The Whale Beach
This is my last day in Lamalera. I need at least 2 weeks to see how their whale hunting gonna be. However I don't have time such long. It takes 6days for round trip between Japan and the village. The bus for the Leworeba city leaves around 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I was told.
Just before 7 am, I stand by on the Whale Beach. The line of logs is stretched from another hut to last two days.
Then on the 4th day, I get offer. "You wanna come with us today?" It's pleasure to me. But ... I gotta stay 7 hours on the shadeless boat in direct sunlight. Meanwhile if the whale appears, I'll capture the decisive moment...I refuse the offer.
I leave the beach and walk up to the point before the departure. Want to photographed them from another angle. Below my eyes, the Whale Beach is covered by smoke. I know who make a fire and why now. Two boats are pushed at the same time today as if two teams compete on boat pushing race. They touch the water almost same time. In the golden light the two boats are sailing out. One of them head on the south as same as last 2 days. The other is heading on the east to change the fishing ground. I should pray "They'll have a big one" But today, I pray "Please they won't get a whale" because I didn't go with them. Before long the boats are melting into a blue. I estimate the small boat must fishing near the shore. Although I cannot see even a small dot in my sight now. I made a right decision to stay on the land. I shiver.
I hear the chatting voice behind and look back. Two high school girls are passing by. Going to the school? maybe, but they bring with a big wrapped baggage together. The village looks something busy this morning. Ojek (moto taxi) runs about. Women are walking for one direction with shopping bag or bucket. Moreover, they already have something in the bag.
Mom is leaving with the bucket that dried whale meat is filled with. "Mom, Where are you going?" "Barter" Short answer. Yeah, maybe a market is open today. I follow the madams on the road. Walk up and down for 1.5 km. Finally I get to the market ground.
Nevertheless sellers are setting fruits or vegetables on the sheets, no shopper is going to buy them. Most of people stay in the shade with buckets and chat. What a sleepy market it is!
Let's see I'll check the products. Banana, papaya, mango, tomato, carrot and coconut powder ... It's various.
"Hello, Oh you have bloody red around the mouth" I said to a seller. Yeah, It calls areca nuts, a kind of chewing tobacco. I knew it in Bangladesh. Generally they chew the fruit with small amount of calcium. It makes red saliva to spit off. "I'm embarrassed. Don't photograph me"
Suddenly a whistle is blown. And the people come out from the shade and come up toward us holding buckets and bags. Without any moments, they take out the dried whale meat from the bag and get start negotiation with the seller. Once they conclude the negotiation, barter the whale meat and fruit. The whale meat turns into the vegetable quickly.
Now I get the system of the market. In short, residents in mountains and who on the coast barter the products each other. The offensive mariners battle into the defensive mountaineers. The deal is first come first serve. Meanwhile, the game will be tough for the late starters. Because even the mountaineers don't wanna get a similar dried meat too much.
The mariner's bucket who successfully bartered is filled with various fruits and vegetables in good valance.
Add to ojeks, a big truck loads the people on the deck and shuttles between the ground and Lamalera village. Of course, most of the people put a heavy bag on the head and go back to the village 1.5km away by walk.
Oops. Time to go. It's really interesting. Feel like I saw a tip of the economy of the village. I'm happy not to go to the hunting today. Of course, just in case the fishermen will come back without whale.
When I come back to the guest house, I was told the bus departures around the 4 o'clock. It used be 2. Anyway I get a chance to scratch another "Whale Lottery".
On the beach, I see a smaller boat is pushed back by the kids. In front of the boat hut, the kids get start checking their favorite fishes. That's why many kids helped the push back. Slightly later, the whale boat comes back ... without whale.