During my time teaching in Bangkok, I became friends with an older American (Bennett) from Maryland who was teaching at the same school where I was. He was full of wisdom and had lots of stories to share. And although he wasn't from the Deep South like me, he was very folksy and Southern. When you're overseas, as an expat, the exotic aspects of a foreign culture are the main draw for you, no doubt. However, many times you simply want to be around others more like yourself. In my case, it might be an American. Or, it could be someone more closely connected to my Southern heritage. Bennett was one of the Southerners I knew. In my last year of teaching (2003), he asked me if I wanted to go with him to Koh Chang. I said, "Sure." I had already been there once with my wife and some friends from Canada. Bennett made the hotel arrangements, and pretty much knew where he wanted to go. I just tagged along. Wasn't perfect weather, but it was a nice getaway. We mainly enjoyed our coffees, meals and chats at the restaurant down by the beach. I remember Bennett having John Grisham's latest novel with him. And Bennett raved about how accurately the book depicted the South and reminded him of his childhood.
A few years after this trip, Bennett passed away. He was actually back home in the USA when he died. This blog post is dedicated to him.
To see photos of my first experience visiting Koh Chang, click here.
And to see photos of Bennett officiating my wedding, click here.