Continued from ‘Go4BioDiv: traveling to Bavaria’
From the main road, we walked to the lone rough road that connects the Wilderness Camp to the rest of the world, quite literally so I should say. From afar, I saw white spots in the sea of green. As I made my way through the clearing, the white spots took the shape of something not quite right. It can’t be… a couple of Mongolian gers. In Germany. But there they were, in their stout and white glory, like white flying saucers that safely landed on earth. Other typical houses from different parts of the world were also constructed on the expansive open ground. Talk about diversity. Among those most accessible are the Venezuelan Cabana, Vietnamese hut that resembles the Philippines’ bahay kubo, Chilean casa, and a couple of Benin huts adjacent to the dirt road.
Once like mythical figures who orchestrated the preparations for the event through email, we finally put a face to the names of the organizers. A couple more participants from Bavaria and neighboring Czech Republic joined us that day. We had our first proper meal together as a group that night. I wonder how the tastebuds of Joary from Madagascar and ErShan from China reacted to the typical German meal of bread, cold cuts, and dips we had that night. The first time is always difficult, as they say. I remember the curious looks on the faces of Ly and Chi from Vietnam as they took a bite of the sandwich filled with a slice of under-cooked chicken I offered them in the bus earlier.
Photo courtesy of Bavarian National Park, GTZ, and Christina Frank
I was assigned to live in a Waldzelt (forest tent) with a couple of Brazilians, a Mexican, a Mauritanian, a Venezuelan, and a Czech. Don’t feel sorry for me with this crowd. The tent’s humble name belies its true appearance. If tents were rated, this one would be a five-star. It was spacious enough to accommodate eight people. The waldzelt is made of wood with some glass furnishings for ambient light to pass through. It didn’t have electricity like the other tents, but which camping tent has, anyway? It was the lone tent which had heating from firewood. Beds with comfortable mattresses lined the sides of the tent and chests in the middle served as our closet. Other groups, on the other hand, slept in hammocks and on earth pads. No return, no exchange policy applied.
We capped the long day around the campfire with some singing (I knew it! At least there was no dancing). On the same night, I had my first taste of Bavarian beer. I heard of stories that portrayed Bavarians to drink beer much like water or juice, a more impressive version was a doctor who took a break from the operating room to drink a mug of beer. Some roasted Stockbrot (literally ‘stickbread’) on the open fire. The musically-inclined ones struggled with the guitar in finding a tune that was common to many. This, we realized later on, despite our different tastes, preferences, and languages, doesn’t really matter.
(to be continued…)