A Travellerspoint blog

June 2009

Living in Dili

Wednesday 17th June – 7 months, 1 day

For a Timorese person, my place is quite luxurious.

For a malae in Timor, my place is downmarket, but liveable.

My fridge and toaster oven are next to my bathroom, in case I get peckish while I’m

Washing myself with aid of a dipper from a giant tub of

Cold water; no hot water in the place and indeed

There is no sink, kitchen or bathroom, in my house

I do have a sink in the kitchen but

I still wash up in a bucket because

I don’t trust the sink (it’s grotty, and sometimes the water is brown).

The kitchen has

air vents in the walls (no window),

a light that works sometimes, and

it is separate to the house,

it cannot be locked.

There is exactly one powerpoint in the house

So everything is plugged in using a cunning assortment of Indo and Aussie adaptors.

A six-outlet powerboard dangles from the wall above my bed -

OH&S hazard, anyone?

I flush the toilet (thank God it’s not a squat toilet) by throwing dippers of water into it.

Oh and

I handwash my underwear every week (water systems can’t handle washing machines) and dry it in my room

I don’t want any more to get stolen.

Posted by timortimes 17:19 Comments (0)

Uma Kiik

Tuesday 16th June – 7 months

Well it is looking less like Le Chateau du Hovelle and more like an Uma Kiik (Little House). To all those who complained I had too much stuff – pah! It all fits now it’s unpacked! So there.

Because it is mainly one big room, with antechamber, bak mandi and verandah, with kitchen in separate huts off to the side, I feel very much as if I’m on holiday whenever I’m around the house. It’s like upmarket camping. I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling – a friend of mine recently described living in the DFAT compound as ‘like living in a caravan park’ (that would still be an upmarket caravan park compared to the Chateau, though). I suppose it’s something to do with the impermanence of your surroundings, too – even if you know you’ll be here for a couple of years, there’s something about not having your own furniture and all one’s books, etc, that makes it feel rather temporary.

Posted by timortimes 17:18 Comments (0)

Uma Kiik benefits

Monday 15th June – 6 months, 30 days

My new place is QUIET. ('Uma Kiik' = lit. 'House Little'.) This was something I really, really hoped for. A bonus is that it is COOL. As in temperature. Dili slopes gradually up towards the mountains – so gradually that I hadn’t realised my new place is quite a way up that slope. This means there is a cool breeze a lot of the time and especially at night, it is fantastic.

Now that I can sleep, I am generally less crazy and annoyed. Amazing stuff, sleep.

Posted by timortimes 17:17 Comments (0)

I can’t believe I moved house in that amount of time

Friday 12th June – Sunday 14th June – 6 months, 27-29 days

This entire weekend was taken up by the process of moving house (including one whole day spent moving my airconditioner). This was exhausting enough but with the heightened hostility from the old neighlords, it became a rather a traumatic experience that I would really rather forget.

So! How did moving go? Well, four very awesome people helped me move all my stuff, other very awesome people helped me with things like taking my bed apart and putting up my mozzie net. We were assisted by nimble, winged unicorns who made the whole experience a blast, what with the flying and the stardust and so on. Thankyou to my friends and thankyou also to the unicorns!

Posted by timortimes 17:14 Comments (0)

How Australians assert their identity in East Timor

Ages ago, my friend Julia and I were chatting while we were walking back to work from lunch, and I asked her permission to put the following exchange up on my blog.

We were talking about the animosity between Portuguese and Australians, and it led to this exchange (paraphrased):

Julia: It’s weird, you know. It’s so strong, even if you don't feel this way back home, you really identify as an Australian here.

Kate: Which is weird, because it’s not like we have that much to unify us. I mean... apart from things like good education, good health, clean water...

Julia: *and the desire to crush Portugal*

Julia and Kate: laugh uproariously

Posted by timortimes 19:41 Comments (0)

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