Sunday 30th August – 9 months, 14 days
Well. The day of of the tenth anniversary of the referendum for independence, and all the aftermath. I didn’t manage to find out about any of the official events in time, but I wouldn’t have gone anyway – besides the usual difficulty of transport, I’ve been to plenty of long speeches here. It was enough to be in Dili, East Timor on this day.
So I took myself on my own tourist walk around Dili, to contribute some more tourist dollars to the overpriced Independence trade expo and take photos around town. It felt a bit like when I was walking around Same exploring. In other countries, you would be able to get a tour guide who could recite bits of information about this statue or that building and sure it would be interesting; but here I kind of like that you can wander about at your own pace, see things and put your own stories together if you know a bit about the history of Timor and Dili. You can take more time here, skip a street there, stop for lunch when you want. And I love that sense that you’re not seeing something cleaned up and sanitised. Portugal and Indonesia have not been erased.
I had some good finds. I found another crazy Mary shrine, another crazy Portuguese statue, twin buildings which illustrate an important part of today’s anniversary and the aftermath and cleanup – one beautifully (ok, Dili beautiful, which means lots of bright blue paint) redone and one burnt out. I found an actual bus stop! (Microlet stop.) I also got some pictures of things I’ve been meaning to get for a while, e.g. four dudes hanging out the door of a jam-packed microlet. That should be made into a saying – ‘Fuller than a Timor taxi’ or ‘More stuffed than a microlet’, something suitably lame like that :D.
Lots of people spoke to me – everyone is so friendly and I know this, yet am still surprised. Bondia Missis! How are you? Sister where are you going? Good morning! Mister, mister, foti! Mister, Mister, LARI LARI!
You get good pictures just wandering about the street, people do ask to have their photo taken. My favourite today were the group of little darlings throwing rocks at an enormous swarm of hornets. They paused to swarm around me and demand photos, so I took a few, and then they resumed chucking rocks at the hornets... and this time they were successful... ‘Mister, Mister, LARI LARI!’, that was ten little boys sprinting down the street and urging me to RUN RUN! to get away from the hornets. I guess they liked me.