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Where in the World was Sean?

    ALRIGHTY-O FOLKS, WHERE WAS I? TAKE A WILD GUESS from the clues below:

1) From my California home, I caught four flights to arrive in this country- arrivig 27 hours after my first flight. Then I caught a puddle jumper for a 2-hour flight to an island off it's coast. At that point, I took a boat (strange-looking vessel almost resembling the fuselage of a plane) for a few hours to reach a small village. Hopping in the back of a truck, I road for 6 hours along roads like this one until the thick mud stopped us in our tracks. This is close to the time I shot this image. Getting out of the truck, I threw on my 75lbs backpack and hiked through torrential rain for two hours until I reached my first shoot location- the trail was turning into a small river and I must have fell 50 times, sliding through the mud for yards at a time. Later I took longboats to travel up river systems, and helicopters to fly over difficult terrain.

This could pretty much be anywhere on Earth. But it happened to be on the 3rd largest island in the World.

2) While photographing in this country, I met amazing tribes of nomadic hunters, a group of people slowly facing cultural extinction- their name starts with a "P".

3) Before I trip, I received many shots to avoid diseases including Malaria and Dingy Fever. Thankfully I didn't attract any illness (besides some stomach issues) even after hiking through a cave with a half a million bats- but I did get stung by a wasp that turned my leg hard and caused a nasty rash.

4) Close to wear this image was captured lied two borders other countries- one to the north and the other to the south. A day later a highland village sacrificed a water buffalo and fed it to us with the most amazing fresh rice I'd ever tasted.

5) The humidity was stifling during my stay causing it to rain almost every night for three weeks straight.

6) During my trip, I heard fighting dogs, roosters crowing at midnight, frogs "wooping" during mating season, and fireflies glowing.

7) Although you won't be able to pin-point my location, give me some major spots where I was close to- a National Park, a well-known area, etc.

No, it's not the road to Timbuktu or the the road to Dushanbe. Okay, I was in Cleveland...just kidding.

Have fun!

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1/30/2008 3:15:15 PM

Anastasia Hoff
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2007

New Guinea?

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1/31/2008 9:50:00 AM


BetterPhoto Member

Ah HA! Our first response- the answer will be posted in about a week, but good guess.

I'm forced to refrain from any more info so that fellow BP members can jump into the mix. Plus, I like torturing people for a few days by withholding the answer.


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1/31/2008 10:04:20 AM

Belinda P. Dixon  

Mulu National Park??????

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1/31/2008 12:30:17 PM

Peter W. Marks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/5/2006

I would have gone with New Guinea but I couldn't remember how to spell it so will leave that to Anastasia! I am now going with Borneo as the near extinct tribe must be the pygmies.
The northern part of Borneo used to "belong" to we Brits so my school atlas back in the '40s and '50s would have shown it coloured a nice shade of pink, as was Canada, Australia and a whole bunch of countries around the world. N. America would have been pink too except your terrorists hid behind trees and shot our orderly lines of smartly uniformed soldiers and we just left the revolting colony to you guys.
And all because you wouldn't pay our tea tax-sheesh!
But I digress. The island of Borneo consists of two or three countries including Sarawak and Brunei and Malaysia.
I can picture the long canoe-type boats you mention, usually with primitive outboards lashed to the stern but have no idea what they are called.
Cannot remember having heard of Belinda's Mulu National Park but although I am not a poker player I like that expressionless look on her face and I think she knows something and Mulu sounds like a name from S.E Asia. so I will back her guess.
Greetings to you Sean!

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2/6/2008 5:08:38 AM

Tim Hennessey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/7/2007

Hey Sean! Glad to hear you are well.

At first I wanted to say Madagascar, but the more that I think about it I have to agree with Peter M. when he said Borneo. When are you posting the answer?

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2/6/2008 5:49:43 AM


BetterPhoto Member

Great guesses all- well, this never made it into BetterPhoto's flash newsletter, so less knew about it.

The answer is........Borneo- yes- many of you were correct. Nice work!

This specific location is close to Mulu National Park and Brunei (south by about a day's travel). We were heading to the Kelabit highlands bordering Kalimantan (Indonesia), to the high rice fields at a town called Bario, and the tribes we later met were the Penan in Pa Tik along the Kubaan River.

It's an amazing place not easy to get to, and I had many surreal moments there. Feeling 500,000 bats in a cave that could fit Jumbo Jets (when we ended up in Mulu National Park) was wild. Never got to see the bats fly outside of the Mulu caves, but the experience was still profound.

Wish I could go back!- thanks everyone!

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2/6/2008 10:32:48 AM


BetterPhoto Member

Hey! It just made it into the newsletter today! Ah well...I can never stand the suspense, anyway. :-) It's a great picture--worth many words, I'd say.

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2/6/2008 8:07:58 PM


BetterPhoto Member

Ah shoot (pardon the pun). I didn't see that- sorry folks! I guess everyone will have to wait for March's installment.

Thanks for the compliments Linda!


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2/6/2008 8:44:29 PM

Ann E. Swinford
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005

Hi Sean,

I guessed wrong, BUT, tell me the next time you're going and I'll come along! BTW there is NO vaccine for Dengue Fever. I wish there was.....

Keep your DEET on and send more pix!

Ann Swinford

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2/15/2008 3:48:46 PM


BetterPhoto Member

yes, true on the Dengue - lots of good stuff to catch in the jungle!

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2/15/2008 5:49:26 PM

Ann E. Swinford
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005

No place is worth going unless you need another vaccination!


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2/15/2008 6:06:12 PM


BetterPhoto Member

I love adventure, and have definitely had my share, but if I never had to get another vaccination or take Lariam (malaria pills) ever again I'd be so happy!

I'm sure I'll travel to wild locations in the future, but caution over willy-nillyness (yes, that's a word... :)

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2/15/2008 6:22:57 PM

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