8 am : We are closing the door behind us. We are very punctual today. Perfect, because we have to represent Germany and I have to speak to Petra about it. She is wearing socks in sandals just indoor so far. She should take a walk with them, as all german Mallorca tourists do. Do I have everything on me? Moment…..where is my cellphone?
Ten minutes later, we are all ready and here we go over bumpy dirtroads. Every hundred meter there is a speed bump, so you cannot drive more than 30 km/h, even if there is nobody on the streets. Annoying!
Completely shaken we arrive at a parking space near to the nature reserve. I am looking on the map to navigate our way to our destination. The touristmap we got looks more like we are going on a treasure hunt. I think to myself, this will be fun and it will not take too long to get there. We take everything we need and shit….I forgot my sunglasses and there is no tree within sight, only the so called “Feinbosch”. It is a very spiky bushvegetation only growing in distinct areas in South Africa. Full of energy and enthusiasm, Natalie, Dr. Petra Wester and me are starting to enter the nature reserve and hear the birds twittering, but although baboonyelling. I’ve heard that baboons are very naughty, sometimes vicious and they like to bite. Wasn’t the yelling coming from the direction we are heading right now?
Just a few meters further up you can hear Petra in the background: “Ui, that is a beautiful flower. I think, I have to take a picture.” You would think, that a plant classification book is the best friend of a botanist, but you would be mistaken. It is the camera, because botanists know the content of those books inside out and don’t believe in classification changes, they have not done themselves. The books are more for prestige. Petra takes the camera bag off her shoulders, unpacks the camera, takes seven pictures, checks the pictures, takes seven more pictures from another angle, checks them as well, unpacks the GPS-device, a block and a pen, waits for the satellites and a strong GPS signal, writes down the coordinates, puts everything back in the bag, saddles the camera bag back on her shoulders and says “Now, we can continue.” After twenty meters: “Ui that is a beautiful one, now I really have to take a picture.” The moving speed of us has the technical term ‘botanical pace’ and its translation is something like: “The way is the goal, because you will never reach your destination before dawn.”, I think.
Three hours, a few ticks, many ledges and an uncountable number of flowers later, we have reached our destination. In front of us is a canyon extending with a 100 or 200 meters deep abyss. The view is amazing and you can see until the horizon. It is impossible for me and especially for Natalie to take of the view. In the background you hear: “Ui, that one is beautiful.” What? How can Petra think about plants right now? “It is the one we are looking for“. Now I am looking too and it really is the unidentified plant and they are growing everywhere between the crevices. Now we have to dig up the beautiful one. I am jumping from one cliff to another, over the abyss and start to collect a few, while Natalie does not want to go near the abyss. She has a problem with height, but she is still more effective than I am, because I am distracted by the panorama.
Three hours later we are back home and I start to cook. Petra and Natalie are incapable of cooking more than noodles and I am impressed that Petra survived the last seven years. Today I will make something with mushrooms.
After supper, we have to work through all the collections and are measuring until midnight. Now I am falling into my bed, until the next morning….I need more coffee tomorrow.