An adventure into the world of the orchid and the array of international characters who dedicate their lives to it.
The orchid is used for everything from medicine for elephants to an aphrodisiac ice cream. A Malaysian species can grow to weigh half a ton while a South American species fires miniature pollen darts at nectar-sucking bees. But the orchid is also the center of an illicit international business: one grower in Santa Barbara tends his plants while toting an Uzi, and former collector has been in hiding for seven years after serving a ail sentence for smuggling thirty dollars worth of orchids into Britain.
I definitely do n't see myself as the sens of person who would kill others or break the law in any terrible way in pursuit of that passion however it has been one of the great pleasures of living in SE Asia that orchids are everywhere and I ust admit to having slipped the odd one for transplantation in my garden over international borders.
It may not surprise anyone that while I have been developing this stance about wildlife I have also evolved a position about the corrupt, bureaucratic, unaccountable, and generally incompetent activities of many, many ( the greater proportion in my opinion) NGO 's and UN functionaries who seem far more interested in their inflated salaries, obscene allowances and living the expatriate high life while they wild tremendous power over their various domains than actually doing anything practically useful.Imagine my surprise when all of this came together in this obscure book where the idiocy of putting the evolution of anything meaningful let alone its administration into the hands of these people is lauded so loudly and clearly.
Along with experiencing this rough and wacky world, in the ook you ca learn a lot about orchids and how endangered flora are, in theory, “ protected ”.
You also meet a botanical gardens director who hides his involvement in orchid smuggling, an elderly wealthy collector who rues the day he worked on international orchid preservation standards and a grower in Minnesota who seems to hav one of the rare people who have actually rescued wild orchids from modern development.Besides the everyday competition and jealousy that you ge in most endeavors, the orchid community lives with CITES regulations.
These international guidelines were hastily written and at the time of th memoi were enforced by lawyers and bureaucrats, most of whom know little about botany let alone orchards.
There ’ s the orchid lawmakers, most of whom wouldn ’ t recognize an orchid if it ran up and bit ‘ em on the ankle.
There ’ s the passel of government agents, armed with machine guns, no ess, who tear up some guys flooring because they believe he smuggles orchids.Who knew the passions one little flower could arouse?
Another novel is efinitely an easy read for amateurs who are neve oo well aware of the plant world, and the material is enough to make you interested.
It is efinitely ook that every orchid enthusiast should take a hold of, and ven a good book for everyon who is interested in orchids, or ants to learn more about the actual legalities of orchid growing and trading.
Eric Hansen is a travel writer, most notabl for his nove, about a 4,000 km trek through the heartland of Borneo. He lives in San Francisco. For 25 years he has traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Nepal, and Southeast Asia.