Archive for March 19th, 2006

AVO Orchid Exhibit

March 19, 2006

This weekend was the Orchid Exhibit of the Asociacion Venezolana de Orquideas. Orchid Societies seem to be a reflection of Venezuelan society, lots of disagreements, jealousies and bickering, so that they have divided themselves into three groups in the Caracas area. I belong to none of them, but collborate with all. This exhibit was held at one of the largest shopping malls in Caracas, inside of a tent structure on the terrace. This mall is simply too big. I have been there now six times in my life, five times (three this week) for orchid exhibits and once to buy a present.

Yesterday morning I went there with a cameraman from Canadian TV who interviewed me about orchids and Venezuela. I took my camera, but I used a flash only to learn once again, that it just does not work. Pictures come out with no depth, colors are funny. So, today I went back with my tripod and did long exposures with artificial light which works ok, but only where the ligthing is good. Fortunately, some of the best plants were under the best ligthing of the place.

While Cattleya Mossiae tends to be the star of this show among Venezuelan Cattleyas, this year it was Cattelya Lueddemanianna that won the day. The weather has been too cool delaying flowering. Above left the winner of the top prize for the show, a Cattleya Lueddemanianna Coerelua owned by Agustin Morales, who took the time when I knew little about orchids to teach me quite a lot. This flower was huge, perfect in symmetry and shape and, on top of that. it was the rare coerulea form. Compare it with another good Cattleya Lueddemanniana top right. Notice that it is very nice, but slimmer, has a smaller span for its sepals.

Two very nice Cattleya Lueddemanianna of the purple form, the most common. The one on the left had a deep yellow that I loved even if the flowers were drying out. The one on the right had a spectacular deep purple.

Top left another nice Cattelya Luedemanianna Corelua. Top Right: This plant is mine, it won to my surprise the prize as the best Cattleya Jenmanii of the show. It was a surprise, because it was the first time it had ever flowered. It has very good shape and in the day between setting up the show and the judging it darkened quite a bit, which is what made it win. Next year it should be spectacular. Curiosuly, I had never won first prize for a Venezuelan Cattleya before last September with a plant of mine, when another of my Cattleya Jenmanii’s won, now I have for two shows in a row. This is a combination of the relatively rarity of this Cattleya as well as the fact that they do very well in my orchid terrace.

These two hyibrids won first place in their categories for theri deep colors. The one on the left is a Cattleya hybrid, the one on the right is a Potinara.

This spectacular specimen of Venezuela’s Cattleya Violacea was in the same booth where my plants were and won first place. It had 14 very nice flowers of Cattleya Violacea (You can alo find Cattleya Vioalcea in Brazil)


Flowering at last seems to be picking up

March 19, 2006

No sooner had I taken my plant to the orchid exhibit that the flowering started to pick up.

Above left Cirropetalum Medusae, one of the most unlikely and beautiful orchids I have ever seen. It is big, the hairs are four inches long to give you a sense of scale. In the middle and right there is an Oncidium I did not take to the exhibit because I learned late Wednesday I had to take my plants that same evening and the exhibot was at a local shopping mall which isn huge, so I could only carry two plants and letf this one. It was given to me as Oncidium Sphacelatum, but in the picrtures of those flowers in books, the sepals in the middle looked bigger.

This is a nice Cattleya hybrid, flowers regularly, no clue what it is, it is from the time where I would get any orchid no matter what it was.

Taking it off for Simon Bolivar

March 19, 2006

The photo below is a picture of:

i) A group of naked people waiting with Simon Bolivar to see the Viaduct fall
ii) The members of the Anglo-Saxon Conspiracy (TAC) being rounded up by the Venezuelan Government
iii) The opposition trying to get on Chavez’ nerves by undressing in the middle of downtown in front of the statute of his zambo heroe

No, it is the work of art
of Spencer Tunick

Tunick came
to Caracas financed by the Chavez Government
, surprisingly enough.
It took place this morning very early and 4,000 people had registered to
attend, but only 1,500 showed up. There is a prize if you recognize me in the

Candidate Smith at the Viaduct

March 19, 2006

I have to take my hat off to candidate Roberto Smith, the only one that showed up at the viaduct today and retold the whole story ofhow  this could have been avoided and the proposal he handed over to the Government a month and a half ago, asking himslef why the Government spent US$ 15 million in what was a hopeless cause.

But Smith’s best pot shot, was when he was asked about what the Vice-Minister of Infrastructure had said minutes earlier, that all of the technicians that built the viaduct has approved of what the Government was doing to stop its collapse. Smith, who is not a favorite of mine, replied with a very straight face:

“My dear, all of those technicians are dead by now”

Revealing yet another lie by the cynic revolution. Hats off for the answer and for showing up!

When ignorance and politics dominate your brain: The viaduct collapses

March 19, 2006

There are two things that dominate this Government: Ignorance and Politics. Ignorance because people who have no clue about a field are appointed to positions to make decisions that require technical knowledge and know how, but the revolution believes that anyone can do anything. Politics because this is the number one priproty of the revolution: Never say something which may go agaisnt the official line, lie until you can and then simply lie again claiming you never said what you said.

This way of running the Government has been quite evident in the way the Government has handled the problem of the viaduct of the Caracas-La Guaira highway. For months and years experts had been telling the Governmnet they were going to have to shut it down. The Government denied this was possible, claiming that the work being done was sufficient to stop the bridge from becoming useless. On December 22nd. the School of Engineers of Venezuela said that the viaduct was in danger of buckling. The Government denied this was the case, Chavez said it was all the media blowing it out of proportions. Then, on January 5th. the Government was forced to shut down the viaduct, essentailly closing one of the most important access roads to the capital of Venezuela.

Even then Government officials said the problem could be solved, they were working on it. In fact this official line has been defended until today, while experts continue to say almost daily that the viaduct could collapse. Only yesterday, the man in charge of the viaduct at the Infrastructure Ministry denied that it could collapse, saying that in fact the mountain pushing the viaduct was moving slower, that they continued working on fixing it and on Tuesday they would hold a meeting to decide on the alternatives to fix it.This was in response to the main headline of pro-Government paper Ultimas Noticias yesterday which said “The Viaduct will collapse”.

Today, the viaduct collapsed.

(Pictures taken from the TV)

As I write the Vice-Minister of Infrsatructure is saying on TV this was all expected, while Chavez sings with Reina Lucero on Alo Presidente while Nero in burning Rome.