Doctors smoke more Camels than any other cigarette.

I would not do this after dark but walking the back streets of Kuala Lumpur during the day is quite enjoyable, a little urban exploring, get some pictures, see how the locals live and always see sights not on any tour map, for example, this morning we are on our way to an old bookstore.

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Here we are. The book store is literally packed to the front door, floor to ceiling.

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Ah… The Classics. KL Book-51

I was impressed with the extent of the books in this little store. My big find was this 1947 Popular Science magazine.

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The back cover advertisement tells it all. The US had just come out of a World War, the Baby Boom was just beginning, the prosperity of the 1950’s was just around the corner, and people now had expendable income. R.J. Reynolds capitalized on many aspects of what was happening in the US at the time, women smoking, doctors where the experts, and celebrities pushed every product imaginable.

I wanted to find out what happen to Jerry Ambler so I Googled him. He died of an auto accident in 1957, not cancer like many of these celebrities did.

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Curry Fish Head with sautéed lettuce…

This is our bill from dinner the other night, cannot read a damn word of it, more on the meal in a minute.

BillOne of my favorite buildings in downtown Kuala Lumpur is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Built in 1897 and designed by A.C. Norman in the style of the Mughal, Persian architecture, the building housed British government offices until after World War II.

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Curry Fish head

Thirty minutes drive south of Kuala Lumpur (KL) through the back streets of the city, away from the upscale hotels and modern neighborhoods is a borough known as Puchong where we are about to experience a local delicacy, Fish-head curry.

FishHeadSoup-13 FishHeadSoup-11-2Puchong is mostly a Chinese community with a myriad of local restaurants that rarely see any foreigners. This restaurant is known for good Fish Head, it’s not a fancy place, plastic chairs, open to the outside, with a queue quickly forming it’s an indication this place is good.

FishHeadSoup-3One thing I noticed when I moved here to Malaysia is that there is no salad, as we know it in the West. The Malaysian’s do eat lettuce, it’s just sautéed, steamed, and mixed with oyster sauce, very good.

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Whenever I go to Puchong children point at me because I look so out-of-place, restaurant owners ask my companion Ms. E if I need a fork and spoon, and some places dust off the English menu, if they have one, and set it in front of me. As awkward as all this is and as culturally different as it can get, this is why people love to travel.

Giant Shrimp and what to do with them…

These are the biggest shrimp I have ever seen, ridiculous Frank-en-shrimp. I’m at a local night market in Kuala Lumpur and I come across these baby’s, Penaeus monodon, or Giant Tiger Prawns. Indigenous to SE Asia waters they grow to about 14 inch in length, these are only about 9 inches and for scale, I put a normal shrimp next to them.

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Best shrimp recipe…

  • Garlic sautéed in olive oil
  • Add breadcrumbs
  • Add Parsley
  • Pepper, Salt, splash of white wine. Reduce.
  • Drizzle on split shrimp
  • Sprinkle on Parmesan and Mozzarella
  • Broil for 3-5 minutes

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It’s five-o-clock over here…

A friend of mine is teaching me (High Dynamic Range) HDR photography. While he’s taking pictures of Trees and vistas i’d thought i take a picture of my 5-o-clock moment… 100mm Macro, 2 stops apart from center, merged together. Oh, Vodka tonic, lime, and a Caper berry…. So refreshing on a hot summer day…

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Southern Food in NC

People with refined or discriminating taste may not realize or even enjoy the thought of eating what one may consider as “Southern Food”, they are missing out. In many fine restaurants, excessive refinement and deconstruction of well-known dishes leave’s you wondering what you just consumed.

Undeniably enjoying a meal with an elaborate presentation of balanced flavors and contrasting elements, rare ingredients harvested from remote locations melded together with obscure parts of an animal’s anatomy have proved quite unforgettable, even though the equivalent to a house payment exchanged hands, I enjoyed ever minute.

Fine meals come in all forms and recently several were enjoyed visiting Donna and her husband Brooks, some dear friends in NC. There is no elaborate presentation here however some of the finest meals come out of Chef Brook’s kitchen.

We start with breakfast of soft fried eggs, grits, non-nitrate bacon, homemade jelly, and strong coffee. Grits, for those who are not familiar with the item is ground up corn, simmered with some added butter salt, and pepper. The creamy texture of the grits mingled with the yellow yolk and the sweet, saltines of the bacon just complements each other, add a side of Donna’s organic homemade jelly, yum!!!!!

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For dinner, pork chops, collard greens, and lima beans. The pork chop is marinade with a secret BBQ sauces and charcoal over a hickory wood fire. Until this day my friend Brooks will not let go of the recipe for this wonderful BBQ sauce, it is a tomato-vinegar base (NC style), sweet, sour, and tangy. The hickory smoke from the fire and sweetness of the sauce make the chop one to remember for some time.

Brooks-5However, the star of the show, and always has been for myself, are the collard greens. Collards are a large deep green leafy vegetable with a texture similar to cabbage and a nutritional value equal to none. Chef Brooks simmer them with a little sugar (I think), salt, pepper, and a smoked ham hock. The ham flavor permeates the green and no words can describe how good this is.Brooks-8

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Combine this meal with a fine California Zinfandel and the companionship of good company and it is just an extraordinary Southern Meal! Oh, of course every NC home has a bottle of Texas Pete on the table, the local hot sauce.

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Back to Malaysia, i’m craving some curry fish head soup ;)

Horse Shoe Bend & Lake Powell – Page Arizona

People have fallen to their death taking pictures of one of the most photographed sites of the Grand Canyon, Horse Shoe Bend. We are on our last day in Page, Arizona.

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Lizard tracks …

LakePowell-55The Glen Canyon Dam divides the Colorado River, on one side is Lake Powell, and on the other is the start of the Grand Canyon.

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On the Lake Powell side, people line the shore camping. Winnebago type adventurers also have a big presence here.

LakePowell-50 We are on a short hike to Horse Shoe Bend so bring water.

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Be careful along the rim, there are no railings and definitely watch your children.

With my camera attached to my tripod laying flat on the ground, I set the timer, laid on my stomach, and slid the camera over the edge holding on to the feet of the tripod.

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Next, Southern cooking in NC…

Antelope Canyon – Page Arizona

This is one of the most beautiful natural places i have seen.

I’m in the US this month visiting in Phoenix Arizona. Four hours north of Phoenix is the little town of Page situated on the border of Arizona and Utah. Outside of Page is one of the most wonderful natural places on earth, the Antelope Slot Canyons. Created by rain and wind millennia ago the walls are 50 to 100 feet tall, we hiked down into these canyons for a few shots.

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Gets a little tight…

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You start by squeezing through these crevasses and descend into a wonderland.

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Some tips…

  • Take the photographers tour. $50. Private guide and no crowds.
  • Use a tripod, F11 or higher, ISO 100 to 1000 depending on the daylight above.
  • Bring a brush and blower for your camera. Gets dusty down there.
  • There are many tour operations but come on your own. Come early when they open. The canyons are operated by the Navajo Indians and you must pay to enter. $25 for group tour.PageMap

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Next Lake Powell and Horse Shoe Bend…