Last day. Considering my prior experiences with the social events, I was relieved not to have registered for the gala dinner that evening at a cost of 155 euros plus the purchase of a ballgown. However I learned the next day (in passing at the train station) that it had been worthwhile, after all. Rats.
The highlight of the day was the closing ceremony.
First, a long travel video promoting Miami, Florida as the site of the
next World Orchid Conference in 2008. The commercial left a strong
impression that we would be encountering a lot of marine life during
our visit — mostly bikini-clad young blondes and their buff wet-bodied
mates, as well as a few trained sea lions. Should be interesting. Next,
the Miami representative gave his pitch on why we should all plan to
attend: “We will be extremely well organized" (poke). "We will have
buses waiting to pick you up at the airport and take you to your
hotels" (dig). "We will make sure you have transportation to and from
the conference site, and to each and every social event" (stab). "We
will make sure that everything is reasonably priced and good value for
your money" (jab). I admit it: I smirked. I also thought I detected
some uncomfortable shifting in certain parts of the room.
Next, the show winners (or at least the few in the audience) were
awarded their trophies — a bottle of wine, once the cases were
actually located and wheeled onto the stage. Oops. And finally, the
announcement that Singapore would be the site of the World Orchid
Conference in 2011. The large contingent from that city were fun to
watch as they took in the news, and they immediately started jumping up
and down and handing out pins to the audience. I felt a bit of a pang
for my new friends from South Africa. It takes a tremendous amount of
work and time to put together a proposal like that, only to fail.
Then it was over. Like a wedding, it’s the things that go wrong that
leave you with the most entertaining memories, and overall the
conference was a fantastic experience. I made some friendships that I
hope will endure, I learned a lot, I LOVED the show, and I especially
loved the city of Dijon and its kindhearted and hospitable citizens.
They saved the day for the conference organizers.
Now it’s time to start looking forward to the Chelsea Orchid Show in
May, and (finger’s crossed) a tour of Kew Garden’s orchid greenhouses!