17.03.2012 - 19.03.2012
Election Day in Dili and it will be interesting to see what happens given the hype leading up to them. I decide to head out of town to try and see something different and was advised to go to a town further down the road called Ligashai. Due to elections the micros weren’t running but being desperate to see something different I decided to taxi it. One taxi and discussion about costs, second taxi and discussion with costs and I felt comfortable with the third driver who coincidently turns out to be the cousin of one of the teacher’s from the College were I am teaching. It was a real bonus as well as he spoke Portuguese.
It was a very slow journey which was supposed to take 30 minutes and $20 one way but it ended up taking an hour due to the abyssmal conditions of the road and trees that had fallen across the roads. Not long into the drive Dinnis said he would take me back once we arrived to our destination for another $20. I could have beaten him down in price knowing he had to go back anyway but he seemed so nice I thought the extra few dollars would help out. It was an interesting journey there passing different voting places. I couldn’t help but reflect looking at footage on the violence with the first elections in East Timor. May marks 10 years of Independence and it looks like the Army and the UN will be pulling out at the end of the year. I don’t know what the locals are going to do in terms of petrol sales as just about every fourth vehicle is a UN vehicle. Petrol here is $1.20USD a litre so quite expensive when you consider some people work for as low as $7 per day.
I ended up having coffee in Ligashai and Dinnis drove me around a bit and then we headed back. When I got back to the lodge I met a guy in the Army who was looking at discharging under the Compulsory Retirement Age 47; which is what I was discharged under. He had not been able to find much info on this so I was able to fill him in quite comprehensively as to what I went through. He has been posted here for the last couple of months so it was also good to get a few ideas on where I should go.
Well after a quiet night Friday night things really were quite different Saturday night and I ended up back at the bar sharing a few wines with an interesting group from different walks of life including a fellow Rotarian I had met the first rotary meeting that I went to.
Up nice and early this morning (Sunday) as I wanted to go for a long walk to the Jesus statue known as Cristo Rei. I again negotiated the price for $3 but half way there the driver said he wanted $5 to go there and pulled over. I ended up giving him $2 and got out of the taxi and walked the rest of the way. It took about an hour and a terrific morning for walking passing interesting food markets which were a lot better quality than those for sale on the local markets near Timor Lodge. The air was clearer today and little cloud.
I stopped at a few places during the walk to try and get further information on tripping around and one stop was the Dili Hotel –
(+670) 3313958 email@example.com. Gino Favaro provided me with a complimentary coffee and a contact for the ferries that go to Araturo Island (Glen 7935051). Apparently Glen charges $30 one way and here is a quicker boat that goes for $45 so it really depends on how flexibile you are. There is also the larger ferry that departs at 0800h on the Saturday is $5 with the ticket sales commencing 0500hr to 1000hr and then again from 1400hr to 1700hr on the Friday. Barry’s Accommodation has been suggested for the island on 7236084 and he gets booked out so advisable to book.
The remainder of the walk was good and I stopped at the Kaz Bar for a much earned cold beer and then onto Hotel California for lunch. A necessary stop was required at the supermarket to stock up on basics and then finally back to the lodge for a swim (first two laps I have swum this season - my sister would be proud of me) and a lazy afternoon catching up with correspondence and studying Tetum.
It looks like it will take another week for the final count for the elections but at this stage they are down to four main candidates.