Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAR-APR 2017

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40 Finding luxur y and adventure on the island of gods Emerging from the relative quiet of the climate-controlled baggage claim and into the bustling open-air terminal at Denpasar International Airport, my senses immediately went into overdrive. Humbled by the humidity, I felt as though I was on the receiving end of a prolonged bear hug from a sweaty workout buddy. My brain was struggling to process the dizzying array of sights and sounds coming from all directions. Looking over the heads of sign-toting tour guides and shouting taxi drivers packed paparazzi-style along the perimeter of a well-trod carpet, a surreal figure loomed large: a fantastical female deity with large, bare breasts, razor-like nails and skin as smooth as glass. ere was no need to rub my eyes as I knew this wasn't a mirage brought on by jetlag; I had arrived in Bali and was already smitten. Somehow, amidst the chaos, a friendly face appeared and called me by name. is well-coiffed representative from e Mulia, the largest resort in Indonesia, plucked me from the crowd and ushered me into a nearby waiting van, where the reprieve of air-conditioning and a cool hand towel instantly reset my senses. Along the 30-minute ride to our destination, I watched in awe the death-defying zig- zagging of scooters in and out of traffic that seemed to exhibit no clear pattern of rhyme or reason. One can easily discern the "it will be fun to see Bali by scooter" tourists from more seasoned veterans by their deer-in-headlights expression as they contemplate how to merge into a roundabout. Laden with offerings, large Hindu temples and small shrines (cumulatively numbering some 20,000 on the island) mark busy intersections and could be spied tucked between storefronts or at the end of narrow alleyways. HEAVEN SENT Written by Bridget Williams

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