“Every night, I would spend 30 minutes bending the fingers on each of my hands backwards,” Wayan continued as we drove through the mountains on our way to Ubud. “It was the only way to train my hands for dancing.”
A few nights before, we had been mesmerized by the shifty-eyed, gold, yellow, and red laden Balinese dancers performing at Drew and Ursula’s rehearsal dinner in Pemuteran, Bali. The movement of their eyes was hypnotizing enough, but their hands were truly mystifying. Fingers moved almost impossibly independent from the rest of each dancer’s body. Wayan, our taxi driver and a former dancer, told us he could bend his fingers all the way back until they were parallel with the back of his hand, a detail he then confirmed from the driver’s seat as I silently willed him to put his hands back on the wheel.
This incredible attention to detail is one of the reasons we, and many we know, keep coming back to Bali. The island has received a lot of attention over the years, winning various “top destination” awards, and rightfully so. The whole culture is just as mesmerizing as the dancers’ fingers, especially in Pemuteran, a costal town 4 hours north and away from the island’s most popular tourist destinations.
A few days before the rehearsal dinner, Daniel and I de-boarded at the Denpasar airport and made our way to the Ponduk Sari Resort for our dear friends Drew + Ursula’s wedding. We couldn’t wait to spend the week celebrating a couple that has come to mean so much to us, two people we have grown to love through a rickshaw run across India, bike rides through Venice Beach, and champagne soaked dinners. And of course, they had planned the perfect celebration. Bali is stupid beautiful, but Drew and Ursula together surpassed even the island’s most gorgeous sunset drenched beaches, especially on their wedding day.
Pemuteran may be quite a ways from the airport, but the villagers are the example of charm and kindness that the Balinese are famous for. We were able to spend a dreamy week with an exceptionally fun group of wedding guests that was made even more magical by those Pemuteran locals who took us snorkeling, joined in on the dancing and volleyball playing, cooked us delicious meals, and hosted us with their characteristic generosity and full-faced smiles. We were truly welcomed, and never wanted to leave.
*Some of these photos are courtesy of Drew + Ursula and their fabulous wedding photographer.