Same was fantastic, but the food was some of the worst I’ve eaten in my life. And I lived in a university college for four years, so I know what I'm talking about.
It’s funny, it’s much easier to be grateful for food when it’s really bad and you know it’s your only option.
Bad food included: lukewarm noodles, lukewarm rice, odd bit of lukewarm, stringy chicken, and at one work function, every single dish including boiled rice* and salads having red meat in it**. My favourite: at morning tea, boiled potatoes - *badly* boiled potatoes (I have no idea how they do this, ruin boiled potatoes, but they do) and muffins that *look* safe to eat, but actually taste like fish. WTF.
I think I’ve said this before – possibly two weeks after I got to Dili – but I am NEVER eating rice EVER AGAIN after I leave here. I didn’t really like it that much before I came here, so I was resigned to the fact that I’d have to eat it all year, but man. NEVER AGAIN.
So I went to the market on Sunday with my friend Elfrina (we had elected to stay behind while everyone else went to the beach again – much more relaxing), bought peanuts and mandarins, and was super happy because my food was (a) palatable at room temperature (b) NOT RICE.
It later turned out that Elfrina thought I was really weird because I didn’t want to go to the warung for lunch - ‘Timorese always need rice for their meals, mana! Three times a day!’ – and in her accommodating Timorese way (unlike selfish malae) had just decided to do what I did. Funny girl. I tried to explain that of course I would have gone with her if I had known, or she could have gone on her own, but she said ‘no, no, I do what you do, mana’. Hmm.
- They had arranged tiny chops in a pretty circular pattern on top of the big bowl of plain boiled rice. Too bad if you actually *were* vegetarian, or vegan. I’m not, and I was grossed out.
- * A lot of people who generally eat red meat, including overseas, often give it up on coming to Timor. I’ve become one of those.