Samstag, 11. Januar 2014

Tropical nights at the Botanical Gardens

When the city life is too monotonous, I am faced with the choice: Zoo(s) or Botanical Gardens. As in Berlin I am blessed with 2 Zoos and 1 Botanical Gardens, I can rarely complain about the lack of choices. Unknown reasons took me away from the Botanical Gardens for a couple of months, but when I heard that for the next weekends, special 'tropical' programs are organized on Fridays and Saturday evenings, I wanted to be among the first ones visiting it. 
My tropical dreams were strong enough to not discourage me to give up my plan because of the cold rain. Upon arrival, another trial: there were not tickets available, and needed to wait - in the same cold rain - for at least 20 minutes till we were let in. But our perseverance paid up and we made it in due time. The last entrance is around 22.00, but we were early enough to have at least 2 full hours to visit.
It was plenty of people, but most big groups were following the guided tours of the tropical and the concert areas. Otherwise, it was so easy to get lost on the small paths, looking at the very simple vegetation that one rarely notice when in the middle of the nature. Especially in the European part, we don't notice the small grass on the rocks, even dedicated hikers. The first lesson of the evening was to be more careful with every little thing that we see during our trips.
Tables for late pick-nicks or benches hidden by huge leaves for a small talk or for sipping the fruity cocktails added more conviviality to the exploration.   
I must confess my scarce knowledge in botanical matters. I can recognize the big banana trees though. Tonight I discovered that there are also some 'fake' banana trees, growing close to the Ethiopian coffee plantations. 
In a small corner, we entered a small room with carnivorous plants. The poor insects caught in are digested and 'digested'. The 'food' is rather distributed to the stem.
I don't know to swim, but I was brave enough to try jumping on the relatively big stones of the pond for going closer to the music stage. The big yellow and orange fish were turning around quietly, not too much affected by the messy visitors coming and going. The most excited part was when people were impatient enough to cross the small pond on both sides. According to my own recent experience, you can do it! (Just be gentle and polite and ask help from the other stone and everything will be fine).
There were several kiosks with cocktails around the concert area. Most of them were selling alcoholic beverages, with vodka and various liquors, but I had a look at the recipes and decided for a non-alcoholic one, based on pineapple, with a lot of ice (incredible given the reticence of people here to use more than half-an ice cube once in a while). 
Time for the concert! Latin American sounds played by a band whose members were representing almost all the countries in the area invited people to dance. And so they did: mothers carrying children, ladies with their partners or other ladies' partners, everyone was getting latino. Two dancers looking like being rented from the rehearsal for Rio added more action and inspired more courageous moves from the public. Uninhibited, the ladies and gents are having a great time. 
After so much tropical flavours, I have one more wish: to visit the cacti section, which is only a modest corner. I promise myself again to learn more about plants but as in the case of the animals, more visits to the Botanical Gardens will help me to settle down my knowledge over and over again. The good lessons of nature are better than any school sometimes. The Botanical Gardens in Berlin are worth a new visit late in the spring. 

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