Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text:
Here, the black volcanic sand of the beaches disappears under colored pebbles. Blue, green, sometimes with a hint of turquoise or mauve... A new geological curiosity of the Indonesian island of Flores. This beach is also a kind of open-air mine, where women and children collect and sort the blue pebbles.
Blue Stone Beach
For tourists, this part of the coastline located a few kilometers southwest of the town of Ende, is renamed Blue Stone Beach. The beach of blue pebbles.
In fact, it is a succession of several beaches, which stretches over a dozen kilometers: Nangamboa, Nangapanda, Penggajawa ...
Misir, my driver, drops me off at the end of a beach. It is low tide. On the side of the road, mounds of blue pebbles are lined up, sorted by size and color.
Misir parks the car at the other end of the beach and lets me wander quietly among the pebble pickers. I am quickly spotted.
First, furtive glances, some laughter and exclamations. A small band of children observes me from afar. The kids finally get bold. The less shy ones come to pose for some pictures.
A woman calls out to me, obviously asking me where I'm from. I start the conversation with my usual "Saya orang Perancis" (I'm French). Each time, the few words of Bahasa Indonesia that I manage to gibber relax the atmosphere and earn me big smiles.
There are two young girls with her. One of them speaks a little English. She refuses to be in the picture, but explains me nicely the destination of all these pebbles that they sort, tirelessly: they will be used for decoration. Ornaments for walls, gardens, aquariums...
I continue my way quietly, trying not to twist my ankle on all these rolling pebbles. The children escort me from far. It amuses them to see me photographing the pebbles.
The colors are amazing. The collectors prefer round stones, of a beautiful turquoise blue.
I end up imitating women from the beach. Squatting on the heels, I also collect several small blue pebbles as a souvenir.