Chasing The Sun Nomadic Chronicles Around Latitude Zero
by Monique Stauder
Thursday, 9 December 2004
The Jardine Penthouse, 48/F Jardine House, One Connaught Place
Christmas Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong distinguished photojournalist Monique Stauder, for a lecture on her extraordinary circumnavigation of the earth following the sun around the whole globe along the line of the equator.
For three years, from 2000 to 2003, Ms Stauder made her epic journey, making a photographic testament highlighting what exists at the earth's equator at the beginning of the third millennium. Ms Stauder travelled with no fixed itinerary, using all modes of transport, staying with families and sharing meals, studying humanity and nature and their interaction around the equator, while moving in a westward direction, chasing after each sunset.
The 25,000mile odyssey began at the mouth of the Amazon River, documenting within one degree north and south of latitude zero, visiting Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Kiribati, Nauru, the Indonesian archipelago, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Sao Tome e Principe.
In Brazil, Ms Stauder travelled up the Amazon to Manuas, to the Rivers Negro and Vaupes and then to the Colombian border witnessing the extraordinary fauna, flora and peoples of the 3,165 km Amazon River system. The journey continued with a march in Bogota, river boats on the Caguan and Putumayo Rivers and overland to Ecuador via the FARC guerrillas in their jungle training camps and Rio Caguan cocaine communities. Ms Stauder travelled through Ecuador witnessing everything from the great condors to pyramids as she reached Darwin's Galapagos archipelago.
In the Pacific, she visited the Republic of Kiribati, the Gilbert, Phoenix and Line island chains, 33 low lying coral atolls covering more than 3,218 km in length, including Christmas Island which Captain James Cook stumbled upon on his 3rd Pacific voyage on 24th December 1777. Here she crossed the International Date Line, shifting from W180 degrees to E180 degrees, reaching the Republic of Nauru, the world's smallest Republic, with a population of 10,000.
She then crossed the vast Indonesian archipelago, via Papua, Biak Island, the Spice Islands, the clove island of North Maluku, swapped by the British for Manhattan, the Togian Islands and Kalimantan to Java and Sumatra, capturing photographs of countless landscapes and tribes.
In Africa, she landed in Somalia and went via Mogadishu and Merka to Kenya and Uganda, visiting everything from Somalian refugee camps to rhino reserves, tea plantations, Lake Victoria and the source of the Nile, reaching the Democratic Republic of Congo. She crossed the Congo jungle, travelled from Kisangani by local pirogue canoe and reached the Republic of Congo, via the Lossi lowland gorillas and the Baka pygmies to Gabon and the Atlantic Ocean. Then Sao Tome e Principe, the last land before reaching the Amazon again, at latitude zero, crossing Greenwich Mean Time.
Monique Stauder is a SwissAmerican photojournalist with a CV that spans the globe. Her work has appeared in TIME, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, National Geographic and GEO among others. She has done aid work everywhere from the island nation of East Timor, the Nuba Mountains in Sudan to the Balkans. In addition to her photographic work, Monique has utilised her investigative skills for international humanitarian Non Governmental Organisations as well as adding video and film to her repertoire to diversify her stories. She holds degrees in International Relations and History.
Chasing The Sun has been profiled by numerous magazines and is to be published as a book with a foreword by Paul Theroux. Ms Stauder gives this lecture first to the Royal Geographical Society Hong Kong, followed by the Explorers Club in New York in January 2005.
This lecture is being held in the fine surroundings of the Jardine Penthouse. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend at HK$100 for Members, HK$150 for Members' guests and HK$200 for others. This includes a complimentary Christmas drinks reception prior to the lecture.