Virtuoso Traveler - August/September 2018 - 39
"In even the smallest corners of every village, you'll find
a visual feast of striking scenery, along with the open faces
of the friendly people who define this island."
Beyond the beach, bartenders host
cocktail clinics based on arak (Bali's local
spirit); a sarong concierge teaches proper
etiquette for how to wear this traditional
fabric and heads tours to sarong-making
studios; and chefs lead strolls through
nearby Kedonganan market that culminate in a cooking class and lunch back at
the resort's Bejana restaurant.
"My culinary style reflects my home
cooking, learned since I was a child,"
chef Made Karyasa tells me while we
meander through stalls bursting with
vibrant rambutan and dragon fruit, giant prawns, shredded coconut, bamboo
shoots, and an array of Balinese spices
we later use to prepare staples such as
bumbu genep (a versatile paste used in
various Balinese dishes) and tum bebek
(spiced minced duck wrapped in banana leaves). "Teaching others is a way
for me to pass on this tradition."
The resort's cultural concierge offers
additional insight into Bali's identity
through Baris dance classes, Indonesian
language lessons, and trips to area sites.
Following my market tour and lunch, I
travel with him to the eleventh-century
Uluwatu temple, timed to see a community Kecak performance, in which scores
of locals enact an ancient ritual ceremony, dancing and chanting in unison as
the setting sun drops into the sea.
Clockwise from far left: Mandapa's vibrant rice fields, Penglipuran village, chef Made
Karyasa gets cooking, on the road near Ubud, and Uluwatu temple's seaside setting.
"BALI HAS AN ABUNDANCE OF SENsory riches," says Varya Simpson, a
California-based Virtuoso advisor and
former Asian studies instructor at UC
Berkeley. "In even the smallest corners
of every village," she adds, "you'll find
a visual feast of striking scenery, along
with the open faces of the friendly
people who define this island."
I'm reminded of her words later in the
week while touring Ubud - Bali's cultural
and spiritual center - via a vintage Volkswagen convertible. From my base at
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, I join a
local guide and driver who take me along
| SEPTEMBER 2018