Golf Conversations of Keith and Karim

Drawing by Karim


Keith: I’m cutting down on drinking coffee. I am drinking more tea instead — better for you.

Karim: Me too. I grew up drinking a lot of tea, so it is much easier for me to go back to it.

Keith: That’s right, I remember you only started drinking coffee when you came to USF.

Karim: Even when we were roommates at USF, I drank more tea than coffee. It took me time to adjust to coffee. My family drank tea for generations in India. And in Kenya they also drank tea.

Keith: ‘Best tea I ever had was in Ceylon — well, I guess they call it Sri Lanka now.

Karim: Where in Ceylon?

Keith: Columbo.

Karim: Do you remember that Columbo episode with Peter Falk and Spock — Leonard Nimoy?

Keith: That was one of the best Columbo episodes!

Karim: So where in Columbo did you have this tea? You know the tea in Ceylon grows in the Kandy tea plantations?

Kandy tea plantation in Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon)

Keith: It was at the Galle Face Hotel in Columbo. They serve you delicious tea all through the day.

Galle Face Hotel in Ceylon

Karim: When I was teaching high school in Northern India — at The Doon School in Dehradun — one of my students was from Assam.

The Doon School in Dehradun, India

Keith: I like the Assam tea.

Karim: This boy’s dad had a tea plantation in Assam and he described how beautiful it was to grow up there. I made him write an essay about it.

Keith: I like Oolong tea as well.

Karim: So, what took you to Columbo?

Keith: Columbo is a flight stop over to get to the Maldives. ‘ About an hour and half flight.


Karim: Diving?

Keith: Diving.

Karim: How did you get into deep sea diving in the first place, Keith?

Keith: It started in Cyprus. I was living in Saudi at the time.

Karim: Yanbu?

Keith: No, that was later. First, I lived in Riyadh.

Karim: How far is the flight from Riyadh to Cyprus?

Keith: ‘ About five and a half hours.

Karim: So, how did the diving first start?


Keith: Well, I was staying at this nice hotel in Cyprus and I saw a sign advertising diving lessons.

Karim: So, the interest in diving began in Cyprus?

Keith: Yes, but I had to do a lot of diving to get my diving certification.

Karim: How did you decide on the Maldives for diving — is it because it has the word ‘dives’ in it?

Keith: The instructor who taught me diving in Cyprus moved to Maldives, so I followed him there.

Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

Karim: You used to dive in Yanbu as well, didn’t you?

Keith: After I moved from Riyadh to the coast – to Yanbu – I started diving there regularly.

Karim: How far is Yanbu from Aqaba?

Keith: ‘About eight and a half hours. About the same as flying into Cairo.

Karim: “Aqaba… Aqaba…”. Remember?

Keith: Lawrence of Arabia!

Karim: Do you remember, when he has that epiphany about taking Aqaba from the Turks?

Keith: Alec Guiness was also great in that — Prince Faisal.

Karim: “You are a desert loving English,” he says to Lawrence.

Keith: “The English hunger for desolate places. I fear they hunger for Arabia.”

Peter O’Toole (Lawrence) and Sir Alec Guiness (Prince Faisal)

Karim: “We Arabs do not love the desert… there is nothing in the desert…”

Keith: Well, that’s before they struck oil in the desert. They loved the oil. What’s not to love?

Karim: Anthony Quinn — remember what he says to Lawrence? When he seizes the horses?

Keith: ‘I have what I want, so I am going home. When you have what you want, you will go home.”

Anthony Quinn, Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif

Karim: “I am Auda abu Tayi, and I am a river to my people!”

Keith: Classic!

Karim: So, you started diving in Cyprus. Then, the Maldives, then Yanbu… where else?

Diving in Fiji

Keith: Fiji.

Diving in Fiji

Karim: Keith, what is that aircraft flying above us right now?

Keith: Cessna 182 — same as the one we flew to Masai Mara when we went on safari in Kenya.

Karim: Remember the lions sunbathing on the airstrip runway in Mara at Governor’s Camp?

Keith: The pilot couldn’t land the Cessna until the lions decided to move.

Keith and Karim at Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya (1984)

Karim: Playing golf at Muthaiga Country Club in Nairobi was a highlight of that Kenya trip.

Keith: Staying at Muthaiga Country Club was pretty nice too — lots of delicious tea again!

The Muthaiga Country Club in Nairobi, Kenya

Karim: You know, the tea in Kenya comes from the upcountry in Kericho.

Kenya tea plantation in upcountry Kericho

Keith: Muthaiga Country Club — now that is one fine golf course!

The Muthaiga Country Club Golf Course in Nairobi, Kenya