Come for the golf, stay for the fried bananas in Melaka, Malaysia
MELAKA, MALAYSIA – I suppose at it’s most basic, the reason we plunk down big cash to travel to foreign lands is for the opportunity to see and do plenty of “firsts". Two days into this Malaysian golf trip, my first ever voyage into Asia, I’ve had my fair share.
I’ve never seen dozens of golf course rangers driving around on motorcycles. I’ve never seen “Beware of Monkeys” signs all over a golf course. I’ve never seen rangers on motorcycles going into the trees along fairways to shoo away monkeys.
I’ve never seen a halfway house attendant fast asleep, lying on the counter. Would that fly at Pinehurst?
I’ve never seen a golf course with wall-to-wall cow grass. Never heard of it? It’s this very thick strain that looks prehistoric, and it was the first grass used on golf courses in Malaysia and still remains on the older courses. The USGA should check this gnarly stuff out if they haven’t already. It’d make great major-worthy rough, and would surely catch the ire of Phil Mickelson, which is more or less their goal when planning U.S. Opens.
Off the course, I’ve never had a masseuse literally on all fours, crawling around my back digging her knees and elbows into me. She may have been hanging from the ceiling at one point or something. The masseuses here get “A’s” for effort, that’s for sure (and to my masseuse Tuesday night, I shot a fairly solid 82 on Malaysia’s toughest golf course today. Well done! I’m sure you’re reading…)
But I’ve also never had fried banana, which some of the Indonesian travel agents I’m touring Malaysia with offered to me at an open market tonight - and it’s to die for. I think it’s my new favorite exotic junk food, trumping Amsterdam’s hot, chocolate & sugar covered waffles.
This might sound like a no-brainer to you Asia veterans out there, but to everyone else, be sure to hit the open markets for food. The food is far superior to anything I’ve had in my A’Famosa Resort so far.
I’ve also never heard of Andy Dye. We all know Pete, his wife Alice and his boys P.B. and Perry, but this Andy fellow is new to me. Apparently he’s Pete’s nephew and son of Roy Dye. He’s big on this side of the world, with developments in places like Singapore and Hong Kong.
After one more day in Melaka, covering the World Amateur Inter-Team Golf Championship, which is a very popular event on this side of the world in countries like Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and others, we’ll head to Kuala Lumpur for a few days off the course and on.
Kuala Lumpur, from what I’m told, is a very cosmopolitan city, more so than where I am now, which is more traditional. In fact, this is the second trip in a row I’ve been on that has a heavy Muslim influence, and thus has a strange relationship with alcohol. Probably the funniest thing of the day was coming off Tiara golf course after four-plus hours of muggy, jungle heat and being served, bless their hearts, hot tea and coffee.
Look, I have a well-documented coffee addiction as I’m sure most writers do, but as that very moment, as we came out of the sun drenched in sweat, coffee sounded about as refreshing as a bag of sand. Coffee might hit the spot after a February round in Fife, but never two degrees north of the equator.
Myself and the Aussies I was with politely declined and plunked down some cash for a couple rounds Tiger beers instead. Here’s another Malaysian travel tip: beer prices are all over the place. At Orna Golf Club, they were about $1. At Tiara today, maybe 10 minutes away and a similar class resort, they were $4. They’re closer to $6 in my mini-bar. Can the government maybe step in and set a standard beer price like they do with petrol over here?
Stay tuned for plenty more on golf in Malaysia at WorldGolf.com…
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The fried bananas sound great too!
Hope you weren't among the murderous mob, BTuck. I know how you love your karaoke!
Good use of "never had" and "never seen" in a blog post :) You should expect wonders while visiting Asian countries. Melaka is a small town and UNESCO world heritage site .. pretty good place to see.
I hope you have tried Singapore golf courses, they are pretty cool.