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 is gradually transformed into a postcard: white sand and coconut trees over 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 what's amusing here in Alor - and I've not seen it elsewhere - is that everyone takes a serious, almost hard look at the moment of release. Yet the moment before, everyone laughed cheerfully or smiled 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 ...
We are not in Bali or Sulawesi, people are less expansive here. On the beach as on the small road in the back, the few people I meet greet me all kindly, but without ostentation. With the exception of one guy, obviously the "gigolo" of the village, which makes me quite a hint in his skinny English for a long session of photos: him all alone on his bike, him close up without the bike, him with me in front of the bike ...
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 ...
In short, we do not get bored on this beach ... We think we are alone in the world, facing the sea, but no. There is always someone who comes out, without warning, out of nowhere. The combination "tourist + camera" must make its small effect ...
What if we went 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 series "macro" of the previous post, I prepare you so a sequence "atmosphere" in the next ... It is time to return under the surface!