Coastal forts & mud huts
Liquicia Travel Blog› entry 76 of 86 › view all entries
By 9am I was out of uniform and on the bike heading west to Liquicia district. I have travelled through here before but after yesterday’s ride I was happy for a short trip where I could explore the areas off the main road more than I had been able to in the past.
Liquicia has a well know Portuguese fortress on the beach. Ruined now, but at one time this must have been a magnificent complex.
I wandered around the ruins, many of the
walls still standing but the roofs long since burnt out (like most buildings
from Portuguese and Indonesian times).
I also found a building from the era that was not only intact but was still in use; the Liquicia hospital sits up at the rear of the town, perhaps too important to destroy. As well as the large main building a small outbuilding was labelled “Mental” and from within came the sounds as you’d expect on any Sunday, choruses singing.
I was pleased this institution was still functioning in a country where everything else seems broken.
I then headed further down the coast, as
far as Maubara. This is a little town
with more burnt out buildings than functioning ones. Right beside the road on the sea front sat a
couple of churches. Religion is the
mainstay of the country and the church is always the first thing to be
repaired. I guess it provides hope and
unity to the Timorese people but I am saddened when I consider the average wage
in this country is 88cents a day and the development of churches and cathedrals
around the country is done with funding badly needed by the starving
On the other side of the road is an imposing wall topped with canons aimed out to sea. I was able to peep in through the gates of the compound to see inside was a little house, perhaps private, perhaps the offices for some government department. The rest of the grounds were bare and I thought it odd to have such extraordinary fortifications for such a modest abode.
As I putted slowly around the crumbling streets the people waved and greeted me as they did in the mountains yesterday. When there was no more of the place to see I turned around and headed back to Dili.
I stopped a couple of times on my return, once beside a shallow lake and another time to explore some shacks on an estuary.
The shacks were mostly deserted but were
obviously there for a purpose associated with the estuary mud. I wondered if it was a seasonal thing,
perhaps the water leaking into the rusty drums below the mud sieves was high in
nutrients, perhaps it was the creature that excavated the hundreds of little
mounds around their burrows that the locals were after.
I imagined the dry estuary floor teaming with crabs after the sun went down, some holes finger size, but others the size of a golf ball. There was no evidence of the creatures tracks, just some hoof marks left by a herd of goats that were dining on the thorn bushes near the road.
I would have to ask Paulo, my language assistant what the huts and the holes were all about when I returned to the office next week.
When I got back to my room at the hotel I lay down and caught up on a couple of hours sleep. All this holidaying is wearing me out!