The Salt Mines of Lombok

At first sight, Balinese seem to be omnipresent in the capital Mataram and the western part of the island, but the rest of Lombok is different physically, culturally and linguistically from its better-known neighbor Bali. The majority of the indigenous population is of Sasak descent, a distinct ethnic stock, with a strong cultural identity, unique in the Indonesian archipelago. You are bound to visit some of their primitive villages where life didn't change much over the last hundred years or so. Some areas of this island are quite rarely visited and yet, they are some extraordinary sights to be enjoyed. It takes a bit of road mapping to get there, but after passing through lonely villages and dry-cracked land, the stunning view of hollows reaching for the sea, meets the eye.

Men are busy extracting the precious salt from the sea, activating wooden gear to irrigate the plains, toiling in the sweltering heat. As in a mirage, women, faces covered in traditional sunscreen, approach through artificial lakes and sand colored patches of land. Nearby in wooden huts, it is fascinating to observe these alternative ways of salt processing...

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