Boy, did we try.
Saturday and Sunday saw us participate in what has become one of our weekend rituals – playing the sport of golf. Playing may or may not be the most accurate verb to describe what we do/did, but we did find ourselves on the golf course with clubs in hand.
Things always start out in such a positive light. Morning breaks and regardless of the weather, we pack up the truck and make the hour-long drive from the North over to the East to Belle Mare. If the weather is fine and we can secure a decent rate, we’ll usually stay Saturday night at one of the resorts located on that coastal stretch of island.
But, alas it’s ‘high season’ and rates have spiked; therefore, our golf game on Saturday was the simple 18 followed by a light spot of kitesurf for the Frenchman. I hope the tourists get the bang for the buck they are spending to come here for their holidays during this ‘high season’ because I’ve felt terrible for those that have arrived over these past few months.
We have had quite the bizarre spring and early summer with tons and tons of rain. There hasn’t been that much sun and those wekends when we did stay at the resort, I found most of the tourists looking either super upset, slightly depressed or jolly and drunk (what else are you going to do when it rains for days and days?).
Days of non-stop rain to slug through are not exactly what you sign up for when you book your 12-hour each way flight from Europe to the island. I can imagine the back to work conversations that some people must have had once they returned:
Bob: How was your tropical holiday that you spent months saving up for?
Bill: We spent most of the time in our room watching TV and getting totally smashed at the hotel bar.
Bob: How was that any different from what you do here?
There has been much more rain and cloudy days than I remember having at this exact same time last year. In fact, the first cyclone has already arrived. Mauritius just experienced the feather-tipped ends of a tiny one that hovered over the island of Rodrigues for a few days.
So now the rampant topic du jour is how horrible this cyclone season will be because it’s technically already started. The only thing I usually contribute to these conversations is that I really don’t want to experience a full-blown cyclone while living here and you can never predict the weather.
I think we get a lot of rain during the winter season and winter is what they refer to as the ‘dry season’. All the rain makes the roads a mess and causes that lovely mold to appear in the house. Not to mention that things have also started to rust due to the great amount of moisture in the air. The bolts on our coffee table that we brought over from the States have started to tinge brown as have some kitchen knives.
I can’t even image what a full-blown cyclone would do to people’s houses, downtown Port Louis and the golf courses here. There has been so much rain lately, that a few weekends ago the front nine to one of the Belle Mare courses was actually closed for playing because the fairways were too soaked with water.
But, this weekend the sun gods decided to come out and shine down on us while we attempted to play golf. To be fair, we’ve come a long way since we first started playing way back in January. But, after all the lessons and playing, shouldn’t we be somewhat semi-pro by now? Lifelong golfers – please keep your laughing to a muffled roar.
On Saturday we played at Belle Mare and things didn’t go too badly. In fact I think we were both pretty pleased with ourselves. Totally awesome and rocking in all things golf, we most certainly were not. But we were pretty consistent and did manage to have some great shots.
It’s become all about the individual shot for me. I can’t stand to see it through to view my progress via hole by hole. And forget front 9 vs. back 9. I have to keep it simple with a shot by shot, somewhat decent vs. what-the-heck-just-happened situational analysis. Anything greater than that or by actually trying to ‘play the game’ in the manner in which it was created would produce an unbearable crushing sense of defeat.
Sunday brought with it a new golf adventure and only a small amount of rain sprinkles. We played at a new course on the West coast that we have never played. Thinking back to yesterday, we really had no business swinging our clubs and wearing shoes with soft-tip spikes at the course known as Tamarina.
Tamarina is the type of place that tries really hard to be an exclusive members-only club and succeeds. We were only allowed to play because we knew someone who knew someone that something or other.
The first thing I noticed when we pulled up is that it’s a gated community with some REALLY nice houses. These are the type of investment purchase that only the really elite can even think about having. Each house has its own private, slate-tiled pool with numerous verandahs for sunning and dining. The groovy undulating facade of each house is made up of many little structures all connected via Pacific island style, pitched tropical-straw roofs.
Everything about them screams ‘exotic priveledge’ and I spent more time gazing and day-dreaming about what it would be like to live in one rather than focusing on my game. Perhaps this is why I only really played half-hearted that day. Or maybe it was because the course itself is situated at the base of some gorgeous mountains whose natural beauty forced me to pull out my camera at every hole.
I stopped counting how many shots it was taking me to reach the green. I was too busy experiencing the day by pretending to live in some far-flung fantasy that I only really came back into the game when I noticed the Frenchman heading, or I should say falling, into some huge sand traps. They were so massively deep and wide that going into them was kind of like adventure hiking in the dessert.
The day ended with the Frenchman completely depleted of spirit and energy and me content to have played ‘make believe’. Almost every person I saw that day on the course and in the clubhouse was Chinese and so my golf out-of-body experience had me wondering what it would be like to be married to a ridiculously rich Chinese CEO and coming to Mauritius for a few months out of the year to check on my holiday house.
Naturally, I would be a wonderful golfer because I would play every day with my troop of Tamarina ladies and that would make the Frenchman, whom I would have hired as the pool guy, really rather jealous. snicker.