Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Vientiane Weekend

Saturday morning I awoke at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am to go golfing. The guys I golf with on occassion are insane about early starts. Oh, how I miss my old golf buddy Jon White, who was content to golf at normal times of day.

Anyway, it was likely my last visit to Dansavanh, and I made the most of it by hitting the ball as many times as I possibly could (i.e. playing like crap). But my partner, Jiro, and I won in our little game against Rick and Martin, which means that we are now the proud holders of the Baku, a statue of a golfer made out of nuts and bolts. So long as I don't play again, I can leave Laos a champion. The only problem is that the Baku can't leave the country.

The peanut gallery was out in full force trying to sell golf balls.

Groups of kids position themselves strategically around the course. They spend their time scouring the jungle that eats so many balls, then package them and sell them. A bag of 9 balls runs anywhere from 10,000 kip to 30,000 kip ($1-3) depending on quality. So you can get, say, 7 Titleist Pro-Vs and a few Nike balls for $3, or 9 bad-quality balls for $1.

Marty, presciently guessing he'd need a large supply of balls, loads up on the 2nd hole.

The clubhouse, etc. at Dansavanh. It is a huge, completely empty collection of meeting rooms, banquet halls, porches, etc. Given that they probably get about 15 golfers a day, on a good day, it seems odd to me that the construction to expand the clubhouse is ongoing. I think they are building condos as well. Someone, it seems, needs to wash some money. I can't think of any other reason for the monstrosity.

This morning, Katherine played tennis while Jack and I slept in until about 9:30. Then we went for a walk to the Australian club for breakfast. It's a cool 74 degrees today, so jackets were required.

Breakfast at the Aussie Club. The Club is closing down at the end of the year. The Australian government has been kind enough to subsidize our (and other members') enjoyment of the pool, the river views, the food, the squash and aerobics. They've decided they don't want to be in the social club business anymore. Sad news for those people who will be here long term and are members. Fine by us, as we are leaving anyway, and in closing they are also returning the joining fee to all members.

I'm playing tennis at 2:00, then Vone is coming over at 3:00 and Katherine and I are going out for massages and dinner.

39 days until departure.


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