Monday, November 12, 2007

Jungle Golfing

Our son, Christian (16 years old) LOVES to golf. Since we have been on Guam, he has not played because it does not fit in our budget. Poor Christian! Consistently he takes his golf clubs into the backyard and swings them to and fro. When he has saved enough money, he goes to the driving range. Unfortunately, although he’s been on Guam for three months, he has yet to golf.

To our delight, we discovered a “cheap” place to golf on Guam. $18.00 for 18 holes and a golf cart! Yippee! Now, on special occasions, perhaps Christian would have his golf game. Well, Veterans' Day came along and I (Mom) said, “Christian, how about we treat you to a game of golf to reward you for your 4.0 this quarter?”

With great excitement Christian packed our Hyundai not forgetting huge bottles of water filled to the brim with ice. Additionally, we did not forget the hand-held water mister, also filled to the brim with ice. This would be a great day for golfing—only 82 degrees with 82% humidity (cool for Guam). I should have realized I was in big trouble when, by the time we finished the first hole, all the ice had melted. Not to be deterred, we pressed on. The course was wide and fairly straight which made it “easy” (Golf easy? Sounds like an oxymoron, I know!). Let me tell you, though, if your ball veered outside the rough, there would be NO POSSIBLE WAY of EVER finding it. The edges of the rough were lined with jungle so thick a sane person would NEVER venture into them!

During the first three holes you could hear the occasional shouts as I yelled, “Aaahhh! I beat you on that drive!” Or, “Ohhh!!! Did you see that putt?!!!” (I have been told by some that I am rather competitive). By the fourth hole, I was concentrating so hard on keeping the golf club from flying out of my hands due to the sweat running down my arms that it was too difficult to talk. To my relief, God must have felt sorry for me because He sent a torrential rain storm that lasted about 15 minutes. Oh, did that feel good! (Guam averages about 100 inches of rain a year compared to San Francisco’s 20 inches, just to give you a visual).

Quickly, we headed for a cement “bunker” (a tiny building with cement overhangs on each side) where we had a “lovely” conversation with two Asian gentlemen who explained where I should buy fresh fish and how to fix tilapia. Furthermore, they kindly explained,

“If you ever get stung by a “rabbit fish,” be sure to urinate on yourself since the alkaline in the urine will counteract the acid in the sting. For that matter, you should do the same thing if ever you are stung by a centipede.”

“Excuse me?!” I asked as the mosquitoes munched away at me and huge banana spiders loomed overhead, “Are you talking about the little three-inch-long brown things that I find in my house all the time?”

“Oh yes”, they responded. “They have quite a sting and the ones that are larger than six inches have enough venom in them to kill you. You’d probably live through it, being an adult and all, but a
child would be killed. The big ones live in places like this,” they instructed pointing to the jungle bordering the rough. (You better believe we won’t be going after any stray balls!!!).

After this pleasant encounter I noticed the other ten golfers also huddled under the bunker. What were they wearing? No shirts (literally), tank tops and tee shirts. Immediately I snapped at Christian, “The
next time we go golfing, I’m wearing my bikini!!!” To which Christian promptly (and a little too loudly and with too much vehemence and with one of the most ghastly faces I’ve seen) replied “Ewwww!” (Don’t worry! I don’t even own a bikini—but I do own a tank top, which is what I’ll wear next time—IF there’s a next time!).

Now, we were somewhat cool and sopping wet as we continued on the back 9. “What kind of birds are those on the fairway?” we wondered. Nope, not birds but six-inch long frogs--not to be outdone by the large crab meandering by, and the wild chickens flitting here and there. Ten minutes later (no longer wet or cool), we were trying to maneuver around water puddles on the fairway. It rains so much on Guam that there is no way for the earth to absorb the rain quickly. It took us a couple of times of landing in the “sand” bunkers to realize that it wasn’t brown/red dirt in the bunker as we had thought, but sand completely packed down from all the water, making it like concrete. There were some 18-inch-deep open trenches around some of the bunkers to help the water drain. Every cart came equipped with a ball cleaner AND a club cleaner which we needed after EVERY stroke. There is no way you can imagine the mud and water all over the ground, the
clubs, the balls and our bodies!

By hole 14, Christian’s query of, “What d’ya get?” was met with, “Anything you want to give me—is there
ice anywhere?” By hole 16 I had only enough energy to swing the club and I could have cared less where the ball landed. As far as I was concerned, the balls flying outside the rough were my donation to the centipedes, banana spiders and brown tree snakes of the jungle. By hole 17, I was catatonic, no longer speaking or playing golf—only desperately seeking the meager shade of palm trees. Additionally, I have naturally curly hair and between the rain, my sweat, and the humidity, my hair looked like a rat’s nest and for that matter, I honestly looked like something the cat dragged in. Christian was grinning from ear to ear declaring, “That’s the best game of golf I’ve ever played! I scored a 96!” This was met by my catatonic stare.

I can hardly wait to go back and play again! (meant to be read with extreme sarcasm).

1 comment:

Archibald said...

Hi Karyn,
Funny thing happened today. I woke this morning after having a dream about you and found the urgency to pray for you - especially as you transition to not only a new home but a new lifestyle and culture! I went to look for your email address and couldn't find it (You need to put it on your blog), so when I looked on your blog...low and behold a new posting! How fun it is to read about your new life. I pray as you "mourn" the relationships and things you once had you'll find blessings and one special friend that you can identify with. You are full of confidence and know God is with you, as well as your family...but it is always nice to have a close friend too! I'm praying for you today!
Love, Karen