Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
During my stay in the archipelago of Alor, in Indonesia, my place of walk, between two dives, is the splendid beach of the island of Pantar.
Right, in front of the diving resort Alor Diversthere is this singular rock, all volcanic rock dented by erosion and very sharp, surmounted by a tuft of vegetation.
It was once an island in its own right. The sand, pushed by the tides and the wind, gains here little by little ground on the sea.
Behind, stretch mangrove and beach ends, towards the Muslim village.
On the left, in the direction of the Christian village, we find trunks of trees dried up like bones, whitened by the sun and salt, with tormented forms.
Then the beach gradually turns into a postcard: white sand and coconut palms on azure sea.
The beach is not crowded, that's for sure. But throughout the day, there is a regular back and forth between the villages and the resort. With the tides, we can also see the families come to fish crustaceans and shells in the shallow water.
As everywhere in Asia, it is above all women who are seen walking, laden with impressive loads.
Here as in the rest of Indonesia, it's not difficult to take people pictures.
Most of the people you ask kindly accept to pose. Many even ask for a picture when they see your camera.
But the funny thing here in Alor - and I hadn't seen it anywhere else before - is that everyone takes a serious, almost hard look at the moment of the release. Yet the moment before, everyone was laughing merrily or smiling shyly!
Obviously, in the corner, the photo is a serious matter, a bit like in our clichés of yesteryear, at the beginning of the twentieth century, when it was not necessary to laugh at family portraits ...
But by repeating myself several times, with a lot of grimaces and encouragement expressed with my little vocabulary in Bahasa Indonesia, I still managed to capture the smile of this girl from the neighboring village.
I have crossed it several times, on the beach, carrying his load of fruits or vegetables. At our second meeting, she recognizes me and comes to ask me to take a picture, with the other carrier.
There are even several of them, and their faces crack a big smile when they see the result on the digital screen. They are visibly very happy.
I compliment them, tell them in Indonesian that they are very pretty, I thank them, they thank me, then put their loads on their heads and go away ...
This isn't Bali or Sulawesi, people are less expansive here. On the beach as on the small road at the back, the few people I meet all greet me kindly, but without ostentation. With the exception of one guy, obviously the "gigolo" of the village, who is giving me a hard time in his poor English for a long photo session: him alone on his motorcycle, him in close-up without the motorcycle, him with me in front of the motorcycle...
As for teens, they inevitably take this pose they must find too cool, hands raised and fingers pointing in various directions. They too look incredibly serious, while they were laughing the minute before ...
Anyway, it's not boring on this beach... You think you're alone in the world, facing the sea, but you're not. There's always someone who finally appears, without warning, as if out of nowhere. The combination "tourist + camera" must make its little effect...
What do you say we go back to diving?
Even on those days when it's gray, Pantar beach is beautiful. More melancholy, certainly.
Our small group of divers goes on outings. Two to three dives a day, in all weathers. Often, we leave the beach of Pantar aboard a small traditional outrigger canoe, to join the boat anchored further.
I admit, I dropped more underwater than on the beach, for photos. After the "macro" series from the previous post, so I'm preparing an "ambiance" sequence in the next one... It's time to go back under the surface!