Golf Conversations of Keith and 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?
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?
Keith: It was at the Galle Face Hotel in Columbo. They serve you delicious tea all through the day.
Karim: When I was teaching high school in Northern India — at The Doon School in Dehradun — one of my students was from Assam.
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: 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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.”
Karim: “I am Auda abu Tayi, and I am a river to my people!”
Karim: So, you started diving in Cyprus. Then, the Maldives, then Yanbu… where else?
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.
Keith: The pilot couldn’t land the Cessna until the lions decided to move.
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!
Karim: You know, the tea in Kenya comes from the upcountry in Kericho.
Keith: Muthaiga Country Club — now that is one fine golf course!