Rules Of Khao Yai

To sew up the last few loose ends from last week’s trip to Khao Yai, I want to share the tules of Khao Yai publicly mounted, visible to visitors once yo are in said jungle.
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It is rather discriminating.
Top row from left:
– It is prohibited to build towers with three potatoes shaped rocks.
– Deers are fashionable and may wear shawls and pashminas.
– Visitors must not serenade others.
– Dogs are forbidden to look at cats from behind regardless how much they want to do just that.
Middle row from left:
– Visitors must not talk to flowers and / or pet them.
– Visitors must not smoke from a fancy AND way oversized bong.
– Visitors must not be 60years old.
– Visitors must not smoke huge doobies. (I thought this was already covered with the non fancy bong rule)
Bottom row from left:
– No Harry Potter like fireplace communication allowed. (That is a surprise as cell phone reception is pretty poor)
– Absolutely no ice cream trucks.
– When you give a speech at a lectern or pontificate otherwise don’t get overexcited and caught up in your own argument so that you throw your papers and notes about, like a crazy person. (Why would anyone give a speech in the jungle, that is absurd)
– No watching out for booby-trap wires.
So there you have it, that’s a lot to think about as you stumble through the jungle and get your way occasionally barred by recklessly growing trees and grasses such as this very undisciplined bamboo.
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All right, stay sharp and obey the laws of the jungle.

Ranger Markus \m/

Little Life In A Big Jungle

I mentioned it in an earlier post, we went into the jungle of Khao Yai National Park. And because I walked through instead of the usual road biking, I saw amazing sights. For example this teeny-tiny moss grows on a fallen tree trunk.
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There were also loads of polychromatic (whoa, dude watch the language), OK, multicolored butterflies flying around.
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And finally, we saw a pretty grumpy and large scorpion. How do I know he was grumpy? Well when I looked at him he instantly raised his tail and threatening by clipping with his pincers. He was definitely very confident in his abilities to put me in my place.
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In conclusion, the is a lot of small and little life in the jungle.

Stay sharp and explore the jungle.
Markus \m/

Yesterday The End Was Near…

…or so it appeared. We had a hardcore downpour yesterday evening pretty much through the night. But the really great thing about yesterday’s rain was the afternoon through evening build up, how nature was stretching out and flexing its muscles.
These are two images J took from the car around 17:45 (5:45pm) – the sky was dramatic, clouds were torn.
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And then it started to rain, then rain hard and then it was like in a rainforest shower for quite a while.
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That while was exactly as I crawled home from my Muay Thai practice, exhausted. But the rain gave me back energy.
I slept pretty well and now is a new day already.

Stay sharp.

Markus \m/

Before Sunrise

There is an old blues traditional, called “Blues Before Sunrise”. I heard it first on the Eric Clapton album “From The Cradle” it starts with a super mean and distorted slide intro and then sets off like a freight train heavy breathing at moderate speed. Truly Fantastic!
As I am preparing for a trip into the Himalaya, I resorted to ascending and descending the 58 stories of our condo staircase. And as I emerged on the roof this morning – before sunrise – I saw that nature was conducting quite the spectacle over Bang Na, east of my apartment.
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There you go, lightning light show in the sky. It appears that the old saying is true.
The early bird does catch the worm.
As you can imagine, my day started pretty good Nd hence. I am gong into work now with quite the swagger in my step.

Sayonara dudes and stay sharp.
Markus \m/

P.S.: On that same Eric Clapton album is another song, written in the same key as “Blues Before Sunrise” called “It Hurts Me Too”. When I need to a good, positive, creative mood, I listen to both songs in one shot, volume wide open…..it’s like a super quick charge for me and I am ready to roll. Think like the transformation from Bruce Banner to the Hulk, without the caveman syntax, torn clothing and green skin…well and without the steroid physique.

You’re In The Jungle, Baby….

…you’re gonna di-ii-iie. Ah Guns And Roses, welcome to the jungle. That was the mental soundtrack that played in my head as we entered the jungle in Khao Yai with a guide last Saturday. And while we could have died, we didn’t. As far as I am concerned we were nowhere close to dying. Maybe except when we walked underneath the little green snake (poisonous), that the guide saw and pointed out and. I did only see after my fifteenth attempt to see it. I even summoned the courage to photograph it, even though I felt like it was measuring me with it dark beady eyes. (photo will follow). Anyway, I am sharing two images with you that are the start of what could be a new found love – the jungle.
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There are giant Bayan trees, that are essentially their own ecosystem. They are beautiful to look at, since they usually consist of multiple trunks and the trunks are not just simply round, but more like folded along the length of the trunk. Either way, looking straight up provides a great view.
Then there are also all kinds of creeks, rivers and streams running through the jungle. And because Khao Yai is one big rock, there is a good chance for waterfalls.
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Waterfall – check. This one was about twenty meters high and was going at tremendous rate and force. The rushing of the water down the fall was very soothing and relaxing, I could have stood there for hours to watch the water fall.
That concludes the first impression of the jungle, more to come.

Stay sharp
Markus \m/

Sunrise, Sunrise…

…see the sunlight in your eyes.
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Looking East…
And a Good Morning from sleepy, foggy Bangkok to you, too. You have a successful and fulfilling day.
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Looking North…
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Looking West…
There wasn’t anything in the South that blew me away this morning, thus no image. If the a South puts in a little more effort tomorrow, I will gladly add it in one of the future posts.

Stay sharp all day long….
Yours Markus \m/

Odds And Ends, Ins And Outs From Singapore

We are back, in fact we are in the taxi on out way home as I type this. And I thought, I’ll show a few odds and ends from Singapore.
IMG_4104.JPG A “No Through Traffic” pillar with a brass plate and the Singaporean Merlion – something you really wouldn’t see anywhere else.
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A refreshing juice that was part if our lunch today. Under normal circumstances not worth mentioning, but I really liked the perspective here.
IMG_4101.JPG Definitely odd – a portrait of Barbara she actually likes. Because she is in the picture (knees) without being completely visible. I liked the reflection in the table, too.
We are going to close with a view of the gigantic Sands Hotel. The thing on top, that extends over the three towers looks different from different viewpoints. Sometimes it looks like a boat, then like a very futuristic cruiseship, then again like a lengthwise sliced banana.
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Good Night and stay sharp.

Yours
Markus \m/

The End Of Innocence

If you can chuckle about this photo you have lost your innocence quite some time ago. If you don’t get it, bless your heart.
This is the name of a restaurant at Changi Airport in Singapore. I could not resist, I had to take the picture. After all, Singapore is the city with a jewelry store on Orchard Road, called “Hung Jewels”.
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Cheers And either revel in you lost innocence or enjoy obliviousness, either way stay sharp.

Markus \m/

A Day In Singapore

After the most excellent visit to the National Museum Singapore and lunch we walked towards the newly reclaimed bay. The bay is host to the Sands Hotel – arguably a great engineering achievement and it is host to the gardens by the bay. The gardens are also a great achievement, especially the Flower Mountain and the Cloudforest Mountain exhibit. But despite all this achievement and the good intentions of bringing unique attractions to Singapore, I was a little disappointed. Why? – because it all felt very artificial and scary. The message in the exhibits was repeated Over and over, that man should reserve nature. But the unwritten message was that if all else fails we can make a nice glass dime, charge you am arm and a leg for admission and you can visit an imitation of what nature once was like, right here.
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This is looking up the large artificial waterfall, the drops probably 30m (100ft) from the top of the mountain. There is a wealth of plants, tweets, mosses and flowers and it looks all beautiful with the little raindrops – canned perfection. And I think it is this canned cookie-cutter perfection that concerns me. The dew always condenses perfectly on blossoms, leaves and mosses.
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There are fantastic shades of peach-apricot orange in these cultivated flowers.
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There are flowers that reminded me of a caricature of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger belting out “Satisfaction”.
IMG_1072.JPG There are orchids of phenomenal detail. All this is available in a man-made environment that is designed to make you believe it is real, it is natural. I don’t know perhaps I am overly sensitive or I am overthinking it, but I prefer real nature to man-made and controlled nature. Nonetheless, I can appreciate the shapes and shades of the flowers and the man made views.
There are also a multitude of ferns, some of the oldest flowers in history.
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And then there are flowers that have leaves with dots on them, they are made for black and white, similar to Aspens…also made for black and white
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Finally there are the views offered, like this one from the artificial cloud forest mountain towards the Sands Hotel.
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I want to close with the view from the gardens by the bay towards the Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel, which we did not ride, because the admission is equal to highway robbery.
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In summary, Singapore is a pretty good city to visit. it is a fantastic city to visit, if you have an unlimited budget, because Singapore has become incredibly expensive and way, way overpriced – I am still reeling from the continuing sticker shock, regardless where we look or go. Other than that indulge yourself, go visit Singapore. Just remember, it is not real. Singapore is on the path to transform itself into a Disneyland for the Astrawealthy.

So save your money for that Singapore visit and stay sharp.
Markus \m/

SebastiĆ£o Salgado – Genesis Exhibition In Singapore

Today, I am a bit speechless and overwhelmed. We went to Singapore to visit the SebastiĆ£o Salgado Genesis photo exhibition. Salgado is best known for his documentary work of human life and struggle and human interaction with nature. I know, that sounds like a very tall order. But he “simplifies” this tall order by doing everything in Black & White, which drew my attention to him, ever since I became interested in photography many years ago.
If you will, he is for the present, what may be Ansel Adams was 50-70 years ago. But this is not a comparison, it is to tell you about the exceptional exhibition, hosted by the National Museum Singapore.
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This is the exhibition we visited. And this is the first picture you see when you are actually entering the exhibition. To me personally it was more of a pilgrimage, than a visit.
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I admire Salgado so much. The topics he chooses to document, the eye he employs to create his compositions, the post processing and vision he has for the finished image and then simply the power and punch most of his images have for me. Besides subject matter and pictorial composition (what he photographs) he is a master of the only other two dimensions in black and white photography: contrast – light and dark and depth of field – sharp vs blurry. This sounds simple, but I think the challenge has always been to become really proficient and expressive with very little or very limited resources. The National Museum a Singapore excellent work in laying out the exhibition In order to properly present, highlight and accentuate the works. What follows now are a few images of the exhibition, rather than me showing you photos of photos. If you are interested in the actual work that Salgado creates, then you need to visit:
http://www.amazonasimages.com
So, here we enter the exhibition.

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The exhibition is laid out such that different topics – such as Africa, Amazon, Antartica, etc – have a different color backdrop for the walls the pictures are hung on.
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Despite the size of the exhibition of more than 240 images, the visitor never is exposed to more than maybe 20 images at a time.
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Also the sizes of the images vary. Some are 12x16in, while other go up to 45x60in. Regardless, all images are just so great. Yes, I have my favorites. I like the images from Antarctica and the Alaska more than the Africa or Amazon images, but that is just my personal preference. Overall I was overwhelmed by the variety and the sheer impression all these beautiful images left on me.
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We Re off now again to further explore the city. More soon. Until then stay sharp….and maybe contrasty.

Good Bye-la
Markus \m/