Aimless wandering in Dili

Dili Police Memorial

Dili Police Memorial

Dinner last night was at an indiginous burger restaurant called Brothers Hamburgers. It was pretty decent, actually, and not too expensive. $3.50 is still cheaper than home for a regular meal and the chicken and beef burgers were decent. I went with Catherine (again, apologies for being crap with names etc), the American girl I’m sharing a dorm with.

She’s actually diving with Andrew this morning after my recommending him and we may both see if we can convince him to take a morning off work later in the week and go to one of the other sites for a dive or two. It would be nice to see somewhere a little different to Dili Rock, though I’m still looking forward to helping with the instruction tomorrow.

Back at the hostel I gave her the gift of movies. She’s been carrying her laptop around, but it’s a compact one with no DVD drive. The hostel loaned her an old one… but the drive only reads CDs so it’s no use with the (scratched) collection of discs we have lying around anyway. I’ve got a handful of films on my laptop for bus journeys so I copied them over for her. As a result I ended up spending the late evening finally watching Goal 3 while Catherine went for In Bruges. Judging from the occassional snorts of laughter from her side of the dorm I may be watching that one next.

Timorese children

Timorese children

I had a slight lie in (until just after 9) and opted to leave the motorcycling for another day. A German guy has just checked in and given me some ideas that perhaps heading inland would be more enjoyable than trailing along the coast. After all, I’m already on the coast – why not go and see mountains instead?

Besides, I had to sort out a printout of my Air Asia booking from Bali to Bangkok to appease the Powers That Be in the Indonesian Embassy. Disregarding the map that the hostel provided (it just doesn’t seem to work), I walked in more or less concentric circles and followed the directions a nice chap gave me on a blog comment yesterday. I found the Global Talk place and 25c later had my flight itinerary in my hand.

Of course, you can guarantee they’ll never check it and I could easily fake one in ten minutes with Paint, but hey ho.

I stopped into another bakery for brunch (a chicken sausage roll of some kind for only 80c and a somewhat more expensive orange juice). It was a lovely place, with table service and an incredibly polite Chinese owner who even insisted on opening the door for me when I left. I’ll have to find it again before I leave.

Dili Stadium

Dili Stadium

By now I realised exactly why I hated Crocs so much. After your feet start to get sweaty (which is very soon) you end up walking on a slippery layer of mud inside the shoe. Get a stone inside and it’s a pain to get the thing to go back out. And walking downhill in them once you’ve got a sweat on is dangerous. I really need to look for another decent pair of sandals and burn these plastic monstrosities.

Halfway back to the hostel I was waving away a guy selling phone credit vouchers when he asked my name and we ended up chatting for about 20 minutes. Then his friend joined us. We just stood there and had a brief conversation about nothing inparticular so they could practise their English. Glad to help!

Walking back along the “promenade” for want of a better name, I waved to kids yelling “Hey mister!” and trying not to drown as they waved back. Generally, people here have a smile for anyone who cares to give them a nod and smile first. As with other countries I’ve been in with a recently troubled past, it’s heartening to see how people still survive, adapt and deal with their situation. With people like these, if East Timor can keep the peace then it certainly has a future as a touristy place.

View to the north

View to the north

The afternoon was a chill-out watching some episodes of Reaper and reading. I then went out to dinner with Catherine and two other girls who’d just arrived at the hostel. Mariella is Spanish and motorcycling her way home from Oz, while the other girl (apologies – the bad memory for names strikes again!) is originally from Singapore but settled in Oz. We chose a Thai restaurant out to the east called Little Pattaya and I can heartily recommend it.

The menu seems very slightly expensive for some dishes, but the size of the portions justifies the price tag. I settled on a falafel wrap (they also do other food!), Catherine went for fish & chips (I had most of her chips), while our Australian friend left half of her pad thai for Mariella to eat. We were also joined by Tim, another Aussie working for the Red Cross.

Vrrrmmm

Vrrrmmm

It was almost 10pm by the time we left. The roads were very dark and there wasn’t a taxi to be seen. Fortunately after only a few minutes, a UN 4×4 pulled over and the Uraguyan driver very kindly drove us all the way to the hostel.

Mariella filled us in on some more information we’d require for our visa applications tomorrow (making it even more of a ball-ache) and I’ll detail the entire process once I have all the paperwork in.

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