Opinion

Trip to Edinburgh means golfing, single malting | The Latte Guy | Sept. 24

When you read these words, I will be arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland as part of a distinguished delegation of intrepid island golfers bound for the historic links of Scotland’s eastern coast and the ancient homes of some of Scotland’s finest and most sampling-friendly distilleries.

I’m also hoping to have time to kiss the Blarney Stone, climb the Eiffel Tower, check out the Vatican and drive on the Autobahn, all of which excursions I assume will be within walking distance of our home base in Edinburgh.

As you might have sensed, this is my first trip to Europe. In fact, it’s only the second time I’ve ever been east of the Mississippi, and the first time I crossed it I was in third grade.

In order to go on this trip, I had to temporarily surrender my lifetime membership in IBWKF (the International Brotherhood of White Knuckle Flyers).

So that I can make the most of my time in Scotland, I’ve boned up on Scottish history and culture. My rigorous preparation included watching Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” three times, listening to the Battlefield Band’s version of “Da Merrie Boys O’ Ballyshannon” until I could understand 40 percent of the lyrics, and spending nearly half an hour on Wikipedia.

I’m confident my total immersion approach to Scottish history and culture will pay off.

For example, I now know that all Scottish men wear kilts, have red beards, and will toss a caber at you if provoked. But that’s OK, I like cabers.

I also ‘ken’ that Scottish women are almost all named Bonnie and liked to be called “lassies,” and that haggis is best served when both it and the consumer are copiously lubricated with a fine single malt.

To get to Scotland, or, more precisely, in order to get back out of Scotland, I recently applied for my first ever passport. My application was granted, which necessarily casts serious ‘asparagus’ on the effectiveness of the State Department’s background checking department.

My passport arrived in the mail the other day. To be sure I get my money’s worth out of it, I’ve been trying to use it in some way every day. I’ve offered it up every time I’ve written a check or presented a credit card only to find out that possession of a valid U.S passport does not entitle one to a discount on haircuts, groceries, ferry tickets or postage stamps. In other words, it’s nae good to me here.

It may surprise some people to learn that my golf game is worthy of taking on the road, particularly on the road to the country where golf was invented. The truth is, I don’t have such a game. Yet.

But the opportunity to work on my links game in the company of such an august and distinguished bogey of golfers from the fair Isle of Bainbridge was impossible to pass up. Besides, at least one mature adult presence on the trip was called for.

In preparation for the golfing component of the trip, I’ve logged nearly two rounds of golf over the past six months, and spent nearly a full half hour on the driving range the other day, so I think my game is pretty much as ready as it’s ever likely to be.

I’ve also accumulated some essential golf paraphernalia, such as a currency converter to see exactly how much money I’m losing during each round, and a putter with a built in metric display to help me calculate just how many centimeters short to leave my fourth putt. I also bought a light windbreaker and a pair of cheap rain pants. I have it on good authority that the weather in Scotland in late September can be a bit on the wet and windy side, much like Seattle summers.

My kids were kind enough to get me a cool red plaid cap and a blue plaid golf towel to hang on my head and golf bag, respectively, so that I won’t look too much like a tourist. Bless their hearts.

Unless one of my traveling companions commits a major social or cultural faux pas and we all get locked up in the Bastille or sent to the Black Hole, we should be back on American soil by the first Sunday in October. Until then, as they say in Edinburgh, Aloha, and Vaya Con Dios!

Attorney Tom Tyner is author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.

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