It is a lovely Thursday evening, a little after 1800 hours and according to European summer days, it is still very much light outside. Actually, the sun is blazing on us, it seems there was a heat wave in this beautiful Bavarian city of Munich, or München as they call it here.
The heat is stifling, but we have to explore this beautiful gem of a city. Fedora on, shades on, loose clothing on, and we take languid step after languid step towards the UBahn station.
Our steps take us past the Ludwig-Maximilius University Juristice Faculty to this unique place, filled with sweltering bodies, on this hot day.
So imagine me, back home, my conventional ice cream flavours are Vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, banana, cherry and a little bit more. Then here, we walk into this place where icecream flavours range from Bier (Beer), to Strawberry champagne, to cabbage,to bacon , to garlic and more other quirky flavours. This is Der Verrueckte Eismacher, with very friendly staff who are eager to help and urge you to try on more flavours.
Well, I was not really up to experimenting with my belly. I had not recovered from the huge shock to my palate experienced in this upmarket Lebanese restaurant in the Merchant City of Hamburg, when I tried this so-called ´refreshing´ drink called a Lassi, which in-fact was a blend of yogurt, water, mint and salt.
So in the icecream shop, I ordered two scoops of ´Bananen-Schokoladen-Eis´ which I quickly regretted. The sweetness was a little cloying and the Eis made me so thirsty. Well, I soldiered though my Ice cream as I could see that my colleagues had enjoyed theirs and had finished.
With my melting Eis still in hand, we walked towards the English Garden. The place took my breath away. Its size. The beauty. All of it.
Well, here is where I received my shock of the day.
Right. There is a river, It is a madly hot day. I understood people in bikini suits and bathe suits lying on the grass and splashing around in the water to cool down. I also yearned for the coolness of the river water to cool down my body.
Yet nothing prepared me for this middle aged man who leisurely walked his dog on the grass at the bank of the river, with nothing on. Nothing on. Zilch. The way new born babies are like. Strolling, strolling, strolling, with no F’s to give. Thank God my throat was dry or I could probably have choked on my spit. I looked around and no-one seemed to be as shocked as I was. Well, except for my colleagues, who are also from Africa. One kept saying ´´Man, did I just see that?´´
It seems people here are more comfortable with their nudity and bodies and that of others. I tried picturing this in Africa and my mind just failed to cooperate. Our guide said some of these people are exhibitionists, they get naked to be seen. I'm trying tot think of a similar place back in Zimbabwe, like Lake Chivero, what kind of uproar would there be if someone just decided to take all off and walk around the place, with nothing but a smile on their face and a beer in their hand? H-Metro would have a field day. Social media would be popping I guess.
I just realised that I was probably going to see and experience more jarring things on my stay here and had to learn to take it in my stride.