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Crumpled Papers

Our Man In PNG1

A continuing WebLog


Author: Douglas S. Fox


Roo Shade on the Mundi Mundi Plains near Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia - December, 2002 / Copyright (c) Doug Fox


Background for the WebLog

Douglas Fox is a professional journalist who writes about advances in medical science and related fields as well as the researchers who do the work. His articles may be read in various journals, including US News & World Report, The New Scientist, Discovery, Scientific American and others.

The Crumpled Papers WebLog is a compilation of first-hand email accounts of the author's personal experiences as he travels the globe, following his subjects to distant lands and remote corners of the earth where much of their research takes place.

Below are a few excerpts to whet your appetite, or follow the link to the WebLog for the full text of his accounts.

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Crumpled Papers 2a



. . .at the cave entrance, we paused while Peter harvested a few leaves from a medicinal plant growing there and stuffed them, like a bit of Skoals chewing tobacco, into his lip to dull down a toothache. What can I say about the cave? It was dark. I gave Peter my headlamp (our only light) so that he could lead us inside (well, unlike myself, he actually knew the cave, so it seemed like a good idea at the time). Once we were a couple hundred meters in, around a corner and truly in the black, the bats, a whole cloud of them, started flapping about. . .

There's tourism, there's ecotourism, and then -- if you're so inclined -- there's geneticabnormalitytourism. (also known as geneticabnormalityvouyerism.) Cilaos is a perfect place for this third type. While Reunion was being colonized and the dodos being slaughtered during the 1700's, the well-off people settled around the edges of the island where sugar cane could be grown, and the poor rabble settled in the mountainous interior in places like Cilaos which, up until the early 20th century, was not even connected to the coast by a road. . .

A couple days ago I caught a train from Sydney to Broken Hill, a little mining town which is only slightly less in the middle of nowhere than this place is. Stayed one night there. For those who are interested, I happened to stay at Mario's Palace, one of the hotels where "Pricilla, Queen of the Desert" was filmed. . .

. . .a little description of Christmas day as it ended up happening . . . at 10:00 am I passed through the town of Mendinee to get some gas. A very small town with one gas station/store. When I got there, maybe twenty people were gathered in the parking lot, around the back of a pickup truck where they had two kegs of beer on tap. They were all standing around in the hot sun drinking beer. Of course I was required to share a Christmas beer with them before leaving. . . .

. . .well I think that is about it. We have now officially entered the part of the night where bizarre and possibly threatening animal sounds eminate from near and far in the darkness. Over to my left, it seems that something rather large is getting eaten alive, and making a fair bit of racket about it. . .

Copyright (c) 2002-2011
Douglas S. Fox



Crumpled Papers 2b


1Papua New Guinea, and other locations.

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Copyright (c) 2002-2011
Larry K. Fox

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