Monday, February 26, 2007

Golfing in Taiwan

Before my trip to Taiwan my mother-in-law told me that she had friends who golf every day and I was invited to go with them. You can't imagine how happy I was. Normally when I got to Taiwan I spend my days sitting around the house watching CNN or table tennis championships on ESPN until the men come home from work. But this trip would be different. On this trip I'd be golfing.

Now, in America, we have this saying that starts "If something sounds too good to be true..."

Strike one - To begin with, it wasn’t every day; it was every weekday, Monday through Friday. I could live with this, I mean, it’s still golfing five days a week for three weeks, and in January. Come on, whose gunna complain about that.

Strike two – The course is not a regulation par 72 course. It’s an executive course, par 60, with seven par threes and two par fours. It’s also a nine-hole course, but you play it twice for your eighteen (and my hosts like to play thirty-six holes). Still, I’m not complaining, golf is golf and this will give me an opportunity to work on my mid-irons. I’m still psyched.

Strike Three – My hosts tee off at 5:30 in the morning, every morning. That’s not funny -- that’s going a little too far.

But still, I’m a trooper, I want to golf, so I agree to go. Therefore, two days after arriving in Taiwan, I found myself waking up at 5:00 am (which is 9:00 pm Pacific Time – so my clock was all screwed up) preparing to golf with people I can’t talk to.

My hosts, who I’m introduced to as Mr. and Mrs. Lin, pick me up at 5:20. They are a very friend husband and wife around sixty years old. He is a retired state Senator. They smile a lot and know how to say “Hello” and “Ok”. Our conversation goes something like this:

Mr. Lin: Hello
Me: Hi, nice to meet you.
Mr. Lin: Ok.
Me: Ok?
Mrs. Lin: (smiles)
Mr. Lin: (picking up my golf bag) Ok, ok. Hello. (Laughs).
Me: Ready.
Mr. Lin: Ok.

The drive to the course takes about 15 minutes. Chinese music plays on the radio and Mr. and Mrs. Lin chatter in Chinese. “Wow,” I think. “If I didn’t golf I wouldn’t be having this experience right now.” Then I look out the window into the still dark morning and wonder if that’s a good thing.

When we arrive at the first tee its still dark. There are a group of about twenty people between the ages of fifty and eighty stretching, farting, jabbering, and laughing. I’m still trying to figure out how I got here. After fifteen minutes of the pre-game ritual, Mr. Lin says “Ok,” and it’s off to the first tee.

“Ok,” he says, waving his hand, indicating that I have honors. I look out into the dark and think, “What the …” Mr. Lin smiles, points, and says, “E-by-san-woo.” I know enough Chinese to interpret that to mean 135. I just don’t know if that’s yards or meters. Yikes.

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The Armchair Golfer said...

Wow. They like their golf in Taiwan, huh? What an interesting cross-cultural experience.

Denny said...

This looks like a reality TV show in the making. Can't see and can't understand. Don't offend your host.