A Travellerspoint blog

November 2008

I never thought I would be so glad to listen to Radio Nation

Day 2

sunny 28 °C

But, I am. First there was the excitement of discovering that my HP iPAQ (spiffy device that HP gave me last year in return for my labour, which I am using as a phone now after a year of not knowing what to do with it - yay hoarding) receives FM radio, after I managed to coax the bloody thing to start up while also holding a Timor Telecom SIM card inside it (thank God for manuals).

Then there was slight disappointment as I realised that the radio volume doesn’t go above a whisper – unless you press a button on the earphones... like, keep pressing it. Continuously. Argh.

Excitement returned when I plugged in my teeny clock radio and I got some dude talking about the Australia movie blaring out loud and clear. I must thank Matt for suggesting I bring it. I had previously viewed my poor little years-old, crackly clock radio with disdain, thinking I’d replace it soon. Now I could cuddle the dear little thing. So light! So small! But so good with the Radio National-ness!

I miss you Triple J, you’re the one. But Radio National is gonna hafta be The One For Now.

  • **

We also had a tour of the town today. THE LITA SUPERMARKET HAD YOGHURT. The Kmanek (slightly smaller) had spice for cheap, about the only thing that is cheap other than bottled water. A large box of Rice Bubbles costs $11.50 USD; the 900g tub of yoghurt (Vaalia) cost $7.60 USD!!! But as the capitals might indicate... I was very excited and I don’t care. Mmmmmyoghurt.

Also of note on the tour was the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room, where I was informed that if I would be so kind as to leave a book of my own, I would be allowed to take a book for my own reading pleasure. Sounds like a great system, fantastic for poorbie volunteers to share entertainment, etc. Except, um, I don’t wanna give away any of my books. I like my books. I love my books. It was so hard to choose which books to bring, that now, looking at my selection, I think I may have left behind some really essential books and am concerned that I don’t have nearly enough. (Even though I know I left them because I was concerned that I had about 568 kilos of excess baggage.) MINE. Kristy and all other bibliophiles will understand.

  • **

We got moved out of the shoebox this morning, into a lovely room with a double bed, quieter aircon, fridge, tv, table, chairs, and a bigger bathroom with a proper shower. V. unexpected. Sadly, the toilet doesn't work quite as well. I tried out my Indo on the poor unsuspecting woman-in-charge and got some communication going, although sadly I keep forgetting crucial words.

  • **

Oh, and, it’s fucking humid. Buuut it makes a change from being freezing cold all the time. Get to have a whole new wardrobe, for starters. And it’s not like we didn’t expect it. :)

Posted by timortimes 21:36 Archived in East Timor Tagged food Comments (0)

The text message said it all

Day 1

sunny 32 °C

‘At hotel. Going to
have tea on beach. My
workplace is a palace
overlooking the beach
and AVI raised our
salary. And the toilet
works!! Xo’

A few people said to me over the last few months, ‘Don’t have any expectations and you’ll have a great time’. It was still very hard to imagine what it would all be like today, while I was hanging around airports (I made two new personal records: it took an hour to check in at Brisbane Domestic; 30 seconds to go through customs at Darwin). So far there are trees, dirt, kids in very clean school uniforms, quaint hotels, many landmarks and buildings and streets I can’t remember the name of (even though I am pretty sure we just circled the same four blocks tonight), a loooong beach, thunder and a smoky smell in the air. At the moment, Australia doesn’t seem very far away. Everyone’s texts make me feel loved :)

Our room in the ‘nicer’ hotel was kind of given away, by that hotel, so we’re in a little shoeboxy thing in another hotel, but this one has airconditioning too and there’s a shared kitchen. Oh, and the toilet works (touch wood).
The beach restaurant was a gorgeous little palmfrondy shack that opened out, oh, about four metres from the water’s edge. The pad thai was recommended, so prawn pad thai it was. OMG OHS and king waves here we come. But, gorgeous in calm weather.

It’s thundering now but we had a nice apocalyptic sendoff thunderstorm in Bris Vegas yesterday arvo that kicks this one’s arse. Heh.

Those who know about Matt’s and my ability to take on far too many activities will laugh when they hear that we have already been begged to take up the following activities:
• Trivia night – every second Tuesday
• Choir – in practice for Christmas carolling! – every Wednesday
• Salsa – every Thursday
• Walking
• Soccer (this was a women’s one and I tried to explain how much they really didn’t want me)

We’ll see what ends up happening. I am particularly keen on choir. Matt mentioned our swing dancing tonight too: another wait-and-see. We need Deb’s recommendation! Where is this other guy who is keen on lindy hop?
Oh and due to the pisspoor exchange rate (Timor-Leste is on US currency) AVI have revised their volunteer payments. I would like to take this opportunity to thank AVI for giving us the best news one can possibly hear on arrival in a new country on low low wages. Other than the toilet’s superior functionality, of course.

Posted by timortimes 21:27 Archived in East Timor Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Family resemblance

Less than a week to go now

overcast 27 °C

Less than a week to go until we leave! I've been with Mum and Dad for the last week in Lismore on the lovely Far North Coast, and now we're at Matt's parents house in Laidley (west-ish of Bris Vegas). I keep wanting to buy and eat food I think I won't get to eat for a year! Nom nom nom.

It's strange writing a blog for people to actually read about things I do, have done or plan to do, but then I suppose a lot of things are strange and I don't notice.

A note on the blog subtitle... It's a quote I found in an old notebook of my Grammy's, on Monday this week. Also on Monday this week Matt and I went for a drive down to Bundjalung National Park in Evans Head. Mum's family grew up in Evans and my grandmother did rather a lot of work in the community, enough that they have just added a very spiffy poster of her achievements to a series of 'local personalities' in the little museum at Evans. One of the cool things she did was work to get Bundjalung gazetted as a National Park in the 60s, as it was /is a site of significance for the Bundjalung people. I haven't been for a while so I wanted to go down and do the walk with Matt.

Funnily enough, the quote began an entry for 14th January 1976 - 6 years, to the day, before I was born. It so sounded like something I would write or think (let's be honest, have thought, have written) about many things I do, it really jumped out at me. It seemed appropriate for Timor, too. Anyway, the notebook has her thoughts about working with the Box Ridge Aboriginal reserve - she was looking for funding and contacts for activities, employment, environmental regeneration, all sorts of stuff for this particular community. It was fantastic to read (well the bits I could decipher - apparently incomprehensible handwriting runs through both sides of the family too).

Anyway, it's a thought I expect to have quite a lot over the next year, so I thought I'd put it on here. Other thoughts I have at the moment centre around the dismal Australian dollar (sad when 68 US C looks good), what I might say to Matt's mum's year 4 class about volunteering for a year (how to explain gender inequality nicely?) and oh how I will miss having internet and triple J radio at home, about 1000 times more than chocolate (but then, I'm not a sweet tooth).

OMG! Less than a week to go! I still don't believe that this is happening, but now I'm not packing, I sure am a hell of a lot less stressed. ahhhhh.

Posted by timortimes 15:28 Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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