Gleno Travel Blog› entry 77 of 86 › view all entries
April 26th, 2010 – by: goezi
I wish I had gone earlier now, the ride was beautiful as most of the winding mountain road was protected from the sun by the forest canopy. I have to say it again, I am a fan of cool mountain regions -but only in the tropics where cool means comfortable!
Passing through villages I again stopped to take pics of various points of interest. In the back of my mind was the satisfaction that being this late in the day I would be returning late afternoon and the light would offer much better photo opportunities than the flatness of the midday sun I have been experiencing this week.
The road from Dili to Tibar was coastal and hot. Tibar is only 15mins west of Dili but here I turn left and head to the mountain range that runs behind Dili. Where I went over this range on the eastern side of Dili when going to Aileu, Ermera is the district adjacent to Aileu so the western road it is.
The road itself is in a pretty poor state of repair. There are two large sections that have dropped about 500mm due to slippage below. I know these large segments will washout totally after another couple of heavy rains and as the traffic manager for the next 6 weeks I hope there aren't any trucks on those portions when the earth slides away and plunges down the mountainside.
It is a frustration to me to know that if the work was done now to affect the road repairs it would be easier, faster and cheaper than trying to repair the gaping hole left after the slip, but this is East Timor and there would have to be a complete change in the government's thinking to have proactive works rather than reactive.
This has been one of my biggest frustrations during my mission and the main reason why a 6 month period would have been impossible -even my extension to 12 months is too short a time.
Dili to Gleno is about 45km. I reached the gateway to the town in just over an hour and looked down onto a river valley with sprawling houses filling the flat basin area. 10 minutes later I was in the police station asking for the kiwis.
I was recognised immediately by the Chief of Traffic, he leaped out of his chair to greet me and proudly showed his computer screen upon which was the spreadsheet by which he was making his weekly traffic report.
He invited me to the local cafe for coffee and we went to enjoy a strong brew flavoured with sweetened condensed milk as we discussed policing options in a country where freight trucks are the main mode of transport in and around the districts but also accounted for over 50% of the 54 road deaths last year.
Once we'd finished our coffee we returned to the office to find one of my kiwi mates returned from her enquiry. I had a brief chat with her and then went out to explore the valley. Gleno is a sleepy town. The valley is wide and green due to the small population. Unlike other TL towns where there is little soil so houses are crammed back to back on hot dusty bedrock.
I got back to Tibar just before 6pm. The sun was low and the fishermen were wading through the low tide harvesting what they could fo late supper. When I got back to Dili I saw a game of soccer being played below Comoro Bridge and took my bike off road to pass through this little suburb. Many of the residents greeted me warmly, fascinated that a Malae should be down here at all, let along in the twilight. Others scowled and spat. I knew that if I had been driving my UNPOL marked vehicle I would have been pelted with rocks.
What a land of contrast. What an adventure this year has been!
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