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The Postu

That title really doesn’t convey the magic of my three morning walks up the little hill to the place known as the Postu. I’ll try to describe it, though, and as always, you’ll have to wait for pictures when I return to Australia and a better internet connection.

Angie, having recommended a trip to Same if I could get there, also suggested that I go for a walk to the Postu, ‘if I could convince my colleagues’. Interested, I asked the (totally lovely and friendly) English teachers Kris and Rose if they knew what it was and where it was. Oh yes, lovely walk, 15 minutes up the hill, it was a Portuguese colonial post originally and then the Indonesians took it over and now the Timorese government’s done it up a little.

Cool! I want to see that!

So I walked through the town and up a road which wound gently around the side of a small mountain. I looked out back out over the town and towards the mountains in the south. I got to the top, and looked over the mountains to the north. I thought about how Mum and Dad and, I bet, especially my Grammy, would enjoy this walk. A cockatoo, of all things, flew over my head and posed for me in a tree, before taking off ahead of me (my guide and protector, perhaps?). And then I came to the Postu.

It’s a site-specific artwork, I think. Difficult to describe with words or pictures. But, try to imagine, arranged around an overgrown town square complete with two defunct fountains and old-fashioned, decorative, broken light poles:

- cute 1950s* bungalows – two red and white, one pink and white, one blue and white.
- an abandoned school, with basketball court out the front
- old, old, moss-covered simple huts, roofs gone, obviously used as sentry boxes and detainee cells
- Portuguese signs – ‘Port Fuzileiros’ – Indonesian signs – five rules for good government (Indonesians love putting lists of rules up in public places) – Timorese signs (for recently opened government offices, in the three buildings that have been done up)
- What looks like a former prison observation cell now being used as a radio station
- Two empty swimming pools amongst green, green grass: a 50m pool, 3m at the deep end, with a vaguely familiar logo painted on the bottom that I still haven’t placed, of two crossed rifles over an anchor (I thought it was a UN thing – maybe it was something from the Portuguese in their heyday); and a little kiddy pool beside it.

It was terribly sad and sobering. Thinking about how other people had come in and taken this little mountaintop (along with everything else) from the Timorese, to monitor and govern by force and hurt them; but, shamefully (on my part) also because it must have been a really fun place in its heyday, and it was sad to see such a pretty little village-square setup in quiet decay. I mean, the Portuguese chose well. There is a kind of fortress wall on one side, so they did mean business, but – seriously – pools? They must have had some awesome cocktail parties.

And so I have to admit, while I feel extremely bad about admitting this, I am no longer enamoured by the thought of buying my own house in Australia: I want to live in a cute red and white 1950s Portuguese bungalow on the top of a mountain with its own swimming pool. I’d add a waterslide, though.

  • I know this because one had ‘1953’ on the side in matching tile.

Posted by timortimes 18:37

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