The Power of Flower

Nicholas Quirke was again wrestling with tech issues on 4 April 21 it seemed he had filmed as fast as he had expunged. He calculated that since starting this odyssey to the east he had made a film virtually every day and with an average length of 3.5 minutes he had nearly 30 hours of film and he couldn’t even begin to assess how much footage that actually equated to as he took approximately 2.5 seconds from each bit of video he shot to form each short. The problem meant that he was again stuck and unable to work. They were also moving through each day at an exhausting pace and his voracious appetites to see and experience as much as possible was not giving him much time to contemplate and write about the world in China he was experiencing which, he needed as a friend seeing he had been visiting Tibetan monasteries in Shangri-la had asked what his perspective was on the never ending controversy surrounding China’s observed erosion of Tibetan culture. He did not want to be an apologist for China’s policies and indeed, if the Dali Lama lived in exile in fear of his life then there had to be something seriously amiss but everywhere he had been where there was a large Tibetan population there was certainly no sign of the culture itself being stamped out. In Chengdu, Qinghai, Qilian, Shangri La and Sichuan and Yunnan provinces Temples flourished, customs were celebrated traditional costumes were worn and the food was in abundance. In fact all over China the minorities seemed to be readily acknowledged and honoured. Certainly they were expected to speak Mandarin and it was taught in the schools, but then on a smaller scale the Welsh, Irish and Scots were all taught English in their schools and the Welsh Irish and Scots all seek autonomy. he realised that this was a simplification but in a society that was seen as autocratic he really had not observed any fear in the lives of people. It was certainly not a democratic society, and it was not acceptable to publicly criticise the government but his experience and what he witnessed in the citizens he met was a satisfaction with life. The complexities of the movements of the CCP escaped him in the day to day management of life as it seemed to escape its people. A more pressing problems for him was to unclog his ICloud, again and in the meantime make the most of the day ahead of him. The city looked very different to anything he had seen in China and the flavour, with its statues of elephants, seemed more Thai than chinese. The temperature was high, the air sultry and rain was threatened. Thankfully the jeep they were renting had a powerful and refreshing aircon. They were going to Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences which, covers an area of 1125 Hectare and over 13,000 species of tropical plants are preserved in its 35 living collections. It is primarily is a comprehensive research institution engaged in biodiversity conservation and sustainable uses of plant resources, focusing on forest ecosystem ecology, conservation biology and resource plant development. Within its environs is a tropical rainforest. He had photographed landscapes, cities, sidewalks and people and now he was turning his attention to photographing flowers and what an astonishing and beautiful array he was presented with. The colours and variety of species were amazing and the sun drenched day was the best backgrounds to see it against. At times he was so exposed to the sun that not only did he lavishly cover himself with sun cream but was using his fan and fortunately as rain had been predicted was carrying an umbrella which he wielded as a parasol. He saw a number of species he had never seen before and was entranced by the ugliest looking cabbage like plant that had the most beautiful scent. They had spoke to over two hours exploring the gardens and when it was time to visit the eco and rain forest sections of the facility they used a cart to travel the 10km required. He was able to dispense with the umbrella but with all the climbing the fan came in very useful and he was thankful he was not reduced to sporting a ‘Mankini’ as a party he encountered were forced to do. It was an amazing and educational journey through the forest and the trees, vines plants and atmosphere were phenomenal. They had covered over 12 km by the time they had finished and though they had snacked throughout he was craving food and they drove back to the city to find something to eat. They settled on a Malaysian style curry, explored some of the sights on a scooter and experienced more of the colourful night life and a from entering the Great pagoda Temple of Jinhong the night opened up into a view of a teeming market so crowded the both said ‘I’m not going in’ instead, they had Pu’er tea ice cream in TaeTea and went back to the hotel to recover and a well earned sleep.

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