The Cotterill/Tierney Saga, Part 3, Finally Some Pictures

February 10, 2012

After a long time of living on Gilligan’s Island (“no phone, no lights, no motorcars, not a single luxury”, seriously) about which I shall write more soon, I finally have internet access again, speedy access at that. So, here at last are some pics from the Cotterill Compound and its environs; note, click on the pics, then when the page reloads, click once more, and you can see larger, more detailed versions…

The man himself, dressed up for work...

 

The compound as seen from the beach side...

 

...and from the driveway side

 

Sticky Rice (left) and Psycho (right) herd neighbor's cattle

 

L to R, Noon, Pyo, Nok, Bruce, and Khae playing a local version of UNO

 

Getting toys together for Chinese New Year; Khae, Pyo, Noon, Daw, and Nok

 

Noon's makeshift hair-dryer

 

Some of the kids from the Burmese school

 

Pyo and one of the teachers, whose name, sadly, I did not get

 

Perhaps the Frida Kahlo of the 21st century

 

For first-time artists, this group had it going on!

 

We have a winner (the one in the red and white shirt, that is...)

 

A bite of lunch

 

Dessert was a big hit!

 

Pyo and Khae loading up for return to Bangkok

 

Phrot-Samh and her brother Jet-Samh

 

Colin and the Williams sisters (Colin is in the green shirt)

 

Gulf of Siam, just down the beach from Colin's place

 

 

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The Tierney/Cotterill Saga, Part 2

February 4, 2012

Once I was ensconced in the Cotterill Compound, the first folks I met were Gogo, Beia, Psycho, and Sticky Rice. These were not, as you might otherwise surmise, members of a rogue biker club, but rather four largish and mostly affable canines, each with his or her own peccadilloes. They also appear as characters in his latest book, Killed at the Whim of a Hat, by the way. Later I would meet the two newest additions, a pair of athletic and ever-so-full-of-themselves puppies named Venus and Serena, who had not been accepted as full-fledged members of the pack, and thus were sequestered in protective custody until such time as they were accorded provisional constituency.

The next day promised some additional human companionship, in the form of Colin’s “daughter” Nok, and her friends Daw, Khae, Noon, and Pyo. The five motored down from Bangkok in Daw’s nifty new Chevrolet SUV (a model I haven’t seen before but liked a lot, quite an admission from a confirmed Japanese car geek), to help out with a Chinese New Year Celebration at the nearby Burmese school. A lot of Burmese refugees reside in Thailand, in varying degrees of legality, providing a cheap labor pool for fishing, construction, farming, and so on. (Does this all sound a bit too familiar?) There is really no provision for schooling their children, many or most of whom don’t speak Thai, so a handful of concerned teachers, parents and benefactors, with Colin deeply involved, have gotten together to provide a schoolroom, some supplies, and a lot of compassion. The situation is not the best, of course; kids of all ages share the same classroom, and like kids everywhere, the cooler older ones are not all that keen to share space with the dorkier younger ones. Also, the kids are routinely pulled out of school as their parents follow the work wherever it may lead. Thus, the teachers find themselves rehashing the same lessons again and again. That said, I have rarely if ever seen such a group of engaged kids in one place at one time. A couple of them had a few words of English, which they tried out on me again and again: “Hi, how you?” “What you name?” “My name ____” These phrases occasioned raucous laughter from their friends, but not as much as my replies, particularly when I had answered the same questions forty-three times.

There were games and activities galore, not unlike those you might see at a stateside school: musical chairs (but somehow, although the number of chairs got smaller each round, the number of players seemed to stay constant, perhaps even grow, and the kids very obligingly shared space on the chairs with one or two other kids so nobody would be left out); painting (no surprise here, but more of the paint got on the kids than on the paper, and they even managed to get a fair bit of blue paint on the my otherwise peaches and cream countenance, courtesy of a balloon that they “kissed” me with, failing to mention that the face painted thereon had been added scant seconds before); and a Pamplona-esque romp in which a balloon was tied to the right ankle of each child, and then the kids were set loose in a circle, each trying to stomp the balloon of every other child into oblivion. Colin was a master at this game; clearly he had been practicing. However, being one of only two Westerners on hand, he was a prime target, and he got he got his comeuppance, triple-teamed by a phalanx of future soccer players who took great delight in having stomped his balloon into oblivion.