A Travellerspoint blog

February 2009

Happy birthday Jack

Friday 27th February – 3 months, 11 days

Happy 19th birthday to my cousin Jack, toiling (or not) away at uni in Sydney. Have an excellent day my friend, and make the most of your year (and I *don’t* mean merely studying to get good marks either, although I bet that’s what you thought I meant – hehe).

Love Daria

Posted by timortimes 20:43 Comments (0)

Mister One Dollar?

Thursday 26th February – 3 months, 10 days

One dollar notes are at a high premium in Timor. This is not because I am giving away all of my spare change to cute kids on my street (although let me tell you, they try). No, this is because everyone expects you to have exact change.

In some cases, I figure it’s reasonable: for example, at the food markets, where you might buy a bag of lemons for 50c or a really big bag of eggplants for $2 or something. However if you want to catch a taxi, standard fare is between $1 - $3, and taxi drivers just do not carry change. So you need a constant supply of $1 notes for this.

However, I have also had the ‘do you have the exact amount? We don’t have change’ problem at the doctor’s and, of all places, at the damn post office. This, I find difficult. For example, I just tried to pay for $17 worth of postage with a $20 note, only to get rebuffed for change. I had to pay with a ten dollar note and *seven* one dollar notes – seven one dollar notes that I had been carefully saving so I could actually catch taxis around (prompted by the difficulties when I was sick and had very little small change because I hadn’t been out of the house buying things and getting change).

Next time I will stare the woman down, say ‘La iha’ (I don’t have it) and if she REALLY doesn’t have it, she can keep the three dollars.

Posted by timortimes 20:41 Comments (0)

Everybody loves a public holiday

Wednesday 25th February – 3 months, 9 days

Almost a month since Australia Day and two months since Christmas, jeez time flies.

  • **

Not being particularly religious, Lent isn’t usually on my radar, but today, apparently, is Lent and because of that good old Xanana declared a public holiday. Thanks dude, I appreciate it. I spent it wisely in doing some cleanup with Matt (simultaneous dinner parties here last night – oops) and in reading To Kill A Mockingbird

Posted by timortimes 20:39 Comments (0)

Sinister

I was disturbed to notice when I woke this morning that there were three mozzies trolling the mozzie net on my side of the bed – and none on Matt’s. Ironically although I have just been sleeping in the ‘open’, open to attack by mozzies that is, for the last three months, I felt a bit trapped in the mozzie net by the presence of the little bastards.

I later noted, when it was just Matt under the net and I’d been out of the room, that a solitary mozzie was hovering around Matt’s foot. Clearly when I am not around, Matt is an acceptable substitute food source, but when I am in the room, all the mozzies in the room are like, ‘Matt who?’.

Sigh.

I’ve tried almost everything you’re meant to, you know. I use Rid and Bushman spray on myself – but I get bitten anyway, it doesn’t seem to repel them at all. * I wear long trousers every single day to work (and it is HOT here), but you know what? When they see my trousers, mozzies think, ‘Oho! I know this trick! These pant things have HOLES at the end!’ and they fly right up them and bite me on the calf. Like, five times.** Just to make a point. Or they just land where the material touches my skin and sink that little proboscis thing right on through.

I haven’t bothered with soaking my clothes in Permethryn, which is a chemical solution (apparently smells awful when wet but not at all when dry) you soak clothes, mozzie nets etc in that is supposed to repel and kill mozzies. Since there was a distinct lack of mozzies falling down d-e-d (more like staring pointedly) off the mozzie net this morning, which was treated with Permethryn, I’m very glad I haven’t bothered trying with the clothes.

I could wear long sleeved shirts to work every day, but man, it’s hot here, and the long trousers don’t seem to work. People tsk tsk tsk at me for wearing black, because supposedly mozzies are attracted to black, but this goes into a whole nother argument about suitable clothing for the tropics, and let me just summarise here and say … I wasn’t gonna wear white for a single day, let alone an entire year.

The only thing that seems to mostly work so far is the physical barrier of the mozzie net. If anyone knows of a good essential oil mix I’d be willing to try that too. Other than that, I take my anti-malarials, try to swat and spray, and just generally cultivate an attitude of resignment: I’ve had dengue and I’m probably gonna have malaria. Oh well.

  • Plus I am not keen to develop a rash from having the chemicals on my skin every day. Seems pointless if the stupid stuff doesn’t repel them anyway.
  • * I wrote that as a hilarious exaggeration. The next day I found five mozzie bites near my right knee, after I had worn long trousers to work. Are the mozzies lurking on my blog???
  • ** I swear Matt and I are the only people I know who are taking their antimalarials. Everyone else seems to try them and then say they can’t stand the side effects and oh well, isn’t it a really small chance they’ll get sick, anyway? I can’t fault disliking the side effects – I rejected two different brands of antimalarials for that reason – but why wouldn’t you get the good ones instead?

Posted by timortimes 20:34 Comments (0)

Hurrah for creature comforts

Tuesday 24th February – 3 months, 8 days

You quickly get used to not having things you’d consider quite ordinary. Despite this, on their return or appearance, they are a wonder and marvel and able to lift a gloomy mood. This afternoon I got home from work to find:

• The fuse box for our airconditioner had been fixed – yay for the return of airconditioning!
• The bathroom light has been fixed – yay for not having to wash in the dark anymore!*
• Our mozzie net had finally been put up** - yay for being able to sleep without getting attacked by mozzies!

It made me EXTREMELY happy. In fact, it's days later as I write this, and all three things are still a source of wonder and delight. I *love* airconditioning! I *love* having a bathroom light! I *adore* our mozzie net!

* One of our neighbours / landlords disconnected the switch for some unfathomable reason back in December not long after we moved in. Luckily I was used to going without proper lighting in half the rooms of my old flat in Canberra, because we couldn’t get the light fittings off and had to get the landlord in to change them. Insane, yes, I know.

  • * This is not due to slowness or laziness on our behalf but merely the fact that we didn’t have a way to hang the damn thing, but one of our landlordy people (Lee) helped Matt put up a hook for it.

Posted by timortimes 20:32 Comments (0)

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