The locals think it is cold and the fashion accessory to have in NE is ear muffs. Many of our hotel staff even wear them indoors. These muffs connect around the back of the neck rather than the top of the head and are very practical and demur in their plain dark colours. I think they will be just the thing for cycling in the depths of winter for someone who hates hats. We stop at a roadside stall and pick up a pair each for 25p. I am shocked by how pleased I am with this simple purchase, though it is not quite as good as the Ganesh picture I got for 10p in Kandy.Pedro We cycle out of town into the hills, heading we hope, for the Pedro Tea estate as the mist and drizzle start to descend. Just as we are about to abandon this attempt, the tower of the Pedro factory looms out of the mist. The approach is less than impressive, a pot-holed track, barking pariah dogs, no welcoming touristy signs. We get all the way into the complex without anyone batting an eye. We try the door of the glassed tea centre – it’s open and we can get a cup of tea. Don’t we want the tour? (We’d had a tour the day before, another of Mehesh’s unscheduled stops, so no, just the tea.) The girl who brings it asks to borrow our Rough Guide and seems to find it hilarious. It gets foggier so we leave. Two minutes later the rain starts. We get soaked right through to our underwear. R constructs a clothes line in the room until we discover some time later that the hotel has a drier and will happily dry our clothes and shoes. In our absence Christmas decorations have appeared all over the hotel, including a wreath on our door impeding entrance. We watch the BBC World News headlines – the world didn’t end after all. (Some people had misinterpreted an ancient Mayan text as saying the world would end on 21 December 2012.) Present day Mayans celebrated in Tikal. We celebrated with vegetable curries and a small glass of wine.

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