A visitor from Malawi

The first part of today’s journal is all about golf. If you want to skip to the ‘visitor’ part, click here.

We used our final ‘discount coupon’ (we’d purchased a 10-pack when we first arrived) at the Metropolitan Golf Course this morning. We were a wee bit early and not at all surprised to see that the course was not nearly as busy as it was earlier in the summer (next Monday is the first day of Fall here). We registered at the pro shop and asked if we might start early and go as a “2-ball” (just the two of us). No problem, said the nice young man behind the desk. Just inform the starter. So we did. And the starter said okay. I teed up my ball and was about to blast a shot straight and far and down the middle of the fairway when another golfer came up to us, pulling her golf cart. “What time is your tee time?” she asked. When we told her we were starting a bit early she was indignant. “You can’t do that! WHO told you you could do that?” Etc, etc, etc. Well, the poor starter got an earful and the lady was adamant that the guy inside and even the management would certainly hear from her. “What if someone has requested this tee time so that they could have a friendly competition and SOCIALIZE with others? No one wants to golf alone. This is not right.” Well, she had a point. I guess we were a bit scared of ending up with a couple like those Russians we golfed with a week ago — NO socializing there. The starter looked at me, asked if we would mind golfing together with Terri (we had made introductions by this time). No problem! Join us. As Terri headed for the red tees the starter quietly says to me: she is VERY particular and can be a bit difficult. We’d been warned.

Well, poor Terri had got herself so worked up she blew her drive. And her second and third and fourth shots. And her first two putts. And in between there was a LOT of muttering about the incompetence of the people working the pro shop. And then it got worse!

We were halfway down the second fairway when the starter comes zipping up in his golf cart — he’s delivering Anne, the lady who was to be our fourth. Now Anne (from Ireland) got into it. How dare they start without her! She’d been only 1 minute late and was told we’d already teed off. So now Terri had a (much more) sympathetic ear for all her bitching and complaining. And we two poor Canadians (who had caused all the disruption) were caught in the middle of a confrontation that was only getting worse, and all we wanted was for everyone to be happy!

And so we golfed. And every time Terri missed a shot she cursed that guy in the pro shop. And every time we went BY the pro shop (3 more passes because of the layout of the course) she stomped into there looking for that guy so she could give him another piece of her mind. And when at one point A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT pro shop person came by on a golf cart she gave HIM a what-for — and of course he’s all innocent and finally yells back that he doesn’t even know what she’s talking about! So, says Terri, not only is he an incompetent, but now he’s a LIAR too!

Well, for all the talk of how she valued the SOCIAL aspect of the game, she sure didn’t socialize with us. Anne and Sue visited as they walked the fairways; Terri marched directly to her ball without a comment or question. She insisted that none of us step on the green until ALL of our balls (most importantly, HER ball) were on. She seemed to be a very unhappy person. (By now I wasn’t completely surprised that she didn’t want to golf alone — she probably had trouble finding people who would play with her! Sue asked if she was married! No. We were not surprised.)

Now I don’t have a problem with abiding by the rules, but this round was not at all competitive and not much of a ‘social’ event either! When at the 18th green it was time to shake hands, the only nice thing I could think of to say to her was ‘you golf very well’.

We left our clubs at the clubhouse, since we won’t use them again before next Monday morning. We headed home, had lunch, and cleaned up the apartment — getting ready for our guest. Sue went to get a haircut. I Facetimed with Max and Alex. The Flight-tracker told us that the flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town would be delayed by about 15 minutes, so that meant we should be at the airport by 4:15.

We got to the airport in the nick of time. We met Jessica as she was coming through customs. After a little kerfuffle trying to get out of the parking lot — I was 2 minutes over the ‘free 30 minute parking’ and had to circle back and pay a dollar — we were on the road back to our apartment. We showed Jessica to her room and then sat outside on the balcony and had happy hour. We discussed options for what we will do for the next 4 days. There are many things on the list — but Jessica seems flexible and relaxed and easy to please. She is two months into a 6-month stint volunteering at the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives, a credit union in Lilongwe, Malawi. We hope to hear more about her experiences there in the days to come.

Shoe shopping at the V&A
Shoe shopping at the V&A

We walked to the V&A to get a few important things out of the way. Jessica needed to (1) get cash, (2) get a phone card, (3) buy some runners, and (4) eat supper — well, we ALL needed to eat supper. We managed to get all four things done at the mall. We ended up at San Marcos, at a table outside, where we ate and visited for the next hour or more.

When we got home we had a dish of ice cream and watched (yesterday’s) CBC National. Nothing new. We’d already read about all the US primary results earlier in the day (Rubio is out, Trump keeps on winning). Apparently I fell asleep sitting on the couch while the girls tried to figure out how to switch on the light and the fan in Jessica’s bedroom. Went to bed at eleven. Tomorrow we plan to go on a little road trip, ending up in Hermanus for an overnight.