I have just come back to Zurich after one month in Madagascar, where I attended a course in tropical ecology held by the Tropical Biology Association (TBA). I brought back a bushy beard, 5 GB of pictures, new ideas and wonderful memories of a mind-blowing experience.
When I applied for the course, back in February, I was moved by the desire of knowing a new environment as well as taking a break from a PhD that seemed stuck. When the time to leave came, things were luckily moving fast again and I was not sure that disappearing in a forest for a month was the right move, sciencewise. Moreover, I did not have the time to collect any information about the place were I was going and I had no clue about what to expect: I was totally naive. I told with Dennis (one of my supervisors, the ‘tropical’ one) about my doubts, and he relieved me with a pearl of tropical wisdom.
“Being naive is not bad sometimes. Everything will look totally new. You will be washed by a rain shower of new ideas, unknown environments, half-studied organisms, unanticipated biotic interactions. Just go there and stand in the rain. Something will flow away, something will stay. You’ll be fine.”
Well, he was almost right. It was not a rain of new stimuli: it was a tropical rain storm.
Further news will follow. For now, enjoy the pictures.