Saturday 21 June 2014
BMQ : Surprisingly high, due mainly to rain.
– “Hey Mister, Dollar Mister”
– “Look, if I had a dollar, I wouldn’t be walking through the rain, I’d be in a taxi.”
Unfortunately, such a dismissive attitude doesn’t really work well if the child you’re speaking to doesn’t speak much more of your language than how to ask for money, so I didn’t push the point.
To be honest I’ve not been mythered for money much here; less than I may have been expecting. Maybe it’s because not that many tourists come here, so there’s less of that ‘expectation’? The majority of people here seem to have expected me to be Australian, and I guess to be fair that’s a pretty good guess, since Darwin’s only an hour away by plane (not that Darwin’s the archetypal Australian city – most people in Oz have never been there. It’s hard to know which is deemed more ‘obscure’ for the average Aussie – Darwin or Perth. Mind you, Perth’s bigger and has more stuff around it. Darwin has, er, Darwin, and that’s about it …).
It rained today, rather a lot, and was quite cloudy nevertheless. My plan was to have headed out to the large statue of Jesus around the other side of the bay, but the weather conditions made that trip somewhat pointless, since I wouldn’t have been able to see much anyway. Instead, I stayed in Dili – for the most part in the hostel although I did nip out for couple of hours in the mid-afternoon once rain had subsided a bit, mainly to take pictures of mikrolets (the local minibuses).
Dili’s not a good city to walk around in the rain, mainly due to the rotten nature of the pavements. Those cracks and holes that are merely an inconvenience in the dry become big pools and streams in the wet. The dust becomes muddy. And don’t count on much shelter from the rain either; the trees won’t help you. That said, although the drainage leaves much to be desired, it’s still better than it is in Chisinau.
The other odd thing about Dili (apart from the lack of signposts) is that they seem to always be refurbishing it Not the buildings, as in other cities (like Istanbul, which will be fab when they finish building it), but things like the monuments, the parks, and the promenade – whole pathways and paths are closed off, and statues surrounded by fences, and it just looks like they’re cleaning them, sprucing them up, for no reason other than to make it look like they’re doing something. Yet they’re not fixing the pavements.
Chatted muchly this evening with other backpackers – something I’ve been rarely doing on my trip so far (often because I’ve been staying in places with few other backpackers). The general view is that Timor-Leste is quite expensive, or at least compared with Indonesia (it’s certainly much cheaper than Australia). It’s also interesting to speak to other travellers whose journey is as long as mine – that said, this isn’t the sort of place you just pop to for a quick holiday.