Travels and adventures of an orchid hunter: An account of canoe and camp life in Colombia, while collecting orchids in the northern Andes

Albert MILLICAN ( - )

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. ( Arnold Banner)

Genre(s): Memoirs

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 PREFACE Arnold
Play 01 On Board the Phantom Arnold
Play 02 Bound for Trinidad Arnold
Play 03 The La Guayra and Caracas Railway Arnold
Play 04 Sailing to Barranquilla Arnold
Play 05 A River Steamboat Arnold
Play 06 Vegetation Arnold
Play 07 Canoe Life on the Lebrija Arnold
Play 08 Shooting the Rapids Arnold
Play 09 In search of Odontoglossum crispum Arnold
Play 10 Pacho Arnold
Play 11 Port of Honda Arnold
Play 12 Expedition to Explore San Lucas Arnold
Play 13 The Spoonbills Arnold
Play 14 On Board the Essequibo Arnold