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Cindy Adair

Into Borneo with the Unforgettable 2016 IPS Pretour

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Cindy Adair

 

Token palm picture so you don’t just click way from all this writing! 

 

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Trust me, there are lots of photos to come, some educational, some funny, some astoundingly beautiful and some just strange. It is this juxtaposition I enjoy the most about travel.

 

Life takes many unexpected turns and mine has been no different. However many of my unanticipated twists are in part palm related. 

 

 I do not use FaceBook or blog anywhere, much less tweet, however I occasionally post on Palmtalk beyond just palm portraits. 

 

In finally running out of excuses not to post about the splendid 2016 IPS pretour to Sarawak Borneo, after some discussion, I ultimately chose the Travel Log section even though I will have many habitat photos of palms to share.

 

 However others on the trip have far superior talent and camera equipment and identification skills than I do, so I will defer to their expertise for that perfect shot of each rare encounter. I have emailed everyone on this trip the link in hopes you'll add your photos and comments!

 

I will try instead to tell a story involving all the things I treasure about travel, especially IPS sponsored trips.

 

 

 

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Cindy Adair

Here comes an initial commercial for the International Palm Society. I took my first leap of faith when I signed up for the 2010 Biennial in Thailand, knowing almost no one. It was amazing and I have made some of what I hope are lifelong friends.

Then I ended up in Miami followed by Cuba! See more posts by others about these unforgettable journeys. Here are some links for your reference.

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/32186-thailand-biennial-sep-2012/

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/42278-palms-of-the-miami-biennial-in-150-photos/

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/42082-people-pictures-from-the-florida-biennial-may-2014/

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/12024-2008-biennial-of-the-international-palm-society-–-members-unite-in-costa-rica/

Madagascar last October was another reach financially, but I do not regret a penny. Although it was an interim meeting so smaller than the alternate year events, it was opened to non Directors as is the plan for meetings in the future. 

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/47718-november-ips-newsletter-madagascar/#comment-732238

So interested travelers take note that there may be yearly opportunities to join the IPS on amazing palm adventures!

Before leaving for Africa, the IPS published the particulars about the 2016 options for amazing travel and offered a relatively small discount to decide prior to my return from Madagascar.

I was considering which to choose when a fellow traveler suggested all three! I am so glad I did and the following posts will tell you part of the story of just the Pretour. 

My suggestion to you all is that you start saving now, thinking about the future IPS trips in 2017 and 2018! I will let the Directors planning those (open to all members) trips give the details as soon as they are final, so as not to spoil their surprises!

You made it through the long winded advertisement, so here's the disclaimer. Since there is no deadline and I am sometimes limited by technology/data access in rural Puerto Rico, it make take quite awhile to tell the story. I must admit that sometimes playing in my jungle or heading to the beach pulls me away from the computer.

So back to my story. Soon after I gulped and signed up I began to research flights and read more about Borneo. My thrift store purchased globe of the world sat on my dining room table for months as I enjoyed imagining all those far away places. I ordered several used books online from traditional travel guides, to birds of Borneo and a couple of coffee table volumes. 

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After all I had 8 months to dream and plan. 

Others told me beyond booking flights and checking on recommended health issues for vaccines, they preferred to be surprised. I understand this and with IPS travel it works out just fine too.

I will end this lengthy introduction with a most sincere thank you to David Tanswell, Rudy Meyer and Philip Arrowsmith our intrepid trio of leaders who made many planning trips and spent untold hours (all completely on a volunteer basis) to make this IPS adventure happen! 

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Cindy Adair

Here is the view from my 8 seat commuter flight I chose to start on my way in late May 2016. Much better to spend $49 each way than $18/night  (for 5 weeks!) to park a car on site plus the 2.5 hour drive each way.

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 As you can see the views change from rural to crowded urban and in about half an hour I am at the San Juan airport where I catch a flight ultimately to Miami. I enjoyed an overnight in Miami and snuck in a quick morning stop at the lovely Miami Botanical Garden, getting a tour from PT poster Mandrew. Thanks! Below is a favorite handkerchief tree that I do not yet grow. For some reason failed to take any more photos of this lovely garden. That's reason alone for a return trip!

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 Finally I embark on the long stretch to Singapore via Doha, Qatar. 

 

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Yes, the first time I flew into Qatar (to end up in Thailand in 2010) I had to look it up on my globe. It's the tiny country below the "N" in the Persian Gulf.

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Since then I have learned a little more about airplane seat selection while avoiding premium charges.

As you can see here, I scored an economy seat where the aisle shifts. That's my green backpack with the tiny upside down palm tree on it. Thus I had the storage space behind two chairs plus extra tray and floor space. This made a big difference when I wanted to get up and wander.

 

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The Doha airport was the complete opposite of some of the quaint airports in Madagascar and had some of the latest innovations. 

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I like the green and red occupancy indicators allowing doors to the ground in the bathrooms. None of that awkward looking for feet under the door that is so silly. Just like on construction site "port a potties" and on airplanes and should be on all new construction restrooms. Remember I warned you my travel photos are not all of palms, but here’s another palm to keep you interested.

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Jet lag is real and it was nice to have time to adjust in Singapore before heading to Kuching for the start of the pretour. More free lodging helped too at the friends of a fellow IPS member. Their high rise luxury apartment and their gracious hospitality added to the experience. It didn’t hurt that the apartment landscaping included rare palms! Tough lighting but note the multiple Johannesteijsmannia magnifica and Kerriodoxa elegans.

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I got a preview of the Singapore part of the Biennial walking to the wonderful Singapore Botanical Garden the next day. Since I knew the Biennial visit there would be palmcentric, I headed to the orchid garden.

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Couldn’t resist some other photos too and was happy to have the extra time here as a preview to the guided Biennial visit. 

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Cindy Adair

I also loved the zoo. As with most zoos there is a botanical collection.

 I enjoyed seeing Myristica fragrans, a favorite mostly dioecious spice tree. The red netting like covering is mace with the nut being ground as the delicious flavoring. The tree itself is pretty and I surely hope mine in Puerto Rico will eventually produce!

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Here is the yellow fruit still on the Nutmeg tree.

Even where Animals are the focus, on the way to the restroom I spotted this lovely Joey palm.

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More Joeys, not the kangaroo baby sort.

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Even though I much prefer seeing animals enjoy the wild, this zoo tried hard to provide reasonable habitat. It was great fun feeding the giraffes!

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I loved watching some more non native animals frolic in the water! Nothing to do with palms but everything to do with unexpected joys of travel.

 

 

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doranakandawatta

Is this a Rhapis species?  I love the thin leaves. Thanks for posting such beautiful pics. I dream!

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BTW: nice to see you back on Palmtalk, Cindy !

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Cindy Adair

The Australian Cassowary is beautiful, but dangerous I am told. Amazing colors! 

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Plus I got guaranteed viewing of some special Malaysian creatures I had read about! Proboscis monkey Mom and baby were charming. If you stay tuned, much later I will insert some photos of their free brethren too on the Pretour.

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Orangutans were another must see according to my guide books-and I did! I even forgive them for their palm leaf eating. This captive one was fed by zoo keeper as I watched below.

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Cindy Adair

Yes, as you have no doubt noticed, I am still writing about my interlude prior to the start of the Pretour!

Soon, have patience, as getting there early and recovering from Jet lag was part of my strategy to be able to hike the Borneo jungle! I promise lots of Sarawak photos to come.

 Note the vertical gardening in Singapore used as a screen as they continue mass transit construction.

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I am not out of gardening room in Puerto Rico yet, but some of those living in more expensive real estate might want to take note of the additional landscaping options.

Travel within Singapore relies on walking and mass transit as just the very expensive and lengthy permitting and tolls make car ownership onerous. .

Driving on the left with the driver's side on the right of the car would take some practice for me too. However my hostess is from a tiny town in NC and she negotiated the streets like a native. The Singaporean street trees were amazing, but my photos did not capture the grandeur.

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As I have never lived in a city with decent public transportation I was amused at the signs and arrows and the repetitive warnings to “please mind the gap” at the entrance to the super clean transit cars. The “gap” was not the push someone to their death size in NY, but a tiny crack that could maybe catch a high heeled shoe. 

I also saw the arrows directing those entering to stand off to each side while leaving the central area for departing passengers. I  remembered reading about the city wide ban on chewing gum. I understand caning and the death penalty still exist as punishments, hopefully for more serious crimes, but I dared not take a chance.

Parts of their central bus system were equally new and shiny with desks to use while traveling. However in a later visit to the Bird Park and Little India I saw parts of the city where chaos seemed more acceptable. And I heard about young Malaysian women who are bussed in and out daily for legal prostitution while the men from Malaysia keep the city’s plants perfectly manicured but cross the border every night.

The super fancy Singapore downtown shopping district and multitude of very nice restaurants and expensive groceries and housing provided the perfect contrast to the sites and much lower prices soon to come in Borneo!

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Cindy Adair
41 minutes ago, doranakandawatta said:

Is this a Rhapis species?  I love the thin leaves. Thanks for posting such beautiful pics. I dream!

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BTW: nice to see you back on Palmtalk, Cindy !

Thanks Philippe! 

There was no label, but that's my guess. Someone here can supply the correct answer I am sure!

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Cindy Adair

Oops, my internet is going in and out so pausing here makes sense.

My next post will be about the actual arrival in Sarawak to start the official tour.

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I finally head back to the Singapore airport rested, where I met up with some more IPS tour participants. 

Our intrepid guides greeted us at the airport and we began our IPS adventure!

Our first hotel was quite grand with a lovely lobby,

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 and pool,

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all surrounded by nature. Wow!

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No I did not photograph every motel room, don't worry but this one was really nice!

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I enjoyed the nearly private 24 hour fitness center when I awakened predawn. Once it was light, many of us strolled the walkways awaiting time for breakfast. We were still fresh and had lots of clean clothes!

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I don't take many food photos but did of the ribbon cakes I had read about in my guidebooks. Apparently each layer is a different flavor and making these takes hours.

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Here we all are pausing before heading out for our first full day!

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Several of us posed for photos in our leech socks. Mine were saved from Nong Nooch Garden’s gift in Thailand in 2010. Others had much more unique ones! I know I saw some funny photos, but will need to ask other attendees to post them please.

I did not get “leeched” that day, but made up for it on subsequent days!

 I believe there are some photos taken by fellow travelers of my legs on a day I failed to wear the socks, but leeches on other days were in locations where leech body stockings (or armor) would have been required and no photos permitted.  

I learned that putting my backpack down to change camera batteries just provides transport to hungry leeches deep in moist jungles!

Yes, mosquitoes even in Virginia love me too. I mostly wore protective clothing with occasional repellant so not too many insects succeeded to find me here.

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This was one of many signs on this trip that made me laugh. And even the smaller one made me guess which word meant "no" and which one was "smoking?"

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Many distractions all along the way but Iguanura melinauensis was the first star endemic palm here.  I even saw some white fruits. And left them there...

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The first Pinanga aristata in habitat. Many many more of these on later hikes and difficult not to photograph all of them. Look for some stunning new leaf colors in future posts.

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This park is also known for its special caves and the emerging bats put on quite a show at dusk. I look for some photos or maybe even a video from those with better cameras and photography skills.

 

 

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Of necessity after the bats woke up, the trip back was late and for the last part (after I stopped to take some final photographs) I was by myself when it began to pour.

And the sign was right. When it rains in Borneo, even with my raincoat I got wet. Of course once my non waterproof camera was stowed it was fun feeling like I was alone in the real jungles of Borneo!

Well, except for the nice (but slippery) wide wooden path that made it hard to get lost.

Taking off my hopelessly wet and fogged glasses increased the challenge a little, but seeing Caryota no in habitat and everything else made the walk back part of the adventure of Mulu.

However a shower in the luxury hotel that night felt mighty good too.

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Cindy Adair

The next day we boarded "longboats" to appropriately see our first "longhouse", Bidayau. As you can see the journey itself was photogenic.

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We looked at some native crafts too. Traveling 5 weeks with just a carry on size bag reduced the temptation to buy so I wandered some more.

 

 

 

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I saw interesting informational signs and displays. 

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I could figure out this one probably but not sure about the next. Probably it warned me not to eat some foods.

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There were even some political posters.

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Heading out again on the boats we stopped to get a look at another special palm. I believe this is Salacca rupicola. Thank heavens for the voice memo function on my little camera! DSCN0147.jpg

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As if this weren't enough excitement for one day, we headed to view more caves and more plants on foot.DSCN0156.thumb.jpg.37293d2f64e6fdb2819e7

Pinanga aristata around every turn.

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This lovely terrestrial orchid was called Placoglottis acuminata according to a poster I saw later at an airport. A newer name may be Placoglottis plicata. I have added this one to my wish list to legally purchase to try to grow in Puerto Rico in the future.

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Most of the other ornamentals are awaiting your identification please!

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BS Man about Palms

WOW! Thanks very much for this travel-log Cindy! It makes me even more sad I didn't go on the pre-tour... :crying:  But LOVING your posts!!

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Pando

Gorgeous pictures Cindy, thank you for posting!

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Cindy Adair

Thanks Bill!

I am sure you would have enjoyed the pre tour too. I regretted missing the Vietnam tour offered after Thailand in 2010 and of course needing to cancel my more recent California plans.

I am determined to travel as much as I can in the future.

I will further interrupt my travel story with a small idea you may want to try.

Many years ago when photos were on rolls of film, I printed them out and made scrapbooks. None of those fancy ones where you buy cut outs and take classes! Just the basics. 

Now with all digital I end up with some odds and ends that gather dust, but I am reluctant to toss. So beginning with Madagascar I got a very inexpensive frame and inserted some momentos in each.

For the Seychelles trip (non IPS but after Madagascar) I had extra lovely coins with the double coconut on them. Don't think I am talented in crafts, but I used a glue gun I keep for minor household repairs and attached an extra Christmas tree ornament hanger to the back. The shiny silver lit up by the lights on my little tree in PR was pleasant and better than coins sitting in a drawer. So I will do the same with some saved change with attractive designs from here on.

Here's what I did early this morning with some odds and ends from June, plus some earlier efforts from my October travel. Foam double stick tape I already had works well to allow for repositioning of items and I am not worried about archival quality!

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18 minutes ago, Pando said:

Gorgeous pictures Cindy, thank you for posting!

Thank you so much! I certainly appreciate your wonderful photography of Jeff's Garden tour. It was next best to being there.

 

 

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Can you believe I am still on Day 3 of the 13 day tour! There were no boring days. As those traveling with me know by now, I find it hard to sit still for long so this trip was perfect for me. One of my few regrets was I never got to try out the lovely pool at the first resort. Next time!

No I never got bored with Pinanga aristata!

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However here is something completely new to me.

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Monophyllaea glauca (One-leaf plant) are plants endemic to Borneo that have, you guessed it, just one leaf. Very interesting.

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Nothing like hiking to make me double my usual calorie intake! I did try to sit awhile after eating, but that only lasted a few minutes before I got up to look around and take more photos!

 

Some IPS travelers kindly volunteered to stay here and meet up with us later (and watch my backpack for me).

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Could have had something to do with the initial uphill climb. Or the sign about not shining flashlights on the bats.

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We saw Pinanga pilosa yet another I had never heard of.

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Cindy Adair

My kind of scenery here drew my attention and I could have gone at half the pace and still not absorbed it all. Many times I wish I had a nursery catalog listing all the flora I saw and providing legal shipping to try so many in Puerto Rico! By this time it was pretty obvious which ones of us were wanting to see (and photograph everything) and those whose interests were more palm focused. If I had traveled with an orchid group the highlights would have been quite different. 

Please add any names as none of these came with labels!

 

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Cindy Adair

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This was the first one-at-a-time swaying sort of bridge. A fall looked survivable, but likely trip ending, to me. I am thinking bridge inspections here are low priority. The mental image for me while crossing was that the water was still and the bridge was moving! I had to fight with my persistent crazy visual interpretation even totally sober. We learned that we would be returning on the same bridge later. 

Yes this was actually fun!

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doranakandawatta

Cindy,

Many thanks for all these wonderful pictures.
The last jungle pictures showing the ground and wet leaves remind me the leeches habitat we know very well in Sri Lanka.
Have you seen some of them jumping from the dead leaves to your legs?

 

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Cindy Adair

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Just seeing this mottled leaf Placoglottis acuminata/plicata terrestrial orchid was enough of a reason to cross that bridge.

 

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Cindy Adair
4 minutes ago, doranakandawatta said:

Cindy,

Many thanks for all these wonderful pictures.
The last jungle pictures showing the ground and wet leaves remind me the leeches habitat we know very well in Sri Lanka.
Have you seen some of them jumping from the dead leaves to your legs?

 

Thank you Philippe. I did not see any that day but as I am apparently a leech magnet I did not dare wear shorts like so many did that day! On later hikes this trip, most of us "fed the wildlife" involuntarily.

We learned to do a final check, removing shoes and socks, before entering the hotel lobby after some higher leech density hikes. Still worth it!

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Cindy Adair

At some point there was an option to return to the hotel or continue on. My decision was easy and maybe half the group walked until darkness threatened. Yes, I would jump at the chance to spend more time here.

For those who opted for some R & R after an already busy day, here is some of what you missed. Sure wish I knew even the genera of many of these ornamentals! I will check the voice memos on my camera to see if I can add any more names. Mostly it was snap photos and then run to catch up with the group as it was getting late, so I may have missed some of the identification discussions. Please speak up!

I spotted some out of bloom orchids on a fallen limb and knew if I had looked up There was another world in the canopy.

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doranakandawatta

Cindy,

It seems to me I can see some weeds which are the same as what we have in our srilankan jungle, did you recognize some of the weeds of our garden too?

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Cindy Adair

Believe it or not, I am not posting every photo I took. Good thing high capacity camera disks are cheap these days! No one should complain about not enough photos in this topic but I do hope some fellow travelers will fill in what I missed especially adding more people pictures.

Pouring rain here now, but the wifi is holding, hence the additional posts today.

 

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Jeff Searle

Hi Cindy!

    Wow, so nice you have posted so many....excellent looking pictures of what was truly a great and interesting trip. I tried posting my own pictures but can't seem to upload them. A couple did, but most won't, therefore I have given up. Anyways, thanks so much for sharing and showing the whole world what the IPS is all about!!

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DoomsDave

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mike in kurtistown

What a wonderful assemblage of pictures from the trip! Cindy, your enthusiasm as a picture taker is amazing.

The tall palms with pinnate leaves (very thin leaflets) are Pinanga mooreana. Here is one of my pics:

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Here is a group of the Iguanura melinauensis:

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And here is Monophelium glauca, the one-leaf plant, showing thin flower stalks emerging from the base (at the top). I wish i had chosen a less bug-bitten specimen.

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