The sun blazes overhead, baking a large, open stretch of white sand underneath a blue sky dotted with white clouds. A group of around 15 elderly men pause, chanting while small drums continue beating as two bare-chested men encircle and eye each other. Swishing and tinkling mingle in the air as one man struts and twirls his water buffalo rawhide whip, while small bells ring upon his black, red and yellow-wrapped waist over white tunic pants.
Tension lurks in the hot, humid air and burns salty sweat as it trickles on furrowed brows under colourful water buffalo skin mask. Lean muscles coil on brown bare shoulders as the man across raises a circular shield on his left hand and a woven rattan-and-bamboo longbow on his right. Crack! The attacker jumps high and the defender successfully parries.
Applause erupts among the international crowd, all of whom are sitting and sipping comfortably on couches at Patio Xanadu restaurant: Indonesian and international travel agents, the media, local government representatives and VVIPs.
This war dance officially marked the Plataran Private Cruises Boat Show and Komodo Beach Resort reopening on April 16. The party moved on to the Atlantis on the Rock restaurant, where Plataran Hotels and Resorts CEO Yozua Makes and West Manggarai Regent Drs Agustinus C. H. Dulla spoke about how the resort is working together with the local government and islanders in promoting tourism and also keeping the ecosystem intact. One prime example is the specially made private jetty that Plataran owns and built in order to preserve the coral gardens from being trampled by disembarking tourists.
The throng then strode across the azure Flores Sea toward sea vessels waiting at the end of the long jetty. The regent and his entourage board the Plataran Indonesia yacht, while the rest is divided into two groups: one group to the smaller Plataran phinisi Ambassi and one to the bigger Plataran phinisi Felicia.
The stunning event then took in island scenery around Bidadari Island, with sumptuous snacks and restaurants before the management team invited everyone to enjoy cocktails under twinkling stars. A buffet-style dinner featuring local dishes and fresh seafood was served complete with flickering candle light and good companionship as the event came to a close.
Photo by Plataran Komodo Beach Resort & Edith Emeralda.