Driving around Batam Island


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Had a chance today to take a two-hour drive to a part of the island I hadn’t seen yet. Doug was touring Yr. Yonus of Dubai around, as he is a potential investor here, so I rode along with camera in hand. It was a quick trip, without many stops, because we had to be back to the complex for the afternoon of live music at the pool.

Doug makes for a very good tour guide; he’s like an encyclopedia of the area. Pretty much all of the extensive content on our Web site was written by him and he has augmented that knowledge in the three years since writing the original content.

Our destination was Kabil and Nongsa Point on the northeast part of the island. Honestly, I’m so turned around I thought we were headed south.

Once we left the city, the roads were good but there was mostly vegetation and stripped-bare land along the way – as we dodged motorbikes and oncoming cars. Occasionally, we would pass a kampong (village), and we did pass by one large one that was formed several years ago when about 1,500 squatters were moved from near Smiling Hill to a new location.

Squatters are prevalent here and they have amazing “rights” when it comes time to move them off private or public property. A developer that owns the land being squatted on is required to purchase land for a new home and to pay at least some of the relocation costs. So the developer of a planned residential area near Smiling Hill was responsible, with government assistance, with relocating the 1,500 people who were living illegally on its land. The new village, BTW, is quite extensive, albeit in a remote area of the island.

Kabil is mostly a relatively new – and burgeoning – industrial area. There were large tracts of land devoted to large manufacturing/industrial complexes, and more tracts being prepared for expansion. How do they expand? By moving dirt from the interior (basically knocking down hills) and filling in the shoreline. Basically, the island is growing in this area – out to sea.

Next we went to the Turi Beach resort – quite beautiful, with a long pier reaching into the sea, culminated by a thatched hut at the end. Then we drove around the Nongsa Point Marina property next door, and then back home.

Saturday night in town

I wish I had pictures of last night in town but I hesitate to carry my camera around the

Just a reminder: Risma on left, Ria on right

bars at night. Suffice it to say that we left the Hill at 11 and I did not get back until 2 a.m. The evening started off innocently enough.

I was dressed to party and intended to go into town, to the entertainment district fairly early to play some pool and flirt with the girls. First, I figured I’d have a drink at the pool and get on the Internet. Never happened, because when I arrived at the pool, Risma and my other new friend, Lindy, also arrived. Lindy also lives next door to me and we lately have been doing the Internet cafe thing together outside my apartment, where the bandwidth is better. She sits on one side of the picnic table and I sit on the other. I casually invited Risma to have a drink with me and, to my surprise, she sat down with me. She doesn’t drink. We then found Lindy, who had gone ahead of Risma, and she joined us. I never made it to the Internet. Both women added their phone numbers to my iPhone.

The fact these two very pretty women were sitting with the new guy was not lost on staff and customers. I am sure to hear about it soon. In fact, Peter took a picture of the three of us I’ll share later. My stock probably went up considerably.

Risma and Lindy eventually left but said they would be back and we would all go into town, and take Ria along as well. She was working at the restaurant until 10. I hung around for awhile, went to the clubhouse to play pool and finally Risma showed up. The other girls would be awhile, and, in fact, Lindy never made it. Risma insisted on waiting outside in the humidity but I went back to my apartment, 50 feet away.

Eventually, while I was finally on the Net, Risma showed up at my door. She came in and we had a long conversation – her English comprehension is very good and she can read it, as well. I had the personal photos I travel with on the coffee table and, of course, she was curious about who the people were. So along with names came stories. Mr. Ken is good at stories. Finally, she left to check on Ria.

I had about given up on them when I was summoned by text. Risma and Ria were waiting in the street, and here’s where I wish I had my camera in hand. Ria’s one-piece dress was very form-fitting, very short, and deliciously profiled her beautiful legs and form. The vision was only enhanced later when she was shimmying to rock music at 1 a.m.

Risma called a taxi, which took us to town for about $3. I left the choice of venue up to them, which meant Risma. First, we went to a small, humid bar above another bar. There were lots of local girls and Western men inside, along with a very bad band. My two girls were easily the best-looking in the place, which must have put me in good standing – and is sure to get around the relatively small community of expats and their female followers.

After a couple games of pool and one Bintang beer, we moved on to a place called Step, a bigger bar with a good live band from Jakarta – and it was air-conditioned. Again, my two companions were easily the best looking in the place. Who is this guy with these pretty ladies? Played pool here but eventually I dragged Ria to the dance floor. Of course, Risma joined us. You would have thought I unleashed a dancing demon. I left the floor and Ria continued to dance. When she wasn’t dancing on the floor, she was dancing, alongside Risma, in front of me. Again, the camera (video) would have been awesome. Hot, hot, hot!

Finally, I had had enough of the smoke-filled bar and we left. But not before I scared the girls unintentionally. While they were dancing, I decided to roam a bit, to see the place from the other side of the room. I wondered what the girls would do when they didn’t see me sitting where they left me. Risma actually kind of panicked, thinking I had left them, like they couldn’t take care of themselves. I was the one who needed their help, not the reverse. After assuring her I wouldn’t abandon them, we left.

They were not done partying, but I was. I grabbed a cab and left them in the middle of an intersection deciding where they would go next. I did not sleep well last night. I wonder why.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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