Travel to interview
Baucau Travel Blog› entry 20 of 86 › view all entries
I got up at 4.30am on Saturday morning to make my way to Viqueque and on to Dili for my interview as the Team Leader of the National Traffic Unit. I have to admit, I’m not very excited about the job now that I have seen what Uatolari has to offer in comparison to noisy, smelly, crowed Dili. I’ve said it before; I’m a small town boy. Cities are great to visit but I’m not interested in the hurry of them every day.
Uatolari is heaven. The more I see of the sub-district, the more
I believe that. I have mentioned to a
few of my contingent that I could happily build a little house out here and
live my days away.
Anyhoo, I left Uatolari in the dark, enjoying the ease of travel when there are few animals or people on the road ahead. I say few because there was still a handful travelling with their goods before dawn to set up their market stall. Markets are held Wednesday and Saturday.
I stopped at VQQ to use the computer and print my MOP (Movement of Personnel) before setting out on the road I had not yet driven. By the time I left it was still dark but dawn was near and more people were scurrying about.
There is just one road to Dili but it has
three turns on it. I was happy to
negotiate 99% of the way but I was not feeling confident about one of the
I pulled up alongside the first, wound down my electric window and asked, “Dili?”, pointing the way I was heading.
Luckily I kept the passenger’s door locked because the old man looked very confused, then tried to climb into the car. When the same thing happened an hour or so later I realised these old boys probably thought they were being arrested and taken to Dili, believing my question to be a directive rather than a navigation problem.
I didn’t have to be at my interview until
3pm. I expected to arrive at Esplanada
in time for lunch at mid day.
At lunch everyone was interested in my interview and were more interested later at dinner. We went out to Tuk Tuk Restaurant and I told everyone that I was happy with the technical side of my interview but probably didn’t do too well with the Timor Leste side as I hadn’t been here long enough to know much about the problems within the country.
When they asked if I felt the job was mine I was unable to say. One of the applicants is already on the team so I would expect him to be selected to step up to the position. Time will tell though and I would certainly be sorry if I were to leave the District to return to Dili where the traffic issues would not only hamper my daily trip in to work, but would be the very thing I would have to work on!
I did enjoy the Esplanada’s menu, the hot shower and the basket of freshly cleaned clothes though, so I guess there would be some benefit in being back here in the city.
After lunch I grabbed a couple of things from our store, said good-bye to everyone and headed East along the waterfront, out of Dili. I relaxed into the drive, the first 2.5 hours of it was going to be easy as the paved roads were in reasonable condition. It was only after crossing the District line into VQQ that the craters would be more prevalent than the pavement.
Again I was staggered by the beauty of the countryside. There are about 5 distinct changes in the landscape, from beachfront, to pasture, to forested hills, rocky outcrops and mountainous heights. The trees change, the rocks change (TL is rich with deposits of marble), people’s industry changes. I would have seen more if it wasn’t so important that I watch the road.
One thing that didn’t change was the lack of care from other drivers. Wits are needed here as many of the rural drivers don’t sit any sort of driving test. I came close to having 3-4 head-on collisions with guys who weren’t watching the road ahead.
I got back to Uatolari about 7.20pm (just after dark). I was good to be back here in the quiet village. The power was on the boys were just serving up steak and chips, life was good!
The next day we had a Bacon & Egg sandwich session for the PNTL and UNPOL staff. The three of us Kiwis quickly threw together 30 odd sarnies and just as quickly the 24 of us devoured the lot.
There were a couple of interviews to be
conducted at the station then after lunch we had to take the PNTL up to the top
There were 7 of us that piled into the Land Cruiser to head up the mountain. Somewhere up there Bear and Tom were going to leap out and do a foot patrol back through the little villages dotted along the road. I continued driving the others up into the clouds.
It was cool up there, only 22C (ha!) and this far away from the metropolis of Matahoi the houses were much more traditional looking and the villages themselves very interested in our passage through their quiet lives.
Somewhere towards the end of our journey the road became more of a track and I had to put the cruiser into 4WD. I wondered what it would be like if I was doing this in the rainy season. I doubt the job would get done. We were still a long way from the top of the mountain and the 4 streams that cut the track would no boubt turn to raging torrents with a couple of hours of tropical downpour.
Whilst the PNTL completed their work in the village I enjoyed the view over Uatolari Sub-distict and the sea far below. Yeah, I could definitely make a home up here!