20 Nov - 27 Nov 2013 Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman 316
Adequate and clean double room for MYR 40.60 or US$ 13.50 per night.
Helpful, friendly and competent young staff; very good English. 
Beer: 320-ml cans of ice-cold Tiger Beer (5 % alc./vol.) for MYR 4.99 or US$ 1.60 per regular can from the tried and tested Giant Supermarket +60326947622 in the basement of the opposite Maju Junction Mall.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Tune Hotel in downtown Kuala Lumpur which we would recommend and for directions:
N 03° 09.62' E 101° 41.81'

Coming together again and updating each other about our previous solo travels: (a) Matt about Korea, Japan and Kalimantan and, most excitingly, (b) Konni about Ontario where she was too busy (i) telling our grandkids Raoni, Tien and baby Ronja countless bedtime stories and travel tales about evil pirates, dangerous volcanoes, funny corals, deserted islands and wild animals, (ii) practising primitive skills and survival techniques with our grandsons during the Headwaters Gathering in the beautiful Beaver Valley thus being prepared to survive the upcoming events in Ontario, (iii) becoming a regular at the Art Gallery of Toronto (free entrance on Wednesday nights) and admiring Ken Thomson’s collection of Chinese snuff bottles, an exhibition of European ship models (many of them made from wood and bone with rigging of silk and human hair from the prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars) and Rubens’ rediscovered masterpiece The Massacre of the Innocents, (iv) tallying the storable winter apples from the garden by the bushel and processing the surplus of damaged ones into apple sauce, apple butter and syrup apples, and last, but not least, (v) experiencing her first and very magic Indian summer in the beautiful woods on the shores of Lake Simcoe, our new head quarters and summer residence.

Taking a trip down memory lane, wallowing in memories about our first winter in Malaysia and our first festive season in Kuala Lumpur in 2008 CE, exactly five years ago, and celebrating our wooden blogpacking anniversary for Southeast Asia.

Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah, the wars they will
be fought again…
We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent…
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in…”
(Leonard Cohen)

Comparing our Asian snapshots of 2008 CE with 2013 CE, reflecting on travel photography in general and on our personal learning curves as amateur photographers and deciding to give some unsolicited advice about travel photography, according to our experiences:

(i) The Photographer’s State of Mind:
Get yourself into a resourceful, open-minded and relaxed state of mind, leave your hide-out and interact with the world. Use a silly hat, get drunk or apply any of those fancy “think-positive” techniques. Your own state of mind will spread to and infect your model.

(ii) The Photographer’s Intention:
Release the shutter with the deliberate intention of “I am producing a distinctive photograph right now”. Find your individual style by applying self-imposed technical constraints (e.g. of the subject, of the aspect ratio, of the techniques, of the lenses, of the composition); less is more.

(iii) The Photographer’s Waiver:
Decide if it’s better to give it a miss instead of taking a bad photo.
In the field, if there is a shred of doubt, don’t take this snap. It’s better to take a cerebral snapshot and to enjoy the situation. At your computer, if there is a shred of doubt, delete the image; it’s better to download a good image from the internet and to learn from it.

(iv) The Photographer’s Attitude:
Put your trust into the mind of the viewer of your photo. Your photo is just a trigger for the bigger and better internal picture (and psychological motion picture) inside the viewer’s mind. Allow the viewer’s mind to create interesting internal pictures and movies by offering images of (a) parts and details, (b) symbols and logos, (c) contrasts and contradictions. Co-operate with the viewer’s creative mind, keep the viewer’s mind busy and seduce your viewer to complete your photo, to improve your photo, to add (her or his) sense to your photo, to fantasise about your photo and to mentally exceed your photo.

(v) The Photographer’s Tools:
Remember the meaning of the word photography and master the light with your eye, with your camera and with your computer: (a) see the light, (b) harness the light and (c) bend the light. But, bear in mind, your shoes are your most important piece of equipment. Use them liberally to get closer or further away, to play with angles and to find your unique point of view. 

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”

Laundering a 6-kg load of our joint dirty linen for MYR 5.- or US$ 1.55 (washed and dried) with the convenient DIY washing machine and tumble dryer in the Tune Hotel Downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Konni: Deciding to stay behind in Kuala Lumpur for my long overdue and very complex dental treatment thus laying solid and affordable foundations for great natural smiles in an unknown future.
“Wer lacht, zeigt Zähne.”
(René Steinberg)

Matt: Taking the yellow Aerobus shuttle coach (c. 70 km, 1 ¼ hours, a whopping MYR 10.- per person) from KL Sentral straight to Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA-LCCT, flying with Air Asia X (“Now Everyone Can Fly Xtra Long”) in a red Airbus A 330-300 from Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA-LCCT to Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport, formerly Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport, for MYR 477.- or US$ 154.50 per person, one way, all inclusive, without changing my watch from Malaysia Standard Time (GMT/UTC + 8:00 hours) to Taiwan’s National Standard Time (GMT/UTC + 8:00 hours), being issued with a 90-day-visit permit to the Republic of China on arrival, free of charge, and taking thereafter an uberefficient and ubercomfortable Ubus +88800241560 overnight coach (340 km including the smooth north-to-south crossing of the Tropic of Cancer near Chiayi City, 4 ½ hours, TWD 420.- or US$ 14.20 per person) from Taipei's international airport straight into the city centre of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city and known as the Harbour Capital (港都) of Taiwan.

Click below for more blog posts about entertaining medical/dental issues

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

Recommended products - click below for your Amazon order from Canada:
For Amazon schnaeppchens from Germany, please click here
For Amazon bargains from the United States, please click here
For Amazon bargains from the United Kingdom, please click here

From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for Our Grand Children's Journey of Life: 
It’s bad to do unto others as you would not have done unto you;
It’s good to embrace the idea of a free and liberal civic society.
 Keep your bearings!