Don’t Be Square

In the first part of my story on Austrian entrepreneur Alex Mark, I wrote about meeting the owner and chef from Moussandra some 15 years or longer ago. He has since settled in Langkawi and we lost contact.

Fast forward to 2017. I started the hotel booking portal. In the early part of this year I was researching unique and strange hotels and I came across Das Park Hotel in Austria. It is a collection of five freestanding cylindrical rooms made from re purposed metropolitan drainage pipes. I was wondering how Malaysians will take to sleeping in sewer drain pipes or longkang as they call it.

Incidentally, I have been to Austria only once because me and Malaysian student friend, George, drove from Chur in Switzerland to Austria to look for beers after midnight. The guard at the small border post had not even heard of Malaysia. He and his German Shehperd dog examined our passports hard.

Found out that, by coincidence, Alex is operating a similar concept hotel on Langkawi Island, Malaysia, where he and family settled. First thing I asked Austrian Alex Mark is whether it is connected to Das Park in Austria and he said no. He said he liked the idea and decided to tubocharged it. He gave it a less cryptic name – Tubotel Langkawi, The keyword being tube. It is affordable compared to many other hotels and resorts on the holiday island and has a great view of the ocean. Each pipe is air conditioned, has a double bed, TV but with external shared bathrooms.

Book Tubotel Langkawi here and see more pics:

Pics from Tubotel website at Their slogan is Don’t Be Square!

#tubotel #langkawi #nalaysia #island #tubehotel #beach #mycenhotels

Saying Goodbye To A Relic From Web 1.0.

Today is a sad day for bloggers and webmasters, especially many from the era of Web 1.0 or from the year around 2000. Emily Lowe, Shirl Leong, Simp Lee, Mazlan Abdul Malik, Tengku Mohd Ali Bustaman and more.

It is a free counter and statistics tracker. It was fashionable to place a meter in your site to show the number of visitors. Many website were hosted on free hosts such as Geocities, Angelfire and Tripod. Users soon realise the free servers were shared and cannot provide server traffic logs to generate stats. Sitemeter did more than provide a odometer. It used a few lines of javascript planted on your website to measure and analyse web traffic very comprehensively and in a simple and easy to understand manner.

It outlived all those free hosts except Blogger. A few weeks ago, it announced it Will Be Permanently Retired on July 1st, 2017. It is still humming at the time of writing, maybe, because of timezones. You can imagine the load on their servers when one of the billions of pages loads and pings sitemeter’s servers. It changed its design a few years ago and there was massive rejection. It reverted and maybe that killed the owner’s spirits. Surprisingly there is little outcry or buzz this time as will be a monumental task replacing the codes to a new service provider.

I understand it is a one man show like me and I respect his decision to close down. I must thank him for tracking many of my blogs and websites in the last ten tears or longer. I appreciate and thank him for the service and know it is tough providing a free service. It will be tough finding a replacement . Looking at the final stats today for my main site, it tracked over 46 million unique visitors and nearby 94 million page views. In spite of missing data from long periods of unexplained outages and me changing hosts with long gaps of downtime, it was still an epic journey.

All good things must come to an end. Goodbye, Sitemeter.

If you used it, share with me your experience and let me know your replacement plans.

Seaside Cats

Morib Beach is sort of bizarre. I saw wild monkeys and stray cats on the same day. The sunset was dull and cool at the esplanade on that day but I saw something heart warming. Hard to see in this pic but some of the of the human visitors were sharing their snacks with a couple of appreciative homeless cats.

The A7R camera’s resolution is so massive I can crop in (on another shot), recover from the shadows and show the close up as an inset.

Sometimes, seeing a sunset can cheer you up, sometimes seeing a simple act of kindness can too.

Sony Alpha A7R, ISO 2000, f10, 1/60 sec.

#morib #cats #strays #beach ##sea #homeless #sunset #silhouette

Searching for Captain Slim

I have been in Slim River town and surrounding areas, on and off, for the past three weeks. I wrongly presumed the town is named after a river that is slim and narrow. It wasn’t, it seems.

The river and town were named after the eponymous Captain Slim from the 19th century. The British explorer allegedly discovered the river by accident when he got lost.

There is not much info online, except the same info repeated everywhere as fact, when there are no citations or references.

How can someone who had a town and river named after him had no records? Maybe I was looking at the wrong places but is still odd.

Many British sailors would have kept detailed logs and diaries, even if the captain didn’t. Could this be a romantic anecdote morphed into an urban legend?

It is also quite strange as Slim River, the river, is shallow and rocky. Today, it is a white water rafting location, upstream. He’ll be lost today too, as the river is not on Google Map.

I decided to drive alongside the river and talk to village elders to see if they can recall anything they might have heard pass down from their ancestors.

If the good captain existed, and if he got off his boat at this juncture, he would have seen this amazing sight (minus the rails and gazebo).

This is the Ulu Slim hot springs I visited the other day. It is magical today as steam shot up high because of the downpour.

Surrounded by rolling hills and rainforests, this is one of the most beautiful natural sights in Malaysia. Slim River, the river, is about 50 meters behind me.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f11, 1/160 sec.