Like many eerie, deserted, forgotten places, it gave me a feeling that is difficult to describe (I know, I know, I keep saying that, but it *is*). As I walked up the hill the first time, a thought popped into my head - that this Postu I was going to might be a place of bad spirits. Later, one of the English teachers mentioned it before I could ask. Aha, I thought.
If I think logically, of course I can see how this came about. The Portuguese would’ve used Timorese people as their servants in those pretty, pretty houses. The Indonesians definitely used it as a place to detain and torture people: lovely little cells they have up there. So, most Timorese in the area have a bad association with the place.
At the same time, the bad spirits are very real to them, as all cultures’ ghosts are (including white Australians’). Elfrina was very concerned about me going up there : ‘It’s a bad place, mana, bad spirits, you should not go on your own’. She convinced herself that I would be ok, though, firstly because I was malae (apparently the spirits would not hurt me because of this), and secondly because I told her that I had asked my grandmother (who passed on many years ago) to protect me. ‘Oh, ok mana. I don’t want to go anyway, I’m Timorese, we don’t like to walk! I will sleep.’ Ok, mana.