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Graffiti Artist BOOGIE in ASIA – A Travel Diary

Graffiti artist BOOGIE of SML Crew and the HOMBOOG Collective went to Asia in december 2016 to visit Jakarta (Indonesia), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), the Thai Islands and Bangkok (Thailand). He brought some photos and also wrote a nice travel diary about every tourstop. Here is the complete Recap, more photos you can check at HOMBOOG.COM!

BOOGIE in JAKARTA (INDONESIA)

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Already in March last year I received the first email, if I’d be interested to be a part of the 10th episode of the graffiti festival Street Dealin in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. I’d already heard about it from my good friend Dave Bonzai, who took part in the festival the year before, that this is one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Asia and also very well organised by amazingly friendly people. So – no question – I was in. Also on board for this adventure: „The Frenchie“ Nilko White – a good friend with whom I’d already been in St. Petersburg/Russia and with who I knew I’d have a great time with and my crewmate Zmogk. I was really excited to travel to Asia for the first time ever.

Also in terms of graffiti Indonesia is an emerging country, if you wanna put it that way. The graffiti scene is rapidly growing and the zero tolerance policy of Jakarta – EVERYTHING which is painted in public space is going to be buffed with gray paint immediately and believe me, there is gray paint all over this huge city – can’t stop this subculture from growing. The kids and a big majority of the population love graffiti, even though it’s a quite expensive hobby to spend your time with. So the guys from GARDUHOUSE – which is kind of a youth club, place for kids to hang out and crew – started to regularly organize jams, exhibitions and parties. They even have their own shop to sell cans.

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After arriving on the 6th of December the GARDUHOUSE team picked us up at the airport, made a quick stop with us at our hotel to change from winter wear into shorts and after that we already started painting. Those impressions were almost overwhelming: crazy traffic, the heat, tons of excited kids – wow, I was stoked to be there. Lots of walls in the neighborhood of GARDUHOUSE had already been prepared for us to paint and so we got going. I loved the atmosphere there – everybody was friendly and excited to have us. I’ll always remember that smell of BBQ in combination with the local cans – man, I can tell you, Molotow, Montana and Co. smell like perfume compared to this. But after 30 hours of traveling, a temperature change from -2°C to 30°C and quite some humidity going on, I was also quite happy to end the day in my hotel room and fell asleep right away. But the next couple of days were long …

Time was flying by in Jakarta – we painted wall after wall, had tons of crazy fun out in the streets and I started to learn to enjoy spicy food. I met a lot of really cool, amazingly friendly and sweet new friends from all over Asia – thank you so much for being so open minded – who I’d love to see again in the near future and on the goodbye party of our last night in Jakarta they forced my to stage dive and crowd surf again after 15 years – I guess I was quite a giant for them. For the very first time in my life I spoke on a press conference, tagged 100 dollar bomber jackets and drank Luac coffee, which is made out of the coffee beans which cats eat and shit. And this list could go on forever – Indonesia had just so many „first times of“ in my life.

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But the most important thing I learned during that time: Indonesia is the country with the most muslim people on our beautiful planet. We’ve never ever been asked weird stuff about our origin, our believes or our habits and customs – even if they must have seemed weird or wrong from the point of view of another culture. It was rather the opposite: we’ve been treated with the highest respect and everybody gave us the feeling to be more than welcome and a part of the GARDUHOUSE family. This felt awesome and once again my motto „What you give is what you get“ felt 100% right. Just be open where ever you go and enjoy the positive influences of different cultures!

I can’t thank the GARDUHOUSE crew enough for letting me be a part of this amazing event – it seriously was an honor for me that I had the chance to be a part of it. Terima kasih for this awesome time – it was a once of a lifetime experience! You have shown me your home and gave me a great impression of your country. For sure we’ll see each other again – no matter where. Sampai jumpa!

If you wanna get an impression of who I was hanging out with, check out Nilko White, Zmogk, JayFlow, ArtimeJoe, Cloze, Crowded City, Onesan, Zany, NoBigDeal Jakarta, Rouge, Nestwo,

Next stop: an invitation of the DISTRICT SHOP Crew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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BOOGIE in KUALA LUMPUR (MALAYSIA)

Selamat siang Kuala Lumpur! After one big ass goodbye party with the GARDUHOUSE POSSE I had mixed feelings leaving for the malayan capital Kuala Lumpur the next morning. On one hand I was sad to leave Jakarta, but on the other hand I was definitely looking forward to see the guys of the DISTRICT SHOPGALLERY around my boys Katun and Bee again, who I got to know 2 years ago during the ONO’U TAHITI. Those two guys became friends and now they had invited NILKO WHITE and myself to join them for a visit in their hood. I was really thrilled that it all worked out and that we had the chance to go. So this was the second asian country on my list.

Bee picked us up at the airport of KL and we went straight to his shop (DISTRICT) to meet the rest of the crew. I’ve already had the chance to meet some of them in Jakarta and now it was time for a highfive with the rest of the guys. I felt home immediately, because everybody was so open and genuinely welcoming! We sketched, hung out, had food, sketched, had more food and trash talked the night away. After days of just painting they were amazing hosts and decided that it was time for a tourist day for us before hitting the walls again. So the next day we spent discovering Kuala Lumpur, had the real malaysian deal of food and visited the Batu Caves and Hindu Temple. A gigantic 42m high golden statue of Murugan and lots of pretty hungry macaques (little monkeys) greeted us. Man, those smart little guys try to steal your food and not just your food.

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At night there was another get together and dinner – those malaysians are a hungry bunch who love to eat, let me tell you – and hung out at the shop which is also the place to get together like a second home of those lovely guys. It got late once again and after a short night at the 43rd floor of the Berjaya Times Square hotel which was just a short stroll away from the graff HQ, we started painting the first huge wall production at KL’s bigges hall of fame by the canal with some of the longest walls evers. This is also the location for Meeting of Styles Malaysia. So we decided that I’d paint a Boogie style with a crazy monkey characters on each side from my homeboys KATUN and NILKO. And around us the rest of the PHOBIAKLIK – THE crew from KL – started to let their magic happen. Oh yeah, we had an amazing time.

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Unfortunately my flu came back mixed with some stomach problems – yeah, I guess I’m just such a tourist. My motivation was still top, but my energy level went low. But I was fighting my inner temptation to stay in bed, because I wanted to paint the second wall so badly. With 36°C heat – yes, I am German and not used to heat – and feeling shitty I started painting. Our local friends helped out with young fresh coconut against the fever, different funky local pills for my tummy and a great portion of motivation which have all kept me going. And it was still an amazing day and I had a lot of fun painting this wall. But I was not done – I wanted to paint a shutter in the city. I didn’t take much at all to convince my friend Katun to come with me. So we found a little streetspot in the centre of KL and did our thing – right during rush hour. Because our malaysian buddies are always hungry, we went for a late dinner after that.

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But sometimes you have to accept that you need to take a breakt for your body. So I decided that I had to take a day off after almost two weeks of painting. No easy decision, but yeah … guess I’m getting old. On the other hand I wanted to get rid of all those evil virus stuff in my body, because my love Frau K. was about to arrive in KL to continue this trip through Asia with me. So my schedule for the next day read something like this: sleep, tea, sleep, more sleep, picking up my lady from the airport and a welcome dinner with her and the whole crew. I started feeling better and so the two of us did the tourist thing. We went to Chinatown, different temples, strolled through neighborhoods, went to the KL Tower, checked out some of the famous markets with fake products like Casio X-Shock, Yeezys and AirMax in colors you’ve never seen bevor and had an amazing time. We hung out with the DISTRICT-Gang and our funny frenchie friends Niklo and Ben who had joined us in KL for a timeout from life in general.

Time was running once again and the goodbye came closer and closer. I just know that we’ll see each other again which made saying „Selamat tinggal!“ not too hard. I just can’t thank you guys enough – you’ve welcomed us into your families, showed us your KL, took care of me when I was not in best shape and you gave us a chance to learn so much about your culture. This is from the bottom of my heart: Terima kasih, my friends! Your are the best.

Next stop: Island Hopping in Thailand with Frau K.

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BOOGIE THAILAND Islands

After two weeks of graffiti tourism, action, the flue and a lack of sleep, it was time to relax a little with my lady. So we decided to do a four stop island hopping tour in Thailand – I guess we just had a little FOMO here. We flew out to the tourist hub Phuket and left right away with a speedboat to Koh Yao Yai – a small and very original island in the southwest of Thailand. I didn’t have to worry about the quality of any of our accomodations, because I knew that Frau K. would take care of that part – she’s the one finding the most stylish but also affordable places with great food and the best beaches. So we had quite the view and breakfast by the beach with wild monkeys running around the hotel property. We were quite stoked.

I was still on my #tourdeasia and so I started to look around the beautiful island to find a spot to paint. After all the DISTRICT guys from Kuala Lumpur had given me some advice on how to get some cans to Phuket on the plane. And I was successful with this plan, so that it was time for the first ever graffiti on the island of Koh Yao Yai. Kinda cool, I guess. For four days we discovered the island by motorbike, drove from one beach to the next, had amazing food, watched monkeys riding on goats and for the first time in a while we had the feeling to be relaxed as f*ck.

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But there was still that mission I had to fulfill: to bring some color on a wall! So we started to look around in those small villages with the friendliest locals and decided to just spontaniously ask the owner of the wall I liked best, if I could paint there. The first try was successful and a young lady almost begged to paint the newly renovated wall of her little fashion shop. This is what I call quick business. I started to do my thing and after a while a couple of neighbors stopped by and turned out to be quite the fans of my art – even though they hadn’t seen graff live before. All of a sudden I could’ve painted a loooot of walls – even a school. I just loved the welcoming way those people acted. Seeing those smiles was amazing.

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For us it was time to move on, because Koh Phi Phi Don was calling. We were a little shocked at first after a little over an hour on a speedboat. Wow – lots of tourists. But we left for our hotel which was at Laem Tong Beach and more lonely. Good for us. On this island we definitely saw some of the most beautiful beaches which I had ever seen in my life. Nature is such a beauty. Especially being an early bird was worth it, when we took the longtail boat at 6 am one morning to visit the famous Maya Bay. We didn’t wanna feel like visiting a public swimming pool. So we arrived a little before 7am and it was empty and breathtaking, but 15 minutes later the first speedboats arrived with a couple of „The Beach“ tourists. But what can you do about that?! Everybody wants to have their selfie and money makes the world go round. In my eyes a bit to much tourism in what they call a national park. Anyways – discovering the two Phi Phi islands was dope and they are beautiful.

But didn’t I forget something? Yes – I almost forgot it in my chillaxed state of mind. I had some leftover cans which were enough for a small piece. And all of the sudden my lady told me that she had discovered a little wall. So it was our last afternoon on Koh Phi Phi Don and I took my cans, painted a quick one and gone I was! All those mosquitos and bugs – even using NoBite – started to attack me in the bushes. One last dip in the ocean and it was almost time to say good bye again.

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Taking a ferry, another ferry and a taxi and we were back in Phuket. But we were not here to stay. It was time to leave for our final island called Samui. After a short flight in northeastern direction, we arrived on this quite huge island compared to what we had seen before. This island had two contrary sides to it – lots of party tourists in the north on one hand and the more relaxed and layed back south. We went to the more original and calm south – time to check into our beautiful apartment. I’ve never been a spa person, but that was something I really learned to enjoy – massages for days!

If there is one advice when renting a motorbike on Koh Samui – get a helmet on your beautiful heads, because those streets are definitely busy and quite steep. After some sightseeing with waterfalls, unbelievably beautiful temples and a 7 course Christmas dinner in a treehouse, my mind kept on drifting back to this small store in Chaweng. When we took a taxi after our arrival, I had spotted a store with a rack of cans. TOA SPRAY is the local player and I guess getting used to those cans takes some time. But beggars can’t be choosers, so that I picked a up two sixpacks and tried my luck at what seemed a legal spot with a good photo option. And again the mosquitos made me go fast on my second to last mission. Koh Samui: Check! Great time: Check! Relaxed: Check!

Next Stop: Bangkok City!

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BOOGIE in BANGKOK

Our last stop of the little Tour de Asia was Bangkok. Thankfully FrauK. had already taken care of a fancy hotel and so we had a nice hub for those last three days to start our excursions through Bangkok. Rooftop pool and bar were included and we had the most amazing breakfast – a mix of traditional asian and european dishes. #yummieness A hint for all the first timers in BKK – if you get a place by the river, you can escape the traffic and craziness of the city for a relaxed sleep at night, without being far away from the hustle and bustle. The first thing I’d already spotted at the airport and on our way to the city were the large number of condolence messages for the thai king who had passed away in 2016. I knew that there is a national mourning for one year, but I didn’t expect it in such a visible way. This was very impressive for me as an European. So the King hadn’t just been the longest reigning head of state worldwide, but also the most loved OG in Thailand. May his majesty rest in peace.

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Just having 3 days in a gigantic city, it was not supposed to be all about graff. I wanted to get an impression of what this amazing place is like. So we started to discover the jungle of Bangkok by boat, skytrain and tuktuk – don’t take the first price, it’s about negotiating here – and had a look at some tourist spots, beautiful temples, huge malls, fake markets and ended up … in a graffiti store. My plan was to paint a piece at a Hall of Fame with CIDER from the MSK and so I had to get some material. But keep in mind that Asia doesn’t mean cheap all the time. Because of the import taxes a european can at the BKK GRAFF store is between 7 to 9 Euros. But a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do 😉 Another hint from my personal experience: the security guys won’t let you take your cans on public transportation like the sky train – also discussions don’t help here, but just attract more security. But they’ll return the money you’ve paid for the ticket and you have to find a taxi or tuktuk rather than letting you hop on the train with 10 cans. #lessonlearned

In the end I had a pretty relaxed day with CIDER, his homeboys and the boys from the BKK GRAFF store who took great care of my with icecold drinks in 35°C and almost no shade. A Hall of Fame in the middle of BKK, I mean right where all the action happens, is a pretty cool place. And my lady was able to escape for shopping and food adventures.

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Bangkok is a pretty exciting city and you’ll definitely need some time to discover this place. But you’ll see quickly that tourism is a big priority here and like everywhere else on our beautiful planet it is not so easy to find the original Bangkok. And a good thing: you’ll always feel save, no matter what time of the day. If you think that you’ll be able to have a quite and romantic evening at the rooftop bar from „HANGOVER“ at the Lebua State Tower with a relaxed drink, you’ll be surprised by masses of tourists enjoying the amazing view with you. Also the famous Khao San Road is pretty entertaining and you should’ve seen this crazy place at least once, but it can also be quite stressful after a super relaxed stay at those thai islands. But hey – all good in the hood. We’ve had an amazing time in BKK with plenty of great things we discovered and Asia definitely got me. I’ll be back!

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Posted: 6. Februar 2017