These are a few of my favorite photos- and favorite experiences- from our trip to Sikkim and Darjeeling. Our driver from Pelling, Sikkim, was a local boy who stopped along the side of the road to show us fresh cardamom growing in a field. The leaves of the plants extend above the earth, while the cardamom seeds are close to the ground. The driver, Lobsang, dug in the dirt and pulled out this cluster in which cardamom pods are nestled. He then rinsed the cluster in a nearby mountain stream, revealing the individual pods. Lobsang opened a pod to show us the seeds inside.
We arrived in Darjeeling at dusk, creeping along narrow roads winding through a tea plantation. The road was so narrow that we had to back up into a turnout whenever we encountered another vehicle. Darjeeling district is famous for its tea, and tea gardens are visible along every mountainside. Sam and I toured one nearby garden, where we plucked some tea leaves, flowers and berries.