Dave's Photo & Travelblogue

Photo shoots. World travel advice. Tips on Munich & environs.

KL’s Petronas Towers

It is with a heavy heart and a great deal of joy that I write this post about July 25th, 2010. It’s now the following day, and I’m in a Thai Airways 747 on the way back to Munich – the end of my around-the-world trip.

I’ve had an amazing almost-three-months, and learned more in this time than I’d ever dreamed I would. At the same time, I’m looking forward to my couch, a bit more predictability in my life, and being free from my (self-imposed) goal of writing a blog post each day during the trip.

Well, let’s not dally and get all sentimental. I promised you the Petronas Towers – at 452m, the tallest buildings in the world until Taipei 101 took that crown in 2004.

KL's Petronas twin towers

To ascend the towers, you must get a free ticket early in the morning in the base of Tower 1. I was in line at 7:30. Tickets were given out starting from 8:30, although it was 9:45 before I got to the front of the line. Max 5 tickets per person! I have to say, the view from the bridge between the towers (which is as high as you can go) was a bit disappointing. I’ll have a few shots of that later.

First, some amazing graffiti that I saw near a train station.

Cool graffiti in Kuala Lumpur

Petaling Street market is not just a place for hawkers to rip off tourists with a plethora of fake handbags. It’s also a place for locals to socialize.

Locals in Petaling Street market

Back to the towers. My ticket was for the last available time, 6:30pm. While waiting I checked out the displays in the lobby. I love the warning about lightning (when they explain that you are much safer inside a metal tower / Faraday cage).

Never be the tallest, nor the wettest when lightning is about as you will be the path of least resistance for the electricity of lightning current to be discharged over your surface. This will not be good for you.

I also saw someone making a handheld-cam video of the Petronas oil company advertising video that we saw prior to boarding the elevator. That cracked me up. Will this ghetto “Seinfeld style” cap of a 5-minute Petronas commercial be out in the street market DVD shops soon, or what?

Here’s the view from the bridge, which is about 1/3 of the way up the buildings at 170 meters.

View of KLCC  (City Centre) park from the Petronas Towers

Trust me on this one: don’t waste your time standing in line at 7:30am. Even if it hadn’t been raining, the view is not that great, and half of what you could otherwise see is blocked by the buildings themselves.

Spend the money to go up KL tower, which (although not as TALL) is actually higher, because it starts on a hill. Plus the viewing area is near the top, instead of being just 1/3 of the way up. You get a 360° view… which includes the Petronas towers. The beautiful twin towers are much better seen from a distance, rather than seeing the distance from them!

Rain streaking the window of the Petronas Towers viewing bridge

So. Here I am on a plane headed toward Munich. I can’t even begin to explain how much I learned, and what a valuable experience this was for me on about fourteen different levels. I’ve made a few friends that I still keep in touch with months later. And I can’t wait to go back to many of the great places I’ve touched on in my brief around-the-world adventure!

Rest assured, there will be a lot more blog posts about this trip and others. But I’ll probably revert to my normal format of a couple posts a week, instead of one every day. Have you enjoyed the ride? What do you want to see more of? Please let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best!

Posted 12 years, 2 months ago at 3:46 pm.


The Mer-WHAT?

After weeks of thinking about a fixed 35mm lens with a wide aperture, I finally caved in and got a used Nikon 35mm f/2 AF-D. The used price seems to be the same worldwide, and this newer autofocus lens only costs 30% more than an older manual-focus one. The wide aperture allows some nice foreground/background blur effects, and the lens can practically see in the dark. On my DX “crop sensor” camera, 35mm is like a 50mm on film cameras – the classic fixed lens size.

After buying my lens in Singapore, I walked around the city to see what I could capture with it. Here are some of the images from July 13th. First up, the Swissotel Stamford, where I stayed in 2008 when I visited Singapore during a business trip. In 1986 it was the tallest hotel in the world.

Swissotel Stamford

Marina Bay Sands is a huge new casino complex. It’s open, but apparently not yet completed. I love how the rooftop garden looks like a giant ship.

Marina Bay Sands, not fully completed

Let’s compare the concert hall, known locally as “The Durian,” to a real durian (the stinkiest fruit on earth).

"The Durian" - Concert Hall in Singapore

Now the fruit, which smells like rotting roadkill when ripe:

A display of durians in a fruit shop

Yeah, I can see the resemblance. But I can testify that the concert hall does not smell like rotting roadkill.

Singapore has a lot of rules and regulations. Eating or drinking on the subway: $500 fine. Smoking in public: $1000 fine. Chewing gum: forget about it. Graffiti: caning. How about this one – riding a bike through the underpass, $1000 fine. One sign is just not enough.

Underpass bike fine warnings in Singapore

Finally, here’s the Merlion, symbol of Singapore. That’s right – it’s half mer, half lion. I couldn’t believe how many tourists were trying to get a picture standing in front of this Merlion. More than I’ve seen in front of any other object, anywhere in the world.

The Merlion - symbol of Singapore

I tried to get a shot of the tourist lineup, but space was too tight. Maybe if I had a 15mm lens, haha. In fact it took several minutes to get to the rail for this shot, waiting for this and that big group to get done trading cameras so everyone had a copy of themselves in front of the Merlion.

Merlion crowds aside, Singapore is certainly a beautiful, clean, and impressive city! One thing for sure: the taxi drivers are all polite, use the meter, and don’t try to drag you to shopping malls.

Here’s a question: what was the most touristy attraction you’ve ever seen? Have you been anywhere that you thought, “I wish all these damn tourists would get out of the way so I could get MY shot!”

Posted 12 years, 2 months ago at 3:43 pm.

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