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Curious Encounters of the Human Kind - Borneo

How has a town named after a female vampire ghost spawned an entire genre of kitschy horror films? Why did a quiet Swiss man choose to live rough in the rainforest with the semi-nomadic Penans - and what inner spirit drove him to fight a David vs. Goliath rebellion against timber tycoons and corrupt officials who were destroying the Penans's forest home? Has White-Brown colonialism been replaced by Brown-Brown arrogance? What's the story of the grandmother who spits at meddling ghosts (but only because they spit first)? Why did the first White Rajah of Borneo amass a vast harem of concubines? What happened when I tried to ride the tidal bore that almost killed Somerset Maugham? In what way was an illiterate Borneo teenager instrumental in helping Alfred Russel Wallace develop the theory of natural selection? How close are we to orangutans, "our poor cousins who look like they haven't done so well in life."This is Borneo as you've probably never imagined, full of curious people, startling happenings, and unexpected moments of humanity and introspection, giddiness and solemnity, avarice and ambition.
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"Sochaczewski is a world-class searcher, reporter, and observer who has criss-crossed Asia for forty years, pausing in the most unlikely places and finding extraordinary people. The essays in this insightful and witty chronicle present a rich tapestry of eccentric nobles, self-serving naturalists, scoundrels who will make your teeth ache, celebrity monks, and memorable folks whose stories are too good to be true. But they are." -Christopher G. Moore, author of the Vincent Calvino novels and Heart Talk "All the personal traveler's tales in these volumes are captivating, all filled with humor, drama, and insight, with an edgy take-no-prisoners voice. You won't find anything else like this on the bookshelf." -Jeff McNeely, chief scientist, International Union for Conservation of Nature "Most of Paul Sochaczewski's curious encounters start out as intelligent travel writing, exploring hidden corners of Asia and characters very much out of the ordinary. But this series works on a more complex level ... I read each story feeling refreshed, enlightened, and curious to see what the next stage of Sochaczewski's journey would bring." -Judith M. Heimann, author of The Most Offending Soul Alive: Tom Harrisson and His Remarkable Life and The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II "A book for everyone who knows that the Mysterious East is alive and well, and more how-about-that-wonderful than you perhaps imagined." -Harry Rolnick, author of The Chinese Gourmet, The Complete Book of Coffee, and Spice Chronicles: Exotic Tales of a Hungry Traveler "Paul Sochaczewski skips about Asia like a Monkey God hopping from mountain to mountain, bringing back life-prolonging peaches while annoying the gatekeepers. Whatever you do, follow him on this journey!" -Lee Chor Lin, director of the National Museum of Singapore; former curator of Asian Civilizations Museum - Singapore; author of Batik: Creating an Identity "The Curious Encounters of the Human Kind series is a delicious stew of improbable characters and intriguing stories, served up in thoroughly pithy style, and with a hearty dash of irreverent humour." -Tim Hannigan, author of Raffles and the British Invasion of Java and Brief History of Indonesia: Sultans, Spices, and Tsunamis: The Incredible Story of Southeast Asia's Largest Nation "Constructed on a base of strange but true personal travel adventures, Curious Encounters adds elements of history, an edgy sense of humour, mysticism, political incorrectness, current affairs, and memorable characters you'll wish you had the pleasure to meet on your travels." -Jason Brooke, director of The Brooke Trust "The Curious Encounters series is proof positive that a writer/traveler can immerse himself in Asian cultures and yet remain objective enough to write extremely entertaining and often irreverent articles and colorful stories about what he has experienced. You won't regret a moment spent reading these tales, which perfectly capture the allure and spice of the places visited." -Dean Barrett, author of Memoirs of a Bangkok Warrior

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