Elephant Orphanage

25th September 1981

The first stop of the morning was at the Elephant Orphanage twenty five miles from Kandy. There we met several teenage elephants already grown quite huge and half a dozen smaller ones. The youngest was only two months old and especially cute. He sucked Bob’s finger quite happily and downed three pints of milk at a sitting. The other greedy youngsters devoured five or six pints and the older elephants ate 250 lbs of greenery a day.
Only elephants found abandoned in the jungle are reared and once they are old enough they move down the road to work and training camps.

We continued driving to Nurawa Eliya in the hills of Sri Lanka. On the way we stopped at a tea plantation and learned how tea is grown and prepared. The best pure Ceylon tea is known as Broken Orange Pekoe and the second is BOP filings. The tea bags we have been using are made from the dust that is left after the six better grades of tea are produced and is literally swept up from the floor. Tea should never leave tannin stains behind in the cup.

The St Andrews Hotel at Nurawa Eliya is a hundred-year-old Dutch building still with its original fittings and furnished. The place has a distinct Scots affiliation with its tartan carpets! There is also a distinct coolness in the atmosphere because we have climbed into the hills. I didn’t think there would be such a difference, but there is. Evidently the cooler temperatures are good for tea-growing. The food at dinner was the best so far but for the Oberoi Lanka in Columbo.


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