The Cycling Canadian http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com Sun, 15 Sep 2019 00:16:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 VIDEO: It’s FREE!! But is it GOOD? A Torture Test of Kuala Lumpur’s GoKL Bus Service (GREEN LINE) http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-its-free-but-is-it-good-a-torture-test-of-kuala-lumpurs-gokl-bus-service-green-line/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-its-free-but-is-it-good-a-torture-test-of-kuala-lumpurs-gokl-bus-service-green-line/#respond Sat, 14 Sep 2019 00:11:06 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29058 By riding on the GoKL Green Line (one of six lines in Kuala Lumpur’s free public transit bus system), I was heading into unfamiliar waters. The Green Line makes a loop from Bukit Bintang to the KLCC area and then back again. I’d been to KLCC a few times, but I always got there via the underground LRT system. And when I came above ground, ...]]>

By riding on the GoKL Green Line (one of six lines in Kuala Lumpur’s free public transit bus system), I was heading into unfamiliar waters. The Green Line makes a loop from Bukit Bintang to the KLCC area and then back again. I’d been to KLCC a few times, but I always got there via the underground LRT system. And when I came above ground, I was always a bit lost and disoriented. I think the tall buildings of KLCC and this powerhouse part of Kuala Lumpur confuses me. I lose my bearings. So I was curious how it would be seeing this part of Malaysia’s largest city from the seat of a bus.

In addition, before I even got to KLCC, I was going to have to transfer from the Purple Line to the Green Line in Bukit Bintant. That would also be a new experience. I had experience getting from Pasar Seni to Bukit Bintang via the GoKL Purple Line buses, but I had never tried to then exit the Purple Line bus and get on another bus going somewhere else.

Would this be easy to do? Would I even figure out how to do it? It was all part of the challenge of Day 2 of my GoKL adventures.

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VIDEO: TIGERS & ELEPHANTS AT KL TOWER – Hutan Kita Exhibition (“Our Forest”) http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-tigers-elephants-at-kl-tower-hutan-kita-exhibition-our-forest/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-tigers-elephants-at-kl-tower-hutan-kita-exhibition-our-forest/#respond Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:17:53 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29053 In the comments to another video, someone suggested that I check out the (free) Hutan Kita exhibition currently running at KL Tower here in Kuala Lumpur. After a quick Google Search and a realization that this was something I would enjoy, I made plans to go there. Hutan Kita means “Our Forest” or perhaps “Our Rainforest.” The exhibit was put on by the Malaysian government and ...]]>

In the comments to another video, someone suggested that I check out the (free) Hutan Kita exhibition currently running at KL Tower here in Kuala Lumpur. After a quick Google Search and a realization that this was something I would enjoy, I made plans to go there.

Hutan Kita means “Our Forest” or perhaps “Our Rainforest.” The exhibit was put on by the Malaysian government and VIVO Malaysia, and it focuses on the rainforest and other natural wonders of Malaysia. It’s taking place in an outdoor setting at the base of the KL Tower, and it features high-tech exhibits combined with a very realistic recreation of an actual rainforest – complete with jungle mist and jungle sounds.

I’m tempted to describe the exhibition in full here, but I think I’ll just leave that to the video. I think it’s best experienced in pictures and sound. I had a lot of fun at the exhibit and making the video, and I hope you enjoy it.

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VIDEO: DELETED SCENES & BONUS CLIPS: The Unfinished Videos of Kuala Lumpur http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-deleted-scenes-bonus-clips-the-unfinished-videos-of-kuala-lumpur/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-deleted-scenes-bonus-clips-the-unfinished-videos-of-kuala-lumpur/#respond Mon, 09 Sep 2019 00:28:31 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29050 Not all the video I shoot ends up in a video on YouTube. In fact, a LOT of it doesn’t. So I went scrounging around some of the various folders on my computer and picked out some deleted scenes and bonus clips and put them all together. The star of this video is the city of Kuala Lumpur as I navigate its many construction sites ...]]>

Not all the video I shoot ends up in a video on YouTube. In fact, a LOT of it doesn’t. So I went scrounging around some of the various folders on my computer and picked out some deleted scenes and bonus clips and put them all together. The star of this video is the city of Kuala Lumpur as I navigate its many construction sites on my frequent shopping expeditions.

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VIDEO: FREE Buses in Kuala Lumpur?? How to Use GoKL Buses (A PURPLE LINE ADVENTURE) http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-free-buses-in-kuala-lumpur-how-to-use-gokl-buses-a-purple-line-adventure/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-free-buses-in-kuala-lumpur-how-to-use-gokl-buses-a-purple-line-adventure/#respond Sun, 01 Sep 2019 11:03:53 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29037 Buses and I don’t generally get along. However, there is a special type of bus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that I thought I should get to know better: the free bus service called GoKL. I thought there were 4 GoKL lines. But in the course of my GoKL adventures, I learned that there are now six of them: Purple, Green, Blue, Red, Orange, and Pink. ...]]>

Buses and I don’t generally get along. However, there is a special type of bus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that I thought I should get to know better: the free bus service called GoKL. I thought there were 4 GoKL lines. But in the course of my GoKL adventures, I learned that there are now six of them: Purple, Green, Blue, Red, Orange, and Pink. And there are plans to open up even more lines in the future.

The Purple Line was a good place to start because the Purple Line buses start and end their route right across the street from my guest house at the Pasar Seni Station. I had a lot of questions about the GoKL service, and the best way to answer those questions seemed to be to just jump on the nearest GoKL bus and see what happens.

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VIDEO: Gleaming, Sleek & Shiny: The Reborn 4-Coach MONORAIL! (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-gleaming-sleek-shiny-the-reborn-4-coach-monorail-kuala-lumpur-malaysia/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-gleaming-sleek-shiny-the-reborn-4-coach-monorail-kuala-lumpur-malaysia/#respond Fri, 30 Aug 2019 11:15:04 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29029 Spending as much time as I have in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve had the chance to ride on the RapidKL system of MRT, LRT, and Monorail trains a LOT! Riding the Monorail was an interesting way to see the different neighborhoods of Malaysia’s biggest city, but it wasn’t the fastest or the most comfortable way of getting around – until now! I wasn’t aware of it, but ...]]>

Spending as much time as I have in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve had the chance to ride on the RapidKL system of MRT, LRT, and Monorail trains a LOT! Riding the Monorail was an interesting way to see the different neighborhoods of Malaysia’s biggest city, but it wasn’t the fastest or the most comfortable way of getting around – until now!

I wasn’t aware of it, but apparently, a project has been in the works for a long time to refurbish the Monorail coaches and put them back in operation in the form of more spacious and more modern 4-coach trains. The first three of many refurbished 4-coach trains recently went into circulation on the Monorail line, and I decided to go check them out.

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Can You Elect a KING? In Malaysia, YES you can! (A Visit to the Royal Museum in Kuala Lumpur) http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/can-you-elect-a-king-in-malaysia-yes-you-can-a-visit-to-the-royal-museum-in-kuala-lumpur/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/can-you-elect-a-king-in-malaysia-yes-you-can-a-visit-to-the-royal-museum-in-kuala-lumpur/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2019 03:55:48 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29033 As Malaysia’s Independence Day approached on August 31, I decided it was a good time to finally visit the Royal Museum in Kuala Lumpur (the Muzium Diraja). This museum had gone under the radar to an extent, largely because it is hidden in a forested area and surrounded on three sides by busy highways and the Klang River. I had walked all over that part ...]]>

As Malaysia’s Independence Day approached on August 31, I decided it was a good time to finally visit the Royal Museum in Kuala Lumpur (the Muzium Diraja). This museum had gone under the radar to an extent, largely because it is hidden in a forested area and surrounded on three sides by busy highways and the Klang River. I had walked all over that part of Kuala Lumpur, and yet, somehow, I hardly knew that the museum was there.

This museum is quite special. It is more than just a museum. It is, in fact, the old Istana Negara (National Palace). It is where the King and Queen of Malaysia lived from Independence in 1957 until the new palace was built in 2011. In 2013, the palace was converted into a museum to give people a glimpse into the daily lives of the royal families of Malaysia. I learned a lot about Malaysia on this trip to the Royal Museum.

I learned some things that, I believe, make Malaysia unique in the world. And I wanted to pass on that experience in this video. I hope you enjoy it.

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VIDEO: Chinatown’s Best-Kept Secret – KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-chinatowns-best-kept-secret-kuala-lumpur-malaysia/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-chinatowns-best-kept-secret-kuala-lumpur-malaysia/#respond Wed, 21 Aug 2019 03:13:06 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29022 A few days ago, a friend of mine brought me to her favorite place in Chinatown. A mutual friend had shown it to her. I was so impressed with this place that I decided to go back with my camera and show it to you. There are lots of interesting areas to explore in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown here in Malaysia. And there are plenty of ...]]>

A few days ago, a friend of mine brought me to her favorite place in Chinatown. A mutual friend had shown it to her. I was so impressed with this place that I decided to go back with my camera and show it to you. There are lots of interesting areas to explore in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown here in Malaysia. And there are plenty of temples, markets, cafes, and restaurants, both old and new to check out. But this place struck me as a little bit special. And I hope my video shows you why.

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JOURNAL: Awesome Day Trip to Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) in Malaysia http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/journal-awesome-day-trip-to-pulau-ketam-crab-island-in-malaysia/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/journal-awesome-day-trip-to-pulau-ketam-crab-island-in-malaysia/#respond Fri, 16 Aug 2019 00:29:01 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=28972 Friday August 16, 2019 6:45 a.m. Room 4, Natalia Guest House Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I went on a day trip from Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and it turned out great. There is nothing like a good day trip, in my opinion. You get to wake up in your current hotel, go have a great adventure without having to worry about your luggage or anything, and then you can enjoy ...]]>

Friday August 16, 2019
6:45 a.m. Room 4, Natalia Guest House
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I went on a day trip from Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and it turned out great. There is nothing like a good day trip, in my opinion. You get to wake up in your current hotel, go have a great adventure without having to worry about your luggage or anything, and then you can enjoy your day knowing exactly where you will be at the end of it as you return to where you started. There’s no stress at all and no luggage to carry.

Though, to be fair, this day trip did end up taking enough time that the journey there and back started to add up. It would have been better to stay the night or even two nights. But the trip by train and boat was also 50% of the fun, so it all worked out in the end.

The place I went to is an island called Pulau Ketam. That translates as Crab Island. It was settled back in the 1880s by Chinese fishermen. In the video that I made about this experience, I kept saying that the people settled there because of all the crab. And I keep saying that they make their money from crab fishing. But after my visit, I’m not sure if that is accurate. They probably settled there simply because the fishing in general was good. The island is probably called Crab Island because a lot of crabs live in the mud flats, but these aren’t the crab that you catch and eat.

I suppose if I’d been an even half-decent tourist, I’d have learned about Pulau Ketam a long time ago. It is a very well-known tourist attraction, especially since it is located so close to Kuala Lumpur and is so easy to get to. But I had never heard about it until one of the subscribers to my YouTube channel told me about it. (I met this subscriber for breakfast a few days ago, and he had gone to Pulau Ketam with his photography group.)

To get there, you simply take the KTM Komuter train to the final station, Pelabuhan Klang (AKA Port Klang). This was easy for me to do since I had done it several times on my trips to Sumatra. You also go to Pelabuhan Klang station to get the ferry to Sumatra. There are two boat terminals located there, the international terminal and the local one. To get to the international terminal for boats to Sumatra, you simply turn right out of the train station, turn right again at the corner and go a hundred meters up the road. To take a local boat going out to Pulau Ketam is even easier. The dock is right across the road. You simply cross the road right outside the train station. It couldn’t possibly be easier to get to.

The boat ride to the island itself is equally easy. There are at least two competing boat companies (and there may be several) offering trips on two very different types of boat. The first type is older. The boat is extremely long and narrow. I kept calling them cigar boats in the video, but, to be honest, they remind me more of pencils because they are so thin and sharp – almost like needles. The signs for these pencil boats bills them as fast and air conditioned. You get the impression from the signs that these are the boats you want to take if you want to get to the island in comfort and in style. The alternatives, they imply, are slow and clunky and uncomfortable and crowded and unreliable. And when these pencil boats were brand new, that was likely the case. The pencil boats were likely the latest and greatest thing on the market at that time.

Since then, however, life has moved on, and a new company with a new type of boat has burst onto the scene – the Alibaba. When you look at this boat from a distance, you might think it was slower and more cumbersome than the sleek pencil boats. But in reality, it is just as fast, if not faster. It is more comfortable down below in the air conditioned section with nicer seats, bigger and clearer windows, and more room. And best of all, it has an upper deck that is open to the world, to the air, and to the scenery. That is the biggest problem with the pencil boats – they are enclosed, like an airplane – and there is no possibility of going out on deck to see the scenery.

Since I wanted to shoot video of the experience, the choice was an easy one, and I wanted to ride on the Alibaba. That led to some problems of scheduling, though, because the Alibaba didn’t run as often, particularly on weekdays. And from the schedule I saw, there was a boat at 8:30, at 10:30 and then at 12:30. I spent probably an hour and a half on my computer looking up the schedules for these boats, the KTM trains, and the LRT to see if I could make it work. The 8:30 boat was too early for me, since I’d have to take a train from KL Sentral at probably 6:30 to make it. But the 10:30 seemed a bit late. If it was a normal day, the sun could be high in the sky and beating down like a monster by the time I got to the island.

After all my time looking at schedules, I decided to just calm down and go and see what happens. The worst thing that could happen is that I show up at Pelabuhan Klang and my only option is one of the pencil boats. And that would not be perfect, but it would be absolutely fine. I knew nothing about these boats or this island experience yet. Maybe, for reasons I didn’t understand yet, that was the better option. So I decided to just relax and leave from the guest house when I was ready, take the next train that was available, and see what happens. Forget about schedules.

I spent a long time preparing my camera gear for this trip. As always, I was in the middle of learning how to use a bunch of new gear I had purchased. Specifically, I was coming to grips with my new wireless microphone – the Rode Wireless Go – and my new lavalier microphone – the Saramonic SR-UM10-M1. I’d had mixed results with both so far. And I decided to make my life even more difficult by mounting my GoPro on top of my Panasonic G85 and trying to feed the audio signal from the Wireless Go to both cameras simultaneously.

As I was putting this beast of a setup together, it felt ridiculous. It seemed too big, too heavy, and too complicated for someone whose intention was to simply record a YouTube vlog about a visit to a tourist island. Who did I think I was? James Cameron working on The Titanic 2? I felt that way the entire night and I felt even sillier on the morning when I woke up and put the final touches on the “beast” by attaching all the necessary cords. However, once I started using it, I quite liked it. I liked having instant access to both the GoPro and the Panasonic. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say it was a game changer, but it was pretty close.

I tried a similar setup in Myanmar. There were some differences, though. In Myanmar, I did not have a wireless microphone, and I wasn’t able to feed the audio signal into both cameras. So afterwards, I had to go through a long and difficult and time-consuming process of saving the audio from the Panasonic as a separate file and then pasting it into the GoPro footage and syncing it. It was a nightmarishly complicated and frustrating process. Plus, I had the Panasonic shooting vlog footage of me talking while the GoPro was filming the street ahead of me at the same time. That seemed like the natural way to go.

Since then, however, I’ve changed the way I think about these two cameras. I tend to view the GoPro as my vlogging and talking camera and the Panasonic as a B-roll cinematic tool. To that extent, I didn’t intend to use the beast to film with the two cameras at the same time. Mounting one on top of the other was simply a matter of convenience so that I’d have easy access to both of them and I could switch back and forth from one to the other without any fuss. The alternative was to have one camera in my hands and the other one in my knapsack. And I knew from experience that that simply would not work. I would end up just using the camera in my hands because it would be too much trouble to turn it off and put it away while taking out the other camera and turning it on. And what would I do about audio in that case? Switch microphones each time, too? No, the only realistic way to have easy access to both cameras was to literally have both cameras in my hands at all times. And mounting them together was the only way to do that.

I already mentioned that I liked this “beast” setup from the second I started using it. And I quickly developed new techniques. I realized, for example, that my Sirui tripod is what made it possible. For one thing, it is strong enough to support the heavy load of the two cameras combined. But the Sirui’s fluid yet strong ball head made it a fairly simple matter to switch between cameras. It was really just a question of the angle. When I was shooting with the Panasonic – whether vlogging or shooting B-roll – I had to adjust the angle of the ball head appropriately. And I thought that to change to the GoPro, I’d have to twist the entire rig around. But I didn’t. All I needed to do was loosen the grip on the ball head, tilt everything the opposite way, and then tighten. And now the GoPro was at the right angle for vlogging. In that situation, the Panasonic wasn’t doing anything. It was just supporting the GoPro. That means the Panasonic was just dead weight, which is kind of silly. But it was a price I was willing to pay.

I started my morning down at the Klang River at the Pasar Seni MRT station as I often do. I filmed a short introduction there and talked about where I was going and what I was going to do. I used the Panasonic to do that. And then I got on the MRT and went to KL Sentral. I could have taken the KTM Komuter train from Kuala Lumpur station right here at Pasar Seni, and I know lots of people will tell me that in the YouTube comments, but I prefer to go to KL Sentral. For one thing, only certain trains pass through Kuala Lumpur station. Many of the trains heading to Klang actually start at KL Sentral. Therefore, by going to KL Sentral, I have access to the full schedule of trains heading to Klang, not just a few of them. Plus, most of the people coming down on the KTM Komuter from the north will be disembarking at KL Sentral. So by starting my journey at Kuala Lumpur Station, I will be boarding a very crowded train just to go one stop to KL Sentral, where everyone will get off. So I’d rather go to KL Sentral first by LRT and be waiting there for the train. Then I can let everyone off and board the train when it is empty. Besides, taking the LRT to KL Sentral is simple and fast. And the platform at Kuala Lumpur Station is not comfortable. It is extremely long, and you have to walk a long distance to get to the end of the platform where the trains stop. It’s a weird station in the way it is designed.

I had typical “Doug-style” problems buying my ticket for the KTM Komuter train. I completely forgot that they have this new system of giving everyone a rechargeable card instead of just selling them a one-way ticket or token. I already have several of these cards, but I forgot about them and I didn’t bring one with me. And I didn’t really want to use a card, because I preferred to just buy a ticket. But when I got to the KTM ticket counter and asked for a one-way ticket to Pelabuhan Klang, they automatically gave me a new card. The card itself costs 3 ringgit and they put 5 ringgit of credit on the card. So I had to pay 8 ringgit for a ticket that only costs 5 ringgit. Plus, I was a dummy and I said that I wanted a ticket to Klang when I should have said Pelabuhan Klang. Klang and Pelabuhan Klang are two different stations. So when I got to Pelabuhan Klang and tried to use this card to exit the station, the machine told that I didn’t have enough credit. Five ringgit was enough credit to get me to Klang Station. But the fare to Pelabuhan Klang was five ringgit and forty cents. So I had to go to the window and have them add another ringgit of credit to my card just to get out of the station.

To make me even more of a dummy, I had completely forgotten that I could use my RapidKL Touch’n’Go card on the KTM Komuter line. So I didn’t have to even go to the ticket counter at all. I didn’t have to buy a ticket or a card. I could just scan my Touch’n’Go card at the KTM turnstile just like I could at any MRT or LRT turnstile. But it all worked out in the end, and I got to Pelabuhan Klang on the KTM Komuter. The trip took about an hour and twenty-five minutes, which was longer than I expected. The trip was very comfortable – just as comfortable as all my other trips on the KTM. The train car was almost empty. At most, I shared the car with three or four other people, sometimes with just one. Interestingly, out of the eight windows on this train car, six of them were broken. That’s normal for KTM.

I arrived at Pelabuhan Klang Station at around 9:10 in the morning. According to my schedule, a pencil boat was leaving at 9:30. So I could take that boat or wait until 10:30 to take the Alibaba. But when I got into the terminal building (located just across the street), I found out that the Alibaba was also scheduled to leave at 9:30. And it turns out that, once again, I was a complete dummy. For a guy ostensibly running a YouTube travel channel, I am a doofus at actual travel. Once again, I had completely missed and overlooked the fact that it was a big holiday. August 15th this year was the date of the Hungry Ghost Festival. And since most of the people on Pulau Ketam were Chinese, this was a big deal. So because it was a holiday, the Alibaba boat line was running its full schedule, meaning a boat was leaving every hour on the half hour.

As I entered the terminal building, a young woman approached me and tried to get me to buy a ticket for one of the pencil boats. There was a man sitting at a table and selling tickets. She was kind of rushing me because the boat was scheduled to leave quite soon. But I wanted to check into the Alibaba first, and to my surprise, I learned that they had a boat leaving at 9:30 as well. I bought a round-trip ticket at the Alibaba counter for 18 ringgit, and then I walked quickly to the dock. I actually wanted to go to the bathroom first, but the woman who sold me the ticket told me that there was a toilet on the boat, so that was perfect.

The timing could not have been better on this entire trip. The LRT train arrived at Pasar Seni practically the second I reached the platform. The KTM Komuter train to Pelabuhan Klang left within minutes of my arrival at KL Sentral. I had enough time to go to the bathroom at KL Sentral, buy my ticket, and then make a video talking about buying the ticket, and then when I went down to Platform 3 to look for my train, I found it sitting there and waiting for me with open doors. I had enough time to shoot a couple of short videos on the train while it was stationary, and then we left. And we arrived at Pelabuhan Klang at 9:10, and I had exactly the right amount of time to shoot some video on the train station platform and then at the terminal building. I was able to capture some video of the cigar boat waiting at the dock. And as I was about twenty feet away from the Alibaba, it fired up its engine as it prepared leave. We left the dock within a minute of my boarding the boat. The timing was so perfect it was eerie. And my trip back to KL at the end of the day was even more eerie. I didn’t have to wait for anything. My return boat left within minutes of my boarding it. And when I approached Pelabuhan Klang Station, I saw that a train was sitting on the tracks waiting with its doors open. I quickened my pace a little bit when I saw that train waiting, since the next one might not be for nearly an hour. And I got to the train and sat down in another nearly empty car, and then the doors closed and the train left just two or three minutes after that.

The boat ride to Crab Island could not have been better. It was a short trip – perhaps half an hour – so there was no need to go to the lower deck and sit in a chair in the air conditioned section. Other than a quick trip down there just to shoot some video and a quick stop in the toilet before we arrived, I spent all my time on the upper deck. The upper deck had two sections. One section was down by the engine, and since they kept the door to the engine compartment open (I assume to keep it as cool as possible), it was pretty noisy there. It was the kind of mechanical noise that would damage your hearing in a short amount of time, so you don’t want to spend a lot of time there. The second section was at the front of the boat at the top of a few steps. There were two long sets of benches there, and this was the place where most people hung out.

Pulau Ketam is not the only island off the coast of Klang. Depending on how you divide them up, there are about six of them. Pulau Ketam is the outermost one. Dividing up these islands is possible because they really aren’t true islands in the sense of having clear land mass or rock mass making up each one. Instead, each island is technically a large mangrove on top of a muddy plain. There are wide channels going through these mangroves from one side all the way to the other. They look like rivers, but they aren’t really rivers. They don’t start in mountains and then flow down to the ocean. They are really just channels separating parts of the mangrove. And when the channel is wide enough and defined enough, you could call the mangrove on each side a separate island. Or you could make it all one island. It was kind of arbitrary.

The fun aspect of this is that there was a wide and curvy channel running right through the middle of Pulau Klang, and this channel served as the perfect shortcut to Pulau Ketam. There was no need to go all the way around Pulau Klang. We could just cut through the center of it. This channel curved in delightful ways, and gave me the intense feeling that I always get when I watch the boat scenes from Apocalypse Now as the gunboat made its way up the river into the jungle. As we went around one particular curve, I could actually feel the g-forces, as if we were in a car and going around a tight bend on a highway.

I was still getting used to my combination of GoPro mounted on the Panasonic, and I got a bit mixed up as I tried to figure out which camera to use in certain situations. However, a pattern slowly started to develop as I used the GoPro when I wanted to talk to the camera. And I used the Panasonic when I wanted to capture some close-ups of objects on the boat plus some of the scenery around me. The big problem, as it turned out, was not the camera combination. And it wasn’t the Rode Wireless Go. It was the brand new Saramonic lavalier microphone. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was crackling and distorting. I didn’t have this problem with the much cheaper Boya lavalier microphone, so I was quite disappointed with the Saramonic. Now I had yet another technical problem to try to solve.

I followed my usual habits when we got to the dock at Pulau Ketam. I spent some time on the dock shooting video and getting oriented and getting my thoughts together. And then I set off on foot to explore. The conditions weren’t the best since it started to rain shortly after my arrival. But it wasn’t a heavy rain, and it was somewhat intermittent. A couple of times, I had to find shelter and wait for the rain to stop, but other than that, it was okay. And the fact that it was overcast the entire time was probably a good thing. Even with the cloud cover, I ended the day quite red with sunburn over all of my exposed skin. It wasn’t a bad sunburn, but if the sun were out in force, I would have burned to a crisp. I forgot to bring sunscreen, and, as usual, I wore shorts and a thin T-shirt with no hat.

The entire island being a mangrove forest on a mud flat, the houses and even the walkways had to be built on stilts. In fact, the entire settlement floats above the water on these stilts. There is such a large amount of pathways and buildings on these stilts, that it was very easy to forget that you were walking above the water. It felt much of the time like a normal village sitting on the ground. It’s weird to think of that empty space underneath the cement and wooden platforms. One wonders what wildlife lives down there and even what monsters.

The village of Pulau Ketam does not offer any large and central tourist attractions. There is no famous must-see temple or cave or castle or colossal statue. The attraction is the village itself and the people that live there. For a photographer, the village offered endless possibilities, and I took advantage of that and snapped some pictures as well as some video. I’m slowly getting used to using my Panasonic for video, and as certain things become second-nature and muscle-memory takes over, bits of my brain become available for thinking about also taking a picture from time to time. I enjoyed that. I also used the back-button focus feature constantly in the hope that this would solve the focusing problems of the G85. I’m sure having the dual-pixel autofocus of a Canon camera or the alien-like tracking technology of a Sony would be preferable, but locking focus on the G85 with the back button went a long way towards solving my problems. In reviewing the footage afterward, I saw no pulsing at all. And very few shots were out of focus. I learned that it was possible to lock focus when taking a static video shot, and that prevented the camera from hunting all the time. And if I wanted to pan, I could touch the button again to release the lock, and the camera would go back to regular autofocus. I also set the sensitivity to -2. I don’t know if the sensitivity level change made any difference, but I saw very little hunting and my frustration level with the camera went way, way down.

The village was much larger than I expected, and by the time I was done walking around, I was getting quite tired. From one extreme end to the other, the village stretches about 3.3 kilometers. And if you are meandering around all the interesting walkways, you could easily walk much farther than that. The locals and many visitors deal with those distances by using e-bikes. It’s possible to rent them for the day or for a few hours. I didn’t bother doing that because it would be difficult to shoot video while driving an e-bike. And I had some negative feelings about those e-bikes. The locals drove them at very high speeds, and on those narrow walkways, I felt like I was in a shooting range. They snuck up behind me and blew past at such high speeds that they startled me every time.

The Hungry Ghost festivities were very much underway, and I was able to capture some nice video of the offering displays as well as of the piles of burning ghost money and other items. Thinking back, I probably should have spent the night there. There were likely performances and other activities throughout the evening and into the next day that I could have enjoyed. I decided against it for reasons of economy. The hotel room would likely have cost 100 ringgit for one night by the time you added the taxes and fees. And the food on this island was expensive. But I also felt like I didn’t need the extra video. If I stayed overnight and had many more hours of experiences there, I’d end up with more hours of video, and I already had more video than I could possibly use.

So, in the end, I decided to take the 3:30 boat back to Klang. During the day, I’d had a couple of oyster omelettes and even a large bottle of Tiger beer. The omelettes cost 10 ringgit each, and the single beer cost 19 ringgit. As is common in these Chinese restaurants, they didn’t have any prices on their menus. Had I seen that the beer cost 19 ringgit, I probably wouldn’t have ordered it. But it was ice cold and I enjoyed it very, very much. So it was money well-spent.

It’s hard to say what was the highlight of this trip. I fell in love with the visuals of the village itself, and I enjoyed simply walking and taking in the unique experience. But I also loved the boat trip there. I guess those were the two highlights.

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VIDEO: Awesome Day Trip to Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) in Malaysia http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-awesome-day-trip-to-pulau-ketam-crab-island-in-malaysia/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/video-awesome-day-trip-to-pulau-ketam-crab-island-in-malaysia/#respond Thu, 15 Aug 2019 05:14:26 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29014 Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) is located just a few kilometers off the coast of Malaysia. This mangrove forest island was settled in 1880 by Chinese fishermen, and today, it has developed into a modern tourist attraction for day trippers making the relatively easy trip from Kuala Lumpur. People come for the scenery and for the seafood. Being a mangrove forest island, there is no land to ...]]>

Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) is located just a few kilometers off the coast of Malaysia. This mangrove forest island was settled in 1880 by Chinese fishermen, and today, it has developed into a modern tourist attraction for day trippers making the relatively easy trip from Kuala Lumpur. People come for the scenery and for the seafood.

Being a mangrove forest island, there is no land to speak of. The entire area is submerged in seawater during high tide. Therefore, all the houses and buildings and walkways have been built on top of wood and cement posts sunk deep into the mud.

It’s a delightful place to visit, and it was made even more interesting for me because it happened to be the day of the Hungry Ghost Festival.

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JOURNAL: Technology Tales-Rode Wireless Go & Saramonic Lav Mic http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/journal-technology-tales-rode-wireless-go-saramonic-lav-mic/ http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/journal-technology-tales-rode-wireless-go-saramonic-lav-mic/#respond Sun, 11 Aug 2019 01:46:47 +0000 http://www.thecyclingcanadian.com/?p=29010 Sunday, August 11, 2019 5:30 a.m. Room 4, Natalia Guest House Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I had a good day yesterday in terms of technology. My goal was to buy a new lavalier microphone to be used with my new Rode Wireless Go. When I left to go to Camera Valley, I thought I would end up having to buy the expensive Rode SmartLav+. The main feature I needed ...]]>

Sunday, August 11, 2019
5:30 a.m. Room 4, Natalia Guest House
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I had a good day yesterday in terms of technology. My goal was to buy a new lavalier microphone to be used with my new Rode Wireless Go. When I left to go to Camera Valley, I thought I would end up having to buy the expensive Rode SmartLav+. The main feature I needed in a lavalier mic was a short cord – perhaps a meter long – yet all the microphones I knew about and could find in the stores had extremely long cords – like the 6-meter cord on my Boya BY-M1. The Rode SmartLav+ is an expensive broadcast-quality microphone, so it probably would have worked well, but I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of buying it. For one thing, it was expensive. For another, it was specifically designed to work with smartphones and tablets, and to use it with a camera would require purchasing a TRS to TRRS adapter for an additional $30. It just didn’t feel right.

But when I got to Camera Valley and had a chance to talk with my favorite sales clerk, I was presented with another option: the Saramonic SR-UM10-M1 for 179 ringgit. That is more than three times as expensive as my Boya, but it was far less than the 350 ringgit I’d have to pay for the SmartLav+. And other than a bit of confusion about whether the Saramonic would work well with a Rode transmitter, it seemed perfect. The cord was the right length. The microphone itself with its little clip was the appropriate size. It came with a wind screen. On the package, it said that it is meant to work with the Saramonic wireless transmitter. I asked if anyone knew what that meant exactly. That’s great that it works well with a Saramonic transmitter, but does that mean that it would work poorly if plugged directly into a camera? And how would it work plugged into a Rode transmitter? As I expected, I could not get answers to these questions, and I could only test it myself and see what happens.

I ended up buying it, and, so far, it seems to be working. I have to say that I wasn’t entirely pleased with the sound quality from my initial video clips. There appeared to be significant distortion. My voice caused a crackling sound. But perhaps that can be fixed by adjusting the levels in the camera. I hope so.

My one problem with my Camera Valley experience (and I should have known better) is that I went there on a Saturday. And that is a busy day. So my favorite sales clerk was busy. In fact, he was super busy. He happened to be dealing with a serious customer when I showed up. This customer was just as intense about his purchases as I usually am about mine, and he had tons of questions and he investigated all possibilities before making up his mind. He was also spending a lot of money. He bought all kinds of equipment, including some expensive Sony lenses. So my favorite sales clerk was busy and he couldn’t help me. I was stuck with a regular sales clerk, and I did not like him at all. He was just typical. He had no interest in me or my needs. He saw his job as taking my money when I decided what I wanted to buy. Pretty much my only reason for returning to Camera Valley so often is that I liked the sales clerk I usually deal with. If I had encountered this other sales clerk on my first visit, I probably never would have returned. In Malaysia, I don’t think my attitude is the norm. People here shop based on price. They don’t care about anything but getting the lowest price. So customer service is not generally considered important. But I’m the opposite.

Monday, August 12, 2019
6:00 a.m. Room 4, Natalia Guest House
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I’m not quite sure what to write this morning. Things in general seem to be a weird combination of static and spinning out of control. I am supposed to be focused on making plans for my return to Myanmar and sorting out the gear and technology for doing that. But entire days go by when I do something else, and I don’t make any progress on the Myanmar side of things. I suppose I just have to pull the trigger and apply for the visa and book a flight. Once I do that, things might kick into a higher gear.

My adventures with technology continue, and that is one area where the spinning out of control is kind of taking place. I guess I’m caught between multiple worlds, in particular, the video world and the picture-taking world. I’m slowly working on having better equipment for shooting video. But I still have all of my old Olympus lenses and even my Olympus camera body, and those are of little to no use for video. I should sell them, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I hate selling things. It is so much work. Buying is much easier.

I’m also caught between the worlds of Malaysia and Myanmar. I’m supposed to be preparing for Myanmar, but I’m also doing some things here in Kuala Lumpur and trying to shoot video while I go about my days. But just shooting that video ends up taking so much time (more time than it should, as always) that I end up 100% focused on Malaysia. As I’ve talked about many times, it is a struggle to find a balance between living my life and shooting video of that life. The simple act of shooting video itself becomes so energy- and time-intensive that my life becomes entirely about video. My life becomes just about learning how to shoot video, buying the right gear for shooting video, and editing that video. And then the subject matter of the videos becomes shooting video. There is no more regular life outside of video. It’s a bit of a loop.

Finally, I’m caught between the worlds of cycling and backpacking. I plan to return to Myanmar without my bicycle, and yet I do hope to go cycling eventually. Yesterday, in fact, I finally went upstairs into the storage area of this hostel and checked up on my bike and my gear up there. I was reluctant to do that because I was worried that I’d neglected it for so long that there would be problems. But it wasn’t as bad as I expected. The bike was quite dusty. I should have covered it in a tarp now that I think about it. But the chain appeared to be in good shape. I re-oiled the chain and the gears and other parts to keep them from getting rusty. I also brought down my boxes of gear so that I could sort through them

It looks like I narrowly avoided a disaster with my boxes. There was some water damage on some of them, but it never got into the contents. It never occurred to me that there could be water leakage or any kind flood up there, but I guess that is always a danger when you store gear for any length of time. Again, I should have covered the boxes with a tarp. I store things a lot in different places, but I never seem to do a good enough job. I think at the time it will be for a short time, and then it stretches into months, and that’s why I don’t pack stuff up as well as I should.

I was worried about the bike, but I was even more worried about my tent. I thought that in the intense heat of Malaysia, my tent would start to break down, but when I got it out, it seemed to be doing okay. I was careful this time, to store the tent very loosely. I didn’t wrap it up tightly in its stuff sack. I just spread it out as lightly and loosely as I could inside my trailer. And so it had room to breathe and stay dry and not begin to degrade.

I was astonished, as always, when I opened up the boxes and started sorting through the gear. I have so much extra stuff it’s crazy. That’s also a result of being between worlds. Right before I began this new project of shooting video, I was deeply into my old project of getting my touring bicycle in shape. So I had recently gotten new wheels. And I’d purchased new pannier bags. And I had installed new fenders. And I had gotten super-crazy (or creative) with my handlebars and added all kinds of bar ends and interesting things there. Go back a bit further in time, and you see when I bought a new sleeping bag, a new stove, a new everything, in fact. And yet, I kept the old versions of everything. I wanted to test out all the new stuff and see how it worked before I got rid of the old ones. So I currently have two tents, two stoves, two sleeping bags, two sets of pannier bags, etc. And my boxes of gear in storage have gotten larger and larger.

When I flew from Mandalay to Kuala Lumpur, my plan was to deal with all of this stuff and get my bike ready. But then I changed my mind and decided to fly back to Myanmar. So I haven’t been coming to grips with all my gear. When I rummage through these boxes, now, it seems insane. Where did all this stuff come from? It seems particularly insane when you factor in all the new camera and microphone gear I now have for shooting video.

Eventually, I will deal with all this stuff, so it’s no big deal. I will likely have to go on a bike ride around Malaysia to truly make up my mind about what gear works and what doesn’t and do a final accounting of all this. At that time, I hope to combine all of my gear into a nice cycling rig suitable for shooting video. I suppose that will mean getting rid of all my old camera gear.

The last big item to think about is the computer. I decided to postpone buying a new computer until after I return from Myanmar. I just don’t have the energy or the time right now to deal with such a monumental purchase and monumental change in my life. But perhaps I should rethink that. A new computer would solve some of the bottlenecks I’m currently facing. For example, I now have two cameras that can both shoot in 4K, but I’m not taking advantage of that because my computer can’t process or play 4K video. That’s kind of silly. So buying a new computer is kind of like getting the bonus of two new 4K video cameras. I paid for expensive cameras that can shoot 4K, so it’s kind of silly to have a computer that won’t allow me to take advantage of that.

The same goes for audio. I currently can’t mix and match footage from my two cameras because I can’t deal with the audio. But a new computer would allow me to fix that problem as well. So a new computer would fix camera bottlenecks and microphone bottlenecks. It might also speed things up and free up more time. I’ll have to think about it.

Finally, I guess I’m also caught between all the various worlds of social media. My main focus is YouTube and video, of course. But I also recently started updating my website a little bit. That was supposed to be a simple project, but it ended up taking much more time than I expected – leaving even less time for video and for my regular life. The goal was to eventually streamline all of this and perhaps even get it automated. The foundation would be video and then it would spread from there to all the other platforms. But things haven’t really smoothed out or gotten more efficient.

Thursday August 15, 2019
5:25 a.m. Room 4, Natalia Guest House
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I’m hoping to go on a little day trip today, so I don’t have a lot of time for my morning journal. I just want to mention some things that happened yesterday and the day before.

The main activity continued to surround my new Rode Wireless Go microphone. Basically, I started to have problems with it. The problem started quite a few days ago, maybe as soon as I bought it, but it was intermittent. And then it got worse and worse until yesterday when it got very bad.

To turn either the receiver or the transmitter on and off again, you press the power button and hold it for three seconds. That always worked fine with the receiver. But occasionally, the transmitter wouldn’t respond. I could hold the power button for ten or twenty seconds and nothing would happen. I’d have to let go and try again and then again and again while moving my finger to different positions and trying to hold the button in from different angles and with different pressure until it finally responded. Most of the time when the problem occurred, I would only have to attempt it twice. It would fail the first time and then it would shut down or turn on properly the second time. But even that was enough of a problem to be annoying and worrying. It was annoying because turning the Rode on or off could take up to twenty seconds instead of the usual three seconds. And I would have the sense that I was damaging the mechanism by unconsciously pressing it far too hard as I searched for the right angle and pressure to activate the button. And it was worrying because I thought the problem was getting worse, and if it continued to get worse, it could easily reach the point where the transmitter wouldn’t turn on at all.

So, I took my courage in both hands, gathered up the box and all the packing material and the receipt and I went back to the store. I was hoping to get a new one, and I was worried that they would test it and decide that nothing was wrong with it. The problem was intermittent after all. It didn’t happen every time. I was also worried that instead of giving me a new one, they would say they had to send this one in for repairs, and who knows how long that would take. This would normally just be a worry and not require courage, but the twist was that I had bought the microphone at the dreaded YL Camera Services.

I bought the Rode at YL because on the day I was looking for a Sirui tripod, I happened to go into YL, and I was helped by a fairly friendly and helpful sales clerk. That’s a rarity at YL. But it made me more likely to return there. And when I decided to buy a Rode Wireless Go, I took a chance and went back to YL and I encountered the same sales clerk. Now I was going back with a problem with the Rode, and I really hoped the same sales clerk would be there. Unfortunately, he wasn’t.

My heart sank when I entered YL because I didn’t see the good sales clerk, and the two clerks that were there were both just leaning against the counter, looking bored and grim, and staring at their smartphones. I went into the store and neither of them looked up or acknowledged me in any way. I even stood in front of them for a few seconds, but they did nothing. I was eventually forced to lean down so that I could get in their line of sight and then I said, “Excuse me. Could you help me?”

One of these guys kind of heaved a little sigh and slowly looked up from his phone. I started to explain why I was there. And I got out the Rode Wireless Go and demonstrated the problem with the power button. And while I was talking, the salesclerk turned away and went back to his phone. He wasn’t even listening to me. I wasn’t sure if I should just keep talking or what I should do. And I got upset at this point. I didn’t lose my temper, but it slipped a little bit and I said, “Could you please look at me?” Though there was nothing harsh in my words, a bit of an angry tone was in my voice. The salesclerk said, “I am waiting for you.” That annoyed me even more because there was nothing to wait for. I was talking and showing him the microphone problem. And he was ignoring me.

I don’t know if my angry tone did the trick, but it suddenly appeared like this salesclerk just wanted to get rid of me. He said something to the other salesclerk, and to my relief, this second guy went to the locked display cabinet and removed a brand new Rode Wireless Go. It appeared I was going to be able to exchange my defective Wireless Go for a new one. It was a bit odd because they didn’t even try to test my microphone. They just took me at my word that it wasn’t working. And they didn’t write down anything about what I said was the problem.

Unfortunately, the first time they tried to give me a new unit in exchange, it didn’t happen. They completed the computer work and they printed out four pages of documents. One page was my new receipt, and I had to sign the other three. But when that was done, they suddenly started to look at the box for the new microphone. And there seemed to be a problem with the serial number. I don’t know what the problem was, but they eventually went back to the display cabinet and got yet another Rode Wireless Go and repeated the entire exchange process. I had to sign three more pages and I had to give back the receipt they had given me and take the new one.

I felt quite awkward during this process because the salesclerk that I had snapped at seemed even more unfriendly and grim. He wanted nothing to do with me. And when the whole transaction was over, they pretty much went back to ignoring me. I tried to lighten the mood several times by chatting with them and talking about the microphone and thanking them profusely for giving me a new one. But they didn’t respond with anything. I thanked them again when I left, and one of the salesclerks actually made eye contact this time and said something in return. But the original guy, the really grim one, continued to stay silent.

So that was my new experience with the horrible customer service at YL Camera Services. It’s a curious thing. How can one store with three separate branches consistently have the worst customer service on planet Earth? It has to come from somewhere. Is there an owner or manager who has a knack for hiring unpleasant people? Or is it somehow baked into the YL corporate culture? It’s a puzzle.

So far, the new Wireless Go is working the way it is supposed to. I’ve been enjoying using it, but I have had trouble with the audio signal being too strong when I plug in a lavalier mic. There appears to be some distortion in the sound. It seems to be too loud. It crackles and breaks. But maybe I can figure that out and fix the problem with camera settings.

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