📱 Mobile Malaysia

Phone? Camera?

When we left home on our extended honeymoon, I wanted to take only the phone, and not a camera, with me. I'd spent the past four months shooting a lot with cameras, and wanted to travel light. Not worrying about the gear, the battery charging on another gadget, the mental burden that comes with always keeping an eye on the thing. movieStar talked me out of it, and I, reluctantly, added missQ to the always-on-me backpack (or tote).

As the trip progressed, I found I would reach for the camera less, and less. The phone ended up being the tool I'd pick most of the time. I had it on my hand a LOT. Since Malaysia was the third stop on the trip, I still tried to shoot with missQ, sporadically, though. The second country we visited, Indonesia, had provided a great opportunity (and a later post, for sure) for proper photos, but I was starting to feel I was right when I thought about leaving the thing behind.

I carried it all the way, four months, for nearly no purpose. On me every single day. It never stayed behind at the hotel, rather stuck at the bottom of the bag. I took the little camera around the world, but it saw little of it.

The thing is, I've grown quite used to shooting with the iPhone, ever since the first one I had: the 3 GS. Even with that very limited cameras the earlier models had, I was able to publish photos on the newspaper's magazine, alongside others shot with the camera. Quality wise, it's not the same, of course. They are very different beasts. But it's fun, and apps help bridge that gap. Sometimes. I have, literally, given classes on mobile photography. I like it, that's what I'm trying to say.

Probably unsurprisingly, I like cameras. I'm not a camera expert, far from it, not even a camera person. I don't go crazy talking about sensor sizes, burst speeds, and max ISO settings. They are tools, I like what they allow me to do. They can, however, be a pain. Especially when you just want to travel light and carefree.

I would shoot less with it after Malaysia. Whole countries went by without a single click on little missQ.

We had just flown over from a wonderful time in the Bali neighborhood, with Nusa Penida and Lembongan thrown in (try to guess what the next story will be), and landed in Kuala Lumpur. The city's name alone would justify stopping there, it's one of those that makes us dream about travelling when we're younger.

KL was, I'm sorry to say, disappointing. No particular reason for it, I should have probably expected that after the time we spent in Bali. The city just looks, and feels, a bit sad. Stuck in the 80's. Dark-ish, and a little dirty. People did not smile a lot, I remember. Also home to the worst meal we had on the whole trip, but that was definitely our fault. There is plenty of yummy food to have, as we also found out.

And, yet, an incredible thing happened in this city, and that alone made the stop worthwhile: this is the country, the city, where movieStar (the nickname, not herself) was born!

During one of our lunches in KL, on a very unglamorous Indian restaurant, stuck on a ground floor of what looked like an office building, my wife had her shades on. She looked like, well, a movieStar! I posted the photo, and called her movieStar for the first time. A couple of days later, in Georgetown, we visited a burger place, and the owner had seen the photo. First thing he asks? "Is your wife a movie star?".
We laughed our hearts out, but can you blame him for thinking that? Just look at her on the day he asked, at his burger joint!

Anyway... After we'd done the KL thing, we booked ourselves a train ride, heading north, and moved on. To Georgetown, Penang. Things were about to change.

After a freezing few hours (pack a sweater for this train ride, really), we made our way to a ferry and, a short while later, we stepped off in Penang Island.

Georgetown is very, very, cool. We LOVED that place. Food, street art, lovely architecture, friendly people. They have it all. A friend, a chef, had recommended the city as a must-visit spot, food-wise. He was right.

Note: you can read all about the Malaysian part of the honeymoon here.

Plenty of specialty coffee places, lots of instagrammable restaurants, cool burger joints with alcoholic milk shakes (yes, that is a thing, a delicious one.), and our favorite: the night markets by the harbor. As with most night markets, it was very cheap, and you can find a lot of very delicious food.

We walked as much as we usually do. Georgetown has the added feature of a scavenger hunt, if you're into street art. I'm not sure how many photos ended up on the camera, but this is the place where I truly felt the phone taking over. I did use the camera for the photo that would later be used on this very blog! The camera still wins on low light situations, more so with the older iPhone X I was carrying at the time.

We moved on to Langkawi for a few days, where we stayed in a very cool hotel. I proceeded to use the phone for all photos. After that, we would go on to Thailand, and I'll have to check if I even used the camera there. Probably not. The iPhone had won. It would be a mobile-first honeymoon after this.

Can you tell which of the photos on this post were made with missQ? Or the phone? There's a very easy way, if you look closely.