Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Playing With Pros

What were you doing last week? If you had had any sense at all you would down in Pecatu, Bali for the first Indonesian Ladies Open Golf Tournament. I was. The event lasted 4 days and had particicipants from all over Asia and Europe. Here is how it went.

Day 1 was the PRO/AM tournament. For a modest fee you can pair up with a pro and play best ball. Its a nice chance to meet the players in an informal setting. My partner was a girl from France who, (along with her mother) was enjoying her first trip to Bali. It was a bit amusing as she spoke minimal Engish and my French is pretty rusty (years of inactivity). She did most of her talking with her 3-wood. That girl can hit. Unfortunately we did not come close to winning the pro/am but the consolation was that I picked up some colorful expressions as to what to say en francais when you hit your ball into the rough. The pro/am was followed up by a party at the kelapa klub  which was another opportunity to mix with the organisers, players and other members of the golf establishment here in Indonesia.

Days 2 and 3 were the qualifying rounds of the tournament proper. As a volunteer I had to be there at 6 AM for no apparent reason as things did not really begin happenning before 7. My job was stand out on the teebox with a little sign that says "Quiet Please" whenever the players are about to make their shot. This would have been fun except that there were no spectators where I was positioned way out on the 8th hole. The things I do for a free lunch and a golf shirt! My other job was to try to keep water in in the giant cooler boxes that were scattered throughout the course. This involved texting the F&B people and telling them to get their ass out to number 7 with 2 cases of water and 10 kilos of ice. On the upside being out in the hinterland  allowed me to get some photos though which I am happy to share with all of you today.

Second Shot on 1

Approach on 7. A scenic and difficult hole.

Letting it rip!

Finishing off on 1.

The third and final day involved about half the field being cut. Today I got a new job which was to to carry a signboard around the course displaying the scores of the top three players. Except that the board was not ready at tee time so I had to follow the players around and manualy keep score with a pen and paper. The scoreboard finally showed up about the 4th or 5th hole and so we got to pack around a large heavy metal and wood sign up and down hills for 7 kilos - talk about having crosses to bear - its hot out here! They also forgot to print us any 8's  so were were constantly concerned that the girl at plus 6 would double bogey and we would be be forced to take her score off the board for a lack of numbers. Luck prevailed and my little team were able to get through the round with all our numbers intact.

The tournament was won by a Korean gal by name of Solar Lee. She was living proof that this game is all about finesse and not about power. All in all it went off rather well for a first time thing. The course was in great shape and they was a lot of support from local players, sponsers and volunteers. The only thing missing was the spectators - well their loss I suppose.

PS - it wouldn't be an Indonesian tournament without at least one odd translation so here it is. In case you can't read the small print it goes  like "BE THE FIRST TO WATCH FARIES BATTLES ON THE ISLAND OF THE GODS". I'm tempted to offer a prize for the best reverse engineering - I'm would love to know what they were trying to say here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Caipirinha Time!

I am sitting around in Luanda with the boys drinking homemade caipirinhas waiting for supper to arrive. For the heathen amongst you capirinhas is a mixture of limes, sugar and cachaca (a lethal sugar cane extract). It tastes quite refreshing actually so long as it’s cold enough. We are celebrating here. After months of preparation, endless invoices, equipment checks and commissioning we were finally able to deploy our equipment, get it working, do our job, and get back to the beach, all without losing anything or killing someone.

It didn't come easy. We had issues with air conditioners freezing up at inopportune moments. In 100 degree heat can you imagine being in a sealed metal box without ac? For a week? The heat played with our computers causing them to cycle on and off repeatedly. The hydraulic generator that we were using also had issues which caused frequent power cuts to the unit. But these little hang-ups were not enough to overly affect the final result which was a successful well intervention and the acquisition of good data to the client. We also had a good opportunity to test our modelling software and make some adjustments for the next intervention which will occur in about a month. I’ll be travelling to Bali in the next day or two but in the meantime it’s back to the caipirinhas!