Tag Archives: kuala lumpur

Kuala Lumpur – city and the jungle

I am writing this from Perth, Western Australia. I am sitting on the balcony at a friend’s house in the suburb of Scarborough. I am overlooking the Indian ocean, flexing it’s muscles with heavy wind and large waves crashing the shore. A few days ago my view of the world was the Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur, sitting on a balcony in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Ampang. One week ago, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Life can be like that, a quick jumps around the world where the soul is still stuck in transit waiting to catch up. My soul is learning fast to catch up though. When I boarded the plane for Perth it was flight number 13 in the past two months. No wonder I do get slightly tired of airports.

The suburb of Ampang in Kuala Lumpur feels perhaps on first sight a little constructed, a little like a Legoland. Like a reverse Truman Show where only Truman knows everything is fake. But settle in and it is a rather spectacular place, from my friend’s flat we have a view of the twin towers from the balcony and behind us on the other side of the building we can literally reach out and touch the jungle. Ampang is one of the greenest suburbs you will ever see. Most of the time it is so quiet you only hear the birds and the jungle. A 5 minute walk from my friend’s flat and we are in ancient pristine jungle. Not many suburbs where one can do that! I snapped this snapshot on my new compact Canon powershot S90 camera from a walk in the jungle just behind our building. KL actually has a nice skyline at night and someday I will find a great spot for a cityscape. I think they overdid the light on the Twin Towers at night though, they shine like Christmas ornaments and the light pollution is so great it lights up the whole sky over KL!

Randomness

  • Space Monkeys on the balconies! Since my last visit to the Menara Indah apartment building in KL, they have cut down a few branches so the cheeky monkeys cannot just wander straight from the jungle onto the roof. Still. There are always the drain pipes, great fun for monkeys to climb! They then proceed to wreck havoc on the balconies, even going into peoples living room and stealing shiny things – which are then promptly flung out the window so the monkeys can climb down and recover the loot on the ground! It is entertainment all morning watching the space monkeys.
  • Photography wise I have been a bit short on inspiration and creativity since the magnificent mountains and children of Laos. What I am discovering is that on a normal photography trip everything is so condensed, I shoot like crazy, and then I go back to everyday life. But this is now everyday life for me. So there will be longer periods between shoots, longer time between magic moments as I adjust to my new life on the road as everyday life somehow also came along for the ride and demands time as well. I am sure inspiration will bounce back soon, just did not quite count on having everyday life following me!

What am I doing here?

What am I doing here? What the hell am I doing here? I mean that in a positive way! Pinching my arm thinking what am I doing here? Title is Bruce Chatwin’s but the experiences are all mine. Very surreal and a new world for me as I have never been to Southeast Asia; a smorgasbord of new experiences! Having first been to Malaysia for 6 days I am presently on Borneo working for United Plantations; shooting for them on their massive palm oil plantations. I have little time, so enjoy this quick recap of some brilliant experiences from the past 9 days!

Malaysia

A culture shock that would register on the Richter scale is what I experienced landing in Kuala Lumpur straight from the Australian outback: The sights, smells, sounds, the amount of traffic and people, the tropical humidity in the middle of Summer – all senses overloaded! On the 4 lane freeway the motorbikes overtake cars left and right like a computer game. The 400 meter tall Petronsas Twin Towers tower over the city. The mega massive shopping malls from hell. The bustling, dynamic street life where every other house is a restaurant as it is cheaper to eat out than cook. Ending up sleeping two nights in the guestroom of famous Danish author Jørn Riel and wife Annette (thanks so much for your kindness and hospitality!). Kuala Lumpur is a thriving very modern city, very clean and well planned, extremely cheap to live in and I always had a feeling I was witness to the future. Far too busy for me to want to live there, people, cars and motorbikes everywhere, but a fascinating place.

Indonesia, Borneo

The river town of Pangkalan Bun is like stepping 100 years back in time. The river houses thousands of people living in wooden sheds right on the river, all connected by a network of planks and walkways intertwined like some organic network. People do their laundry in the river, take showers, brush their teeth, small two stroke engine powered traditional boats chug along the river, the engine spewing black smoke. Not a single tourist anywhere and certainly I am the only tall blonde Scandinavian, something which causes many smiles from the very friendly very interested locals. A few snapshots of life on the river:

Pangkalan Bun. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Pangkalan Bun. Flemming Bo Jensen Photography 

The shoot and 5D Mk II’s video

I have the pleasure of working with the crew of Danish reporter Michael Rastrup Smith, Georg from Livingfilms and Michael’s amazing multi-skilled assistant Kai from Thailand. We make a great team and I am learning a lot about producing video! I even ended up as camera operator a few times. We did a few tests, and the video on my Canon 5D Mk II absolutely blows their JVC proHD camera away! So my 5D has seen quite a lot of action mounted on a big video tripod and I am practicing my smooth panning skills. While they shoot video for United Plantations, I shoot stills, landscapes and whatever they need.

I must admit as a landscape photographer in love with untouched nature, there is absolutely nothing beautiful about a plantation. Nothing. It is just ugly man made landscape. Endless straight rows of oil palms as far as the eye can see does not get me high. United Plantations are at the top and doing many great things to run a sustainable operation but as a whole the industry as a whole is a rogue under the radar out of control industry that really needs to be regulated by law. 10% of the things you buy every day contain palm oil yet the industry is totally unregulated. But the people at United Plantation are amazing, I must thank Danish CEOs Carl & Martin for endless kindness and hospitality, the experience is great fun, great opportunity and a good learning experience shooting appealing photos of things you do not find appealing.

Randomness

  • Pocari Sweat…is the name of the Indonesian isotonic energy drink I am having while writing this. It has a nice taste and according to the can it is an “ion supply”. Can only be good, although I do not wish to know what the sweat of a ‘Pocari’ is!
  • At the Jakarta FM7 airport hotel there is a massage menu in the rooms. You can order all sorts of massages, with or without various versions of  ‘happy endings’ or a special bonus massage called ‘tit relief’ !?!?!???
  • Also in the room is a sign saying “Please Complain” !
  • Food here is fantastic, incredibly good. Am trying to gain back the 6-7 kilos I seem to have lost somewhere in the wild (as revealed by fancy bathroom weight in fancy Singapore airport hotel).
  • Laws of physics do not apply here in Indonesia as there seems to be no limit to the amount of people and things you can fit on 1 single motorbike!
  • Copenhagen is next stop after Borneo. Can hardly remember the place or the language. Have thousands of RAW files to develop and a very long to-do list, then a new plane ticket is high on the shopping list!