Last May I spent a wonderful 9 days on Flores Island, Indonesia. This photo encapsulates much of what immediately endeared me to this island: its warm, lovely people and its majestic, largely untainted landscapes.
Flores is not on the main tourist circuits just yet, in large measure, I would assume, because of its still undeveloped infrastructures. It’s probably just as well, because the way I see it, this charming corner of the Earth has the potential to become the next Bali, with all the good and bad things that would entail.
I found many similarities between Bali and Flores. From the ubiquitous, majestic shapes of volcanos to the soothing, heartwarming affability of its people. Everywhere I went on Flores Island, people would seem genuinely glad to see me, and eager to talk, or, English skills failing, greet me with a big smile and the most enthusiastic “Hello Mister!”.
These kids where playing on a village near Gunung Inerie, one of the astonishingly beautiful volcanos scattered over the island. As I approached in my car, they saw me and started waving frantically, so I had to stop.
Their sheer joy as I stepped out of the car was truly wonderful. Immediately, they approached me (“Hello Misterrr!!!”), shrieking, laughing, jumping all around me, out of themselves with excitement. I thought their pure, unbridled joy would look great on its own, much more so set against Mt. Inerie in the background, so I had to reach for my camera.
They had other ideas, though. As soon as I raised the camera to my eye, they spread out into a formation, striking their poses like true professionals. Every time I think of this moment or look at the photo, it brings a smile to my face.