Hole #11 - Horse Traitors?

"He hits the ball 300 or 400 meters", I hear my caddy Khatanbaatar tell the women in the ger. They're all quite impressed so I don't bother correcting him with the fact that on a good shot, I'll hit it 200 meters. Khatanbaatar is 57 years old with six children that he doesn't remember the ages of (it's a Mongolian thing). His Russian UAZ jeep has only broken down twice so far, but being the simple vehicle that it is, it was easily repaired by the experienced driver/mechanic/caddy. Being also a grandfather, he has that paternal instinct, meaning that he never drives more than a few kilometers ahead of me and always keeps an eye on me with my binoculars during the day, ready to intervene if rabid dogs or aggressive locals seem to be approaching me (though this has never actually happened). Although impressed, the Mongolians who are told of my adventure, and particularly the women, typically give disapproving remarks emphasized by the "Tsk, Tsk" they spit in my direction. Crazy foreigner.

But as it goes, I'm alone most of the day again, which means I have plenty of time to collect my thoughts and meditate on the meaning of life. As I watched a man on a horse riding to round up other horses I couldn't help but wonder "What do those other free horses think of the one who is being used to capture them?" Is he despised by them as a traitor, assisting the enemy? Do they feel enmity or sympathy towards him? Thoughts to keep me occupied in between shots.

The winds continue to blow strongly, but the first touches of summer are now evident. I noticed flies buzzing around my head for the first time this year recently, meaning they've woken up from their long winter slumber and are ready to aggravate the golfer with renewed gusto.

These last two holes have passed through mostly rocky terrain, over some mountain passes, and across high sparsely vegetated plains. This hasn't been all bad news. Though I could use a patch of grass every now and then to tee the ball up on, at least it's been easier to find after I hit it. There are more yaks than cows, and more camels than I've seen elsewhere in Mongolia. There are still snow-covered peaks within view, which will hopefully melt off soon to help quench this thirsty land. More unknown territory lies ahead, and with at least a couple weeks before my next progress report, I've got plenty of time to mull over the issue of horse traitors.

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