Stuff there is a lot of in Dili
Or, there will be. Rainy season has started. So far this means showers a couple of times a day, sometimes heavy, sometimes not. There are still big sunshiny periods where you can get heaps done. Anyone reading from the Far North Coast should be jealous now.
There are a lot of burnt out buildings. Some you can tell were gorgeous Portuguese colonial buildings which would look fantastic with a lot (a LOT) of loving care. There are also a lot of vacant lots just covered in the aforementioned rubble – often in between intact, lived in, cared for houses. Matt keeps commenting that he’d like to know when they were burnt out. I suspect a lot were done in 1999 when the Indonesians did their final tour of the town.
A large percentage (around 30%?) of Dili’s population is under 15. There are cute kids everywhere, in groups, shyly smiling and waving and trying out their English on us. Of course, there are little ruffians around too – no group of kids is complete without them, I guess. I am particularly in love with the two little girls in our guesthouse complex – I suppose higher exposure intensifies the effect of The Cute.
I am a well-fed giant among women in Timor. Of course, other expats dwarf me. But still. At the supermarket, in the rumah makan, at work... I am experiencing the novel sensation of living life without (a) a crick in my neck (b) being forced to talk into people’s armpits.
Goats, pigs and dogs
Goats are cute, in their own goaty way. Pigs are scary and live well off the rubbish on the street (I presume the goats do too, but they are not nearly as fat). Dogs are everywhere and have a cowed fear in their eyes – it’s very sad. People don’t treat them well and they skitter away whenever you approach them. Every time I see a puppy I still squeal ‘Puppy!’ and want to cuddle it and love it, but I know I can’t.
Oh there are cats too. Not as many though. They have one distinct advantage over cats in Australia, and that’s that they seem to be as cowed as the dogs - and therefore, so far, none have tried to rub their allergen-laden little faces up against me, as all cats seem to at home. I’m not advocating cruelty to any animal – merely enjoying the lack of pushy cats in my face.
Stuff there is not a lot of in Dili
I always pitied Canberra because it always seems to have dead, brown grass, unlike other areas of Australia with higher rainfall. Now I realise how well-off Canberra is in terms of grass: at least they have grass to go green when it rains 3 times a year.
On the other hand, Dili streets are strangely reminiscent of Broadwater, in particular the Mill (sugar mill) grounds. Most have dusty bitumen, some even have kerbs, some are dirt. So it’s not postcard-worthy, but it’s something I’m well used to.
Female expats my age
Where the hell are they all? Trapped in Bangkok airport? Everyone here is just lovely but I do miss my girls in Australia. You all know who you are.
Cheap, liveable housing