A Travellerspoint blog

A study in houses

It’s difficult to find a place to live in Dili. It’s not just that there aren’t that many houses available for malae. It’s also the simple fact that you can think a house meets all your (very low) expectations, and then realise it doesn’t have something else so basic it never even occurred to you the house might not have it.

In a house in Dili, ideally, one has mozzie net and bars on the windows, a non-grotty bathroom, (personally I don’t mind if it is an Indonesian bak mandi, with dipper and tub, but western toilets are preferable), a sink in the kitchen (no really) and lockable doors.

Additionally, you hope that it has ceiling fans or better yet airconditioning, and that the cleaner won’t steal your things (or better yet that you are not expected to employ a cleaner).

However! It is also quite likely that you will look around a house and realise:

There is no light in the kitchen! (as in, no place for a lightbulb, not mere absence of lightbulb)

There are no windows in three of the four rooms!

There is no door on the bathroom!

And thus, what looked like a cute little possibility is now just another crossed out line on the ‘no way in hell’ list.

One more thing. The strangest thing is not things like lack of windows. No, no no. The strangest thing is when you say to the owner ‘Oh... I’m sorry, yeah, I really prefer to have windows’ and they look at you like you have suddenly grown three heads. ‘WINDOWS?’, you can see them thinking. ‘Why would you want *windows*? In a town where the electricity goes off all the time? So you could SEE things in the house, or something? Crazy malae.’

Posted by timortimes 19:06

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