A huge fish, and bad golfing skills at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa.
There are two unrelated things I need to tell you that might one day save your life. One is about a fish I met, and the other is about golfing.
First, if you are ever at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa and Doreen recommends the Achoki fish, ask to see it first. Do not trust her. Someone should have told me this, because what the waitress brought was a fish that could have fed the whole hotel. So I abandoned my Nile Perch, ate in spurts for an hour and a half, and still didn’t finish it.
I don’t know whether you can see it, but there’s a trampoline in this image, somewhere. There’s also a golf course, but it’s the trampoline that will be the one thing I didn’t do at Lake Victoria Serena. But last night I met a fish that changed my life. The signature food at this hotel is Achoki, named after a chef who decided that when a fish dies to be a dish, it should be given all the culinary honor in the world. But that fish is too big. I think even our resident fish diplomat, @themagunga would need help with it. #Wanderlust #owaahh #Owaahhtravelogue
That fish needs to come with a disclaimer, and it doesn’t help that its name almost sounds like “hachoki.” It’s like it’s challenging you to finish it by how tasty it is. Yet you humanly can’t because it’s sprawling from the plate. Doreen will highly recommend it, then slyly order something else.
Second, I am bad at golf. Or rather, I am bad at aiming. This is important information to have. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that I spent last Valentines at Lake Elmentaita Serena and I am still not confident enough to post my archery scores here. I had arrows flying all over the target, above the green screen. In fact, after some time, hitting the green screen was considered a win for me.
Yet knowing this, I still lined up a ball and swung a club at Lake Victoria Serena. On a mini-golf course in the golf shop. Meaning we were indoors, on a course so tiny a child of five couldn’t possibly murk it up. In fact, there were people at the end of the course, breaking one of the cardinal rules of the sport. One of them was bending over to take a proper photo, and he was about to lose a camera lens, or an eye, or both.
I listened to the golf shop attendant best I could. “Choose the right club, in fact, here, have this one,” he offered. I listened as he told me how to stand, how to place my shoulders, how to shift my legs as I swing the club. He forgot to say to hit it softly (to putt, it’s called, as I learn later) because it was a mini-course. I figure he assumed I knew. I thought I did too. I didn’t hit it that hard, but somehow, quarter way through the course, it left the ground and headed straight for the soon-to-be-blind photographer. You should have seen the shock on his face! You should have seen the smirk on mine. I had hit it something, at the very least.
It struck the lens and bounced off, but everyone was suddenly aware of how vulnerable their valuables had been.
I blame it on the two glasses of wine I had had on a boat speeding on Lake Victoria earlier. It was the night before last of our frolicking in Kampala, and we spent it at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa, 15 kilometers from the capital city, and Kampala Serena. Most of those kilometers were under construction, and fatigue from a week of adventure was finally kicking in. But I had a fish to eat and a photographer to almost blind, only I didn’t know it yet. I didn’t even know it as we explored The Coliseum, and Vionna imagined she had finally found the venue for her wedding to a Ugandan man (she hasn’t found one, despite a running joke throughout this trip about it).
Or even as we hopped onto a golf cart and headed for the marina. As I secretly contemplated trying to take one of the police boats moored there for a quick ride around the lake. See, peace was on my mind.
The boat ride itself was what boat rides should be. There was wine and music, and Peter, in a captain’s hat. There were furious waves and lots of rocking. There was amateur photography to try see whether any of us can fit in a music video. Only the ladies did, the rest of us looked like those images they use in stories about drug lords. The entire boat ride didn’t have a particular destination but the marina itself, which passes through a neck with a resident flock of birds that seem too ready to put up a show.
Then we got back, and took a walk to the golf shop. Where, an hour away from my fight with a fish, I almost blinded someone. After, I walked out and realized something was wrong. Now I wanted to take golf cart outside for a ride, and the guy walking to it, Paul, must have noticed my sudden kleptomania. So he offered to show me around. I hopped on, and he drove me around the 9-hole course, explaining golf to me like I am a child of five (I am worse), and ignoring my questions about who comes to play there.
A good chunk of the 206 acres of the course is under construction to expand it to an 18-hole course, Paul tells me. “When it’s complete, the par 70 course will comprise four par five, ten par four and four par three holes,” he adds. I nod as if get any of this, while all I’m thinking about is that I sort of understand why people golf. If for nothing else, it’s challenging. It’s designed to make it harder and harder as one moves along. It’s competition on pristine, delicate fairways for hours. It’s a game of feel and skill, and it’s mostly safe, unless you stand between the golfer and where he wants the ball to go (or where it wants to go) and he tries to take out your eye.When we got back from this impromptu tour, everyone else piled onto the same golf cart as I walked to a bench on the course to wait. Then a hefty man in a navy blue t-shirt and cargo shorts walked past me, with a caddie tugging his clubs in tow. He seemed to be in a half jog, as if this is one thing that had been on his mind all day. I sat down to watch him, forgetting that I was meant to send a tweet.
He walked to the tee box and chose a club. Then he placed the ball down and stood next to it, with his feet set shoulder-width apart. He looked intensely in front, as he bent slightly at the knees and practiced his swing. Then he pushed his hips back as he wound up the club and brought it down in one good, strong swing. The golf ball flew. But from how the caddy followed it with her eyes, not in the direction he meant it go. Perhaps it was the Achoki fish’s fault.
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One story is good,
till Another is told.