Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
I'll take you back to Bali. In Amed, exactly, on the northeast coast. Despite the tourist development of the region, there are still salt workers or salt workers.
The salt harvest
I could not stay in Amed without going to have a closer look at the work of the salt workers. This is the traditional activity of the region.
Under the hot sun, they harvest sea salt. You can see their hard work on the beaches at the entrance of the village.
A work of convict, in the middle of the barrel, on the black sand. Sea water is drawn from man's back, spread over large squares of sand.
After evaporation, this sand is collected and filtered in large funnels of braided bamboo.
The salt water is collected in hollow coconut trunks and is again evaporated. At the bottom of the trunks, we see forming salt crystals.
A handful of garam
Salt is said garam in Bahasa. When I arrive on the beach, the kids spot me and surround me. They all want to sell me little souvenir baskets, containing a handful of garam.
I resist. And then I finally crack and spin a few thousand rupees to a girl, a little older than the others, with whom I manage to exchange a few words in Bahasa.
She is 12 years old. She trembles with all her limbs, holding out her little basket of salt. Fear, emotion? She hardly dares to cross my eyes.
The others are jealous. She finally gives me a nice warm smile and gives me a small wave when I decide to go back on my bike.
I go a little further to take pictures more quietly. There, only two kids, who escort me with curiosity. But no more insist when they understand that I will not buy salt.
Two hostile dogs bark at me as I frame the trunks of coconut trees that two guys are hollowing out. A little smirk, the two men accept despite everything gently that I take pictures.
But I feel a little intrusive, a little "out of place". Not a hair of shadow on this gray-black sand. It's a terrible heat.
What future for the salt workers of Amed?
There are fewer and fewer salt workers in Amed. The work is hard, unprofitable. Those who harvest the garam are rare to own the land on which they work. And the owners prefer to sell to hotel builders.
The parents of Sana, the young guy who served as a guide in the hinterland, worked as salt workers before, he told me. They stopped and now farm a piece of land a little further away.
In a few years, will there still be salt workers in Amed? The young people in the area have no desire to toil like their parents on the hot sand, to earn misery.
Everyone I ask asks me to study languages, to work in tourist hotels ... Tourism is a bit like the goose that lays the golden eggs here.