There’s at Least ONE Jerk in France

Of course we picked the summer of 2003 and the record European heat wave to spend a week in the Basque Country of northern Spain.  Had we been smarter, we would have spent every minute on the beaches of San Sebastián Biarritz 4instead of traipsing off to France for a day of golf.  It sounded like a great idea: crossing into France, our first time there, and playing nine holes overlooking the Bay of Biscay.  As avid golfers, how could we pass up the chance to golf the beautiful Golf de Biarritz course? Biarritz 2

And so we paid for the excursion and a driver picked us up at our hotel and we headed north to Biarritz.  Neither Russell nor I speak any French, unless you count me singing Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? (probably not golf etiquette to say on the course), so we were thrilled when our driver set everything up in the pro shop.  He arranged for us to get rental clubs, we bought a dozen balls, and were quickly escorted to the first tee.  It was all so rushed that I never had a chance to buy any water.  Oh well, I thought, there will be a beverage cart on a day like this or at least a fountain along the way.  As the temperature approached 100 degrees for the fifth day in a row, we were thankful for the sea breezes as we walked down the fairways.  The course is unbelievably beautiful and as we played holes near the cliffs,Biarritz 3 began to reconsider only buying a dozen balls.  We also began to question why we had not seen a beverage cart.  Is that just an American thing??  With three holes left in our steamy round, we looked at our course map and saw that the next two holes were on the other side of a “mountain” with switchbacks and all.  Luckily, there were power carts parked at the base of the hill to transport golfers to the other side.  With all of its might, our little cart made it up the hill, and then down the switchback trail on the other side.  Here at the bottom, all of the carts were parked in a little gravel area, waiting for the golfers while they golfed the two holes.

We trudged onward down these holes, keeping our eyes open for a fountain.  We had not had any water since leaving Spain that morning and we had been walking and carrying our clubs for almost two hours.  Did I mention we were golfing terribly? Biarritz 1 I was down to taking half swings just so I would not end up down to my last ball.  Between the heat, the thirst, and an unknown course, let’s just say I stopped keeping score.  Anyways, between the two holes I spotted a small building with bathrooms.  I was so excited!  Finally—some water!  Not so lucky, unless I was planning to drink another French phrase I know: eau de toilette

Upon finishing the second hole we headed toward the gravel lot to the carts and noticed that all of the carts sitting there were without keys.  We had left our key in the cart.  WE HAD LEFT OUR KEY IN THE CART!!  And there our cart wasn’t!  Who would steal our cart??  Clearly all of the golfers had come across the “mountain” with carts.  We stood there in disbelief looking at each other, our clubs, and the mountain in front of us.  And so, in 100+ degrees we walked with our clubs up and down that mountain and then across the last hole (angrily and without playing it) and dragged ourselves finally into the clubhouse.  Had I been able to rant and curse in French, I would have expressed my outrage to the pro shop attendant, but he looked uninterested anyway and repulsed by our sweatiness.

And so I uttered my best attempt at deux Evians si vous plait, and we quickly downed our waters and ordered deux more.  Now that we had calmed down a little, it occurred to us that we had been dropped off in France and had no contact information for our driver.  We had been operating on trust that day, but when Le Jerk stole our cart, I began to question everything.  Luckily, he did show up about a half hour later, and we practically ran to the van.  I couldn’t wait to get back to Spain.

And as for the guy who stole our golf cart, I have a word for you and it isn’t “Fore!”, but it’s pretty close…