Ken’s selfies – Thailand

I written plenty the past 21/2 years about Thailand, so will let these tell the story.


Initially in Hua Hin, I tried to fish from shore. Even spent $60 on a castnet. There are no fish near shore here.


My first Songkran. I just arrived at the bintabaht bar area when these two ambushed me with a water dousing and white powder on my face.


ken 4th 2016

My first 4th of July, I brought my flag and met another American at a bintabaht bar


Outside the Reclining Golden Buddha in Bangkok


At the Huay Mongkol Temple, with an impressively large Buddha statue


This 5-story Buddha is at Huai Sai Tai just outside Hua Hin


Cave exploring in western Prauchuap Khiri Khan province


Food vendor in Sukhothai


Sukhothai National Park


Not sure which temple this is


Sukhothai National Park


A mountain temple


At a new monk’s ceremony in Sukhothai


New monk ceremony


Singapore’s gardens


Christmas turkey dinner at Jimmy’s Gulf of Thailand bar.

And that’s all, folks!

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Ken’s selfies – Indonesia Act 2

The fact I ended up in Indonesia in the first place was surprising, but to think I would end up there twice, I don’t know. I did kind of anticipate a return when I booked my airline tickets to St. Kitts & Nevis.

By the time I returned to Batam, I had already formulated my strategy for making a few bucks – a news feed about Batam and expat interests to fill in the void of the temporary demise of the Smiling Hill newsletter that I previously created and published. I was filling a void.

This new life required finding a place to live, not a small undertaking as it turned out. I landed in a covy of apartments geared to temporary expats. They were above bars. The noise late at night was sometimes bad.

But I was living more in the community than I had been at Smiling Hill. It was a welcome second semester of my Indonesian education.



On one of my trips to the Nagoya upscale grocery, I ran into these young school girls, who gladly agreed to take a few photos


I love to walk around a new neighborhood to get a feel for what’s where. Here, I stopped at an ojek corner (motorcycle taxis).

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The local fresh market was a regular weekly visit. Here I just had to hoist this beautiful ray in the seafood section.


Nagoya, Batam, fish market


My best customer for my website and for marketing services, right, hosted me and about 15 others for a night at the races in Singapore, across the strait. That’s the only winning ticket I had for the night, on the first race.


This photo may actually be during my first stint in Batam – I just don’t remember. I didn’t go up.


Birthday party for Ken at Goodies, with my daughter and granddaughter in attendance. Very special time.


Some of the Goodies crew – my sisters and brothers


I miss your Italian cooking, Marco. He was the Goodies chef for about a year, mugging here with me and my daughter during her visit and on my birthday.


The Batam bars often took their whole staff to the beach for a picnic. I was invited to one such outing.



My best client, mentioned in the Singapore races above, also used me as official photographer for his company’s 5th anniversary. Here with some of the performers.


Just before I departed Indonesia for the second time, a good friend who I hooked up with in Costa Rica came for a visit. First, we tore it up a bit in Bangkok, and then we came to quiet little Batam. Here we are at the Vietnam camp two small islands south of Batam.


A fitting conclusion (and how about that square haircut?). See below

My decision to leave Indonesia was very sudden. My daughter had a crisis at home (which I later realized she was more than equipped to handle without Daddy around), there was a crisis with getting money out of the Indo ATMs, and I had just been drugged and stolen from by a women I had dated for a year.

It was time to go.

Again, I relied on my daughter. I stayed with her for two months, through Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s. It’s good that I did.

Anyway, it was North Carolina. In the mountains. Middle of winter. Again, Ken with tropical clothes only.

In the above photo, I’m sitting at the fire on my daughter’s back deck with some of the new winter garments I had to purchase for two short months. This same fire would another day ignite my highly igniteable warmups, severely burning my hand and leg.

Next: Thailand

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Ken’s selfies – Indonesia Act 1

First off, Indonesia was never on my map. In my research, despite the low cst of living, I was put off by the heavy Muslim influence, as well as the 30-day restriction on visas. My entry into the country was purely by, I don’t know, whatever.

During my stays/visits in Costa Rica, Croatia and Sicily, I had continually looked on the internet for possible real jobs. Then one popped up with this very lengthy description. I applied, was interviewed for five minutes via Skype, and was on the next appropriate plane to Singapore. and then a ferry ride to Batam, Indonesia, my home for most of the next four years.

To say my perceptions of Asia and, in particular, Indonesia, were changed by my time in Batam would be fair. The Muslims I interacted with were very nice, normal people. Anyway, lots of good times.


I pretty much could order what I wanted at Goodies in Batam as part of my compensation, sometimes I would go outside for some authentic. Here I’m enjoying nasi ayem (chicken and rice – the sauce is what makes it special).


Another perk I had was 24/7 access to the complex’s pool. It was great for rehab after my knee injury in Malaysia.


Borabudur in Yogjarkarta. These students stopped me to have their picture taken with me, Amazing temple.


I took a local guide tour outside Yogjarkarta, and at some point we ended up at this perch above a valley. He told me he had plans to open up his own tour business featuring local bike tours and local village immersion. He followed his dream and is doing very well. We stay in touch.


During my first 21/2 years on Batam, I made trips to Bali, the U.S. and Malaysia. This was taken in a butterfly farm in Penang, Malaysia.


Three islands south of Batam island, along a road and across several island-hopping bridges, you will find the Vietnam village. This is where hundreds of thousands of Vietname came when the U.S left Vietnam in 1975, This is one of the boats they used on the open seas.


I’m always looking for a fishing opportunity, so whe someone said ‘let’s go’, I was ready /we went out on an open boat with full sun, caught a few small ones, attended an Indonesian wedding resption, and had a great time.

The Interlude

All good things must end, someone said. After 21/2 years at Smiling Hill/Goodies, my services were no longer needed. No hard feelings, it was a nice run.

As it turned out (and partly because of anticipating the coming change), I somehow managed to secure another job on a weekly newspaper in the Caribbean, on the islands of St. Kitts & Nevis, I was based on Nevis, a small volcanic cone with no real reason for being.

The job turned out t be bogus, I was ready to depart within two weeks, and had the foresight to book a return flight to Singapore for a month after I arrived in St. Kitts. I took tha flight back to Singapore, and Batam.


NEXT: Indonesia Act 2

Posted in Batam, Indonesia, Uncategorized | Leave a comment