The leaves are still on the tree!’

However, there are other kinds of leaves … leaves (pages) of a book; leaves on an expanding table … and, of course, tea-leaves.

Not that you come across them much any more; most people just toss a tea-bag into a cup and pour hot water over it. I’d guess that anyone who used to tell fortunes this way have a pretty thin time of it nowadays.

Unless you go to China, where they take their tea seriously. Go into a Chinese tea-house and ask for tea, and it comes in an ornate lidded vessel with a lid on it. The tea-leaves … whole leaves, not the shredded ones we’re used to … are floating in the water, and you use the lid to keep from swallowing them. From time to time, a waiter will come round with hot water to top up your brew … it’s surprising how many times you can do this, and still retain the flavour.

We’re off to South America in a couple of weeks, where the drink of choice is mate. This is a similar sort of arrangement, but they use the leaves of the yerba plant. And, you keep the leaves where they belong by drinking it through a straw, with a sort of grille at one end. And, in Cuszco, where we’ll finish up, they recommend coca tea which helps to combat mountain sickness. I think I’m going to be needing rather a lot of that!

The first contribution of the year to the weekly Travel Theme. More takes on leaves at https://wheresmybackpack.com/2016/12/31/travel-theme-leaves/ 

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  1. […] Travel Theme: Leaves | Travelrat’s Travels […]


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