Thursday, November 8, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Golf Course of Doom

Flat, duckbilled hat brims from 1987 strapped as tightly to the asian male golfers' heads as is possible without them blowing out an eye socket. A shirt and pair of shorts that look like more like old bathing suits than golf shorts. This ensamble combine with knee-high, white socks that fit into all black golf shoes. The only thing that was missing was a large camera strapped around their necks and mickey ears over their hats. I played golf with three players like this today. They looked like stereotypical, Disney-bound, asian tourists in America, only they were in their hometown in Asia. The best part about it was: they were making fun of me.

At a small, outdoor chinese restaurant, I sat in front a traditional asian breakfast consisting of everything but the socks I wore yesterday. It had pork, fish balls, shirmp, noodles and I dont even want to know the rest of the contents. As I fumbled around attempting to eat the gumbo with plastic chopsticks, I looked up to see my playing companions, having finished their bowls, enjoying the comedy hour of me lifting and dropping my slimmy noodles back into the soup. As they splashed in the soup, broth shot over the sides of the bowl spilling onto the table. I laughed along with them.

"You want to use fork?" They asked.

"I didn't come across the world to use american utensils thanks," I replied.

"Then, I think you go hungry today," Mr. Lo responded. He was right.

I had the last laugh though when their golf balls found the cobra pit on the par 5, seventeenth hole. My drive soared high and far over it. Yes, I said "cobra pit" and it isn't called that only because the hazard is in the shape of the deadly snake. Needless to say, players who go down looking for their balls get more than they bargained for.

The course should have been the setting for the upcomming Indiana Jones film. It winded through the mountains, carved out of the jungle. It was more like a cross-country, jungle trek than a golf course. You were afraid the next time you reached your hand down into the hole, you were going to pull out your arm without a hand attached to it.

The grass here is entirely different than America. Being on the equator and almost 100 degrees everyday, the course maintenance is extreamly difficult given many courses' lack of funding. Therefore, the public courses consist almost entirely of what we know as 'crab grass;' the kind you dont even want growing in your front lawn. When you can shoot 68 consistently on crab grass, you are ready for the tour. The toughest, nastiest grass on any side of the world, added to the challenge of the jungle adventure.

There is nothing like the feeling of home on the otherside of the world though. I am sure it was my playing companions goal today to show me a great day in southeast asia. After the round we celebrated the Indian New Year together. I sat in a room full of Malays, Chinese and Indians ringing in the new year. There were Buddhists, Hindis, Christians and Muslims all sharing laughs and stories in every different language they spoke. It was a beautiful, harmonious and comforting moment. All gathered around for the companionship and the drink. We ate the local food with our celebratory drinks and they saw to it that my meal was brought out with a fork so I wouldn't go hungry.

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