A Travellerspoint blog

May 2009

Happy Mothers’ Day, Mum :)

A belated Happy Mothers’ Day to my wonderful mum :) who always knows what I need before I know I need it; who with Dad uncomplainingly posts me over all sorts of things; who is a beautiful darling; a person who is usually quiet but forceful when she needs to be; a tower of strength; someone who works very hard and is always there for others, without asking for reward. The lady in red – on the scooter! Love you Mum :)

Posted by timortimes 22:17 Comments (0)

Socialising with expats

Monday 4th May – Friday 8th May - 5 months, 18 – 22 days

Part of what I am doing with this blog is trying to illustrate little bits and pieces of my life in Timor, and also about Dili and Timor. I haven’t travelled much elsewhere, but I fully believe that what people tell me is true: that Timor and particularly Dili are just like nowhere else on earth. Not even other developing countries. I suppose everywhere is, but man. Dili’s an odd little universe which just doesn’t follow rules of other places.

One good example of this is the ‘socialising with expats’ factor. Basically, all foreigners are here to work. ALL malae. I have met exactly two tourists in my almost-6 months here, and one of them was Lena, who came to visit me!
I see people at inter-ministry meetings for work, and then I see them at yoga on a Friday, and then I see them at a play or a party, and then I see them at lunch at One More Bar on a Sunday afternoon, and then I see them at lunch at Brasil Cafe on Monday afternoon, and then I see them at a work meeting again... I mean, Monday last week, a girl with red hair sat down next to me at Starco Cafe at lunch; the next day I saw her again at lunch only in Tropical Bakery, which is across town; that afternoon, I saw her in a National Priorities meeting; and then when I saw her at the Vagina Monologues at Motion Bar that same evening, she *waved* at me, even though we’d never been introduced! The final bit of weirdness (yes it gets weirder) was that I sat down to watch the play next to my workmate Teresa, in a room of 100 people... turned to my other side and what do you know, The Girl With Red Hair was sitting next to me!

I thought enough was enough. I introduced myself. (Lovely girl, name withheld. Yes there are enough redheads in Timor to be able to keep her anonymous.)

The especially disconcerting thing about all this is seeing the disconnect between some people’s contained ‘professional’ personality and their, shall we say, less inhibited ‘party’ personality. There’s nothing wrong with it, hell, I have been accused more than once in Canberra of being very serious and quiet at work (and my response is always ‘I don’t think work could handle my other personas, be thankful I’m sparing you’). But there is potential for problems, I guess. Either that or merely to go insane because you are seeing the same people day in, day out...

Posted by timortimes 22:06 Comments (0)

Halfway point

Sunday 3rd May – 5 months, 17 days

If nothing happens to change my assignment, that means I am at the halfway point today.

Damn! Better start that thesis and make a few trips out to the districts, eh?

Posted by timortimes 22:55 Comments (0)

Long weekend

Saturday 2nd May – 5 months, 16 days

Well continuing my lack of deep analysis in blog entries this week, this entry is really just going to be about what-I-did-on-the-weekend.

On Friday my lovely new housemate moved in and we checked out a couple of the May Day workers’ / students’ rallies. I thought people would be more passionate here, but the vibe was very similar to CPSU rallies I’ve been to back home. A few very passionate speakers, and hundreds of politely interested people lolling about on the grass. The Dili rallies win for location though; I think we’d get more CPSUers to rallies if we could hold them on a foreshore or beach somewhere.

On Saturday I made pikelets with my friend Emily. We could call this an important cultural exchange as she’s American and didn’t know what pikelets were, but we won’t push it, hey? We also went down to the beach and read and watched the sun set. Oh the things I can’t do merely because I don’t have a car > : (

On Sunday, um, I did not do my thesis, that’s what I did. I read, I watched dvds, I swept the house, and I carefully avoided doing any actual work on my thesis. I even studied Tetum. No thesis, though. This is going to have to change drastically soon if I want any actual material done before I get back to Canberra. Oops.

Posted by timortimes 22:54 Comments (0)

Stupid US dollar

Friday 1st May – 5 months, 15 days

I don’t feel the effects of the global financial crisis much in my every day life here, apart from one thing.

Currency speculation.

It’s a guessing game. Will the Aussie dollar rise another couple of cents? Will it fall by five? This makes a big difference in the amount of money I can withdraw from the bank, people!

If only East Timor were on the frickin’ rupiah. Yep I know it’s not a popular opinion, in fact it’s a *taboo* opinion, but I’m putting it out there. The US dollar was a crap idea for Timor.

Posted by timortimes 22:52 Comments (0)

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