Note: this summer I spent just over three weeks in Australia, visiting my former San Francisco roommate and one of my best friends in the world. With a home base in Perth, we explored Kali's new city, took a roadtrip to wine country, and ran a marathon (because why not?). All of my Australia posts thus far can be viewed here.
During my first week in Australia, I was introduced to lawn bowling, "lawn bowls" or even just "bowls." When I first was told about the day's activity, I thought I'd heard "long balls." After a few rounds of "pardon me?" I decided my hosts must've meant lawn balls...you know, cause it's played on a lawn... with balls?
It wasn't until days later (and after a Google search) that I realized they were saying "lawn bowls" all along. All I can say is, accents can be hard. (Also, if the game's Wikipedia page photo is any indication, lawn bowls is some pretty serious stuff.)
On my first Sunday in town, a small group of us headed to the neighborhood bowling club for a game of barefoot bowls. According to it's website, Mosman Park is the "club with the million dollar view," and I don't disagree. It was a beautiful winter's day in Perth and the view was absolutely killer. (The photo above was shot at the far end of the playing area, which, according to the Internet, is called a pitch.)
In addition to the great view and the beverages from the clubhouse bar, the game turned out the be a ton of fun as well. It's a lot like bocce, but the balls have a "bias" - they're designed to curve towards one side once thrown down the pitch. I was fairly terrible at the game, but had a great time trying to hone my skills (finally ending up on the board at the end of the day's festivities).
The final playoff round was quite competitive (and somewhat disputed), as you can see. (If you look closely, there appears to be a couple in the background that's less into the view and game, and more into each other, perhaps falling in love at the bowling club!)
But back to the point - lawn bowls was a great way to spend and afternoon, and perhaps more importantly, was a perfect opportunity to get to know some of my friend's friends better. (They were very kind and encouraging to the American visitor who couldn't figure out what the game was even called, let alone how to play it skillfully - a big shout out to my new Australian friends for that.)
So next time you find yourself in Australia looking for an outdoor activity that combines adult beverages, views, and friendly competition - perhaps you should consider check out the local bowling club.