In a white shirt, Bermuda shorts and flip-flops, Jérôme Pitorin sets the tone, having just arrived in Bali: the discovery of this southern Indonesian island will be relaxed and without fuss. Which does not mean without depth, both physical and spiritual. And it succeeded, thanks in particular to a few biases.

First of all, the journalist, who presents the magazine “Echappées belles” alternating with Ismaël Khelifa and Sophie Jovillard, is not alone. Having just got off his shuttle boat, he meets Linda Bortoletto, who will accompany him throughout the show, giving the viewer time to get to know this forty-year-old, who attended the navy’s military school, before becoming a gendarmerie captain and giving up everything, career and spouse, at 28, to travel.

Since 2011, she has crossed, among other places, Alaska by bike, Kamchatka (Russia) and Israel on foot; before Bali, as she recounts in her book Le Miroir de Bali (Payot, 2023). The extroverted adventurer therefore has all the makings of the ideal guide.

Another choice, the landscapes are enhanced by an assumed aesthetic, whether they are rocky promontories, wide shots of the beaches, rice fields, or even the panorama offered by the summit of Mount Agung, the spiritual center of the island. . Enjoying the beauties of this destination is what motivates the majority of the 700,000 foreigners living in Bali. Starting with Blaise Jaeger, owner of the Adiwana Warnakali luxury hotel and diver. The underwater sequence shot among the manta rays in the coral triangle is exceptional – and too short, even if the place is touristy and therefore known.

Meetings with French people

Jérôme Pitorin favors meetings with French people, such as Julien Couturier, surf instructor, Chloé and Théo, website creators, Kelly and Sam, founders of the NGO Sungai Watch, which cleans up rivers. Everyone says: “Bali is a paradise. »

What do the Balinese think? With their feet in the water, two farmers of a variety of eucheuma (a seaweed prized in cosmetics) discuss the economic choices of the government, which has imposed this crop since 1980. In Denpasar, the economic capital of the Indonesian province, follow the young Bilal, who feeds his family by sorting, allows us to address the island’s environmental policy.

If the beliefs are highlighted here – meditation session, meeting with a healer, ceremony, traditional dance, martial arts lessons – we particularly appreciated the conversation with three young girls in a café, proof of an unprecedented liberation for Balinese women, thanks to the schooling of girls since the 1950s and economic growth. “Being a woman no longer means always being at home or in the kitchen,” explains one of them, sipping a drink.

A little later, the discussion with a grandmother, a mother and her two daughters confirms this development. Unlike their ancestors, the two young women pursue higher education, which will allow them to choose a career, to be financially independent and, above all, to no longer belong to their in-laws. They embody the first generation of independent Balinese women, under the proud gaze of their mother. But abortion remains prohibited.