JBL Workshop Vietnam 2013

Introduction

"The Huey Cobra helicopters are flying low over the jungle. Vietkong soldiers are firing at the helicopters. The US troops are moving forward in the dense rainforest.”

This was more or less what I knew about Vietnam from all the Rambo and war movies. And then I got an email from Frank Obermüller, a JBL customer, who suggested Vietnam to us as the place for a workshop. I leafed through the pictures in the email attachment and was surprised to find desert photos too. I called him and asked whether he had accidently inserted wrong pictures. But they really were pictures of Vietnam! Now I was interested, because jungle, freshwater, coral reefs and deserts meant that this was just the right place for a JBL workshop. Thanks to Hai, his Vietnamese friend, we were also able to keep the costs down to € 1350 including all additional expenses.

Now, after the 4th JBL workshop, we know it was a good decision to travel to Nha Trang in Vietnam. The individual habitats we visited were so varied that the days flew past even though we started every morning at 9:00 a.m. There were 70 of us in total, from 9 countries, and we split up into two large groups, A and B. These groups were split once more into teams of eight and were each appointed a team leader. This meant that nobody felt they were taking part in a mass event, and, if you really wanted, you could be completely alone with the nature. Our social media manager Matthias Wiesensee reported daily and live about any new developments on the JBL Newsticker.

While one group stayed in in the rainforest, the other group travelled the seas. Both groups swapped over the next day. The group members only met up in the restaurant of our hotel Bao Bai in the mornings and the evenings. There they enjoyed the lectures given by the experts and scientists who came with us on the trip. For example Prof. Christian Steinberg chose the very interesting subject of “Humic Substances” for his talk, and all of us were able to observe these in the various water biotopes every day. Prof. Burkhard Scharf informed us about crustacea (Ostracods); an animal group which is to be found almost everywhere, yet still remains unknown to most of us. Dr. Susanne Heise showed all participants infograms about the Vietnamese fish species to be expected in the waters around Nha Trang.

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