Travels and adventures of an orchid hunter: An account of canoe and camp life in Colombia, while collecting orchids in the northern Andes
recording of Travels and adventures of an orchid hunter: An account of canoe and camp life in Colombia, while collecting orchids in the northern Andes by Albert Millican.
Read in English by Arnold.
This is quite the adventure tale and travelog. We see cities, peoples, plants and wildlife of Columbia and the ports our intrepid ‘hunter’ visits on the way there and back. It is an interesting period; a canal is being cut through Columbia to the city of Panama by the French (this is before the United States interceded in local politics). The characterisation is appropriate to the time – Europeans and the South American elite are seen as admirable, especially in comparison to the natives and blacks. Indeed, the deaths of several of Millican’s native support staff along the way (tumbles over precipices, killed by jaguar) seem to be of minor concern. However, the native who went over the precipice was carrying an important cook pot! Millican describes collecting orchids by cutting down many huge trees for a few plants per tree which, we find out later, are unlikely to even survive the trip back to England. The large areas pillaged by previous collectors are an annoyance since he has to travel further afield to collect orchids. He tells us they don’t seem to be growing back in areas already stripped. The hiking and boating into and through the jungles and mountains are impressively narrated, but he reduces our admiration by counting up 9 jaguar skins he’s carrying back with him, not to mention the crates of plants. (Summary by Arnold Banner)
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