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The cloud garden

Author: Tom Hart Dyke; Paul Winder
Publisher: London : Bantam, 2003.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats

An almost impregnable strip of jungle between North and South America, the Darien Gap has been ravaged by civil wars, drug trafficking and guerrilla groups. Enthusiastic botanist Tom Hart Dyke, and  Read more...


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Named Person: Tom Hart Dyke; Paul Winder
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Tom Hart Dyke; Paul Winder
ISBN: 0593050797 9780593050798 0593051815 9780593051818
OCLC Number: 59368637
Description: 323 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Contents: In 2000, Tom Hart Dyke, a young botanist whose passion for orchids has taken him all over the world, set off on a journey that would change his life forever. Like many other university graduates, Tom's enthusiasm for travelling to faraway places outstripped any common-sense reservations. He knew that in the rainforests of Central America there grew some of the world's most exotic orchids but to find the rarest of these species he would have to risk a journey into one of the most inhospitable places on earth. The Darien Gap is a place of legend. The only break in the Pan-American highway which runs from Alaska to the tip of South America, it comprises an almost impregnable strip of jungle between the vast landmasses of North and South America. Civil war in Colombia has driven drug traffickers, guerrilla groups and paramilitary organisations deep into this zone. Stories of abduction and murder on the trail are rife and to this day more people have successfully climbed Everest or trekked to the South Pole than crossed the Darien Gap. Unbeknown to Tom, another young explorer, Paul Winder, had also been backpacking through Central America. Though merely taking a sabbatical from his promising career as a merchant banker in the City of London, Paul was fearless and intrepid when it came to travelling. In every bar and cafe he visited, rumours abounded about the Darien Gap - and the more he heard, the greater his desire to make the journey. Just before Christmas 1999, Paul met Tom in North Mexico, they formed an instant bond and their fate was sealed. The Cloud Garden is their story. With the assistance of two guides and ignoring a final, succinct warning from the Lonely Planet Guide - 'Don't even think about it!' - they set off: Tom in search of orchids, Paul in search of adventure. They would find plenty of each. For five days, they made good progress. Then, just two days away from Colombia, the dream ended and the horror began. For the next nine months, Tom and Paul were held captive by FARC, a group of Marxist guerrillas who had been fighting the Colombian government for more than a decade. They were convinced that Tom and Paul were CIA operatives involved in a bizarre undercover operation. From that day on, their survival was a matter of extraordinary endurance, incredible ingenuity and vast helpings of good luck...
Responsibility: Tom Hart Dyke and Paul Winder.


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"Clearly, surviving a nine-month jungle kidnapping requires courage and endurance. But Hart Dyke and Winder came equipped with something else in addition: pluck. It's that quality, crackling on every Read more...

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