Dili Travel Blog› entry 28 of 86 › view all entries
The day started out as usual here at the Esplanada but as we sat around the table enjoying our breakfasts (me with cornflakes and orange juice) someone wished me a happy birthday and then all the congrats were remembered.
Plans had been hatched a couple of nights before when Rowyn asked me what I wished to do to mark the occasion. I thought that was really thoughtful because the typical birthday celebration seemed to entail sizable (but moderated) amounts of alcohol and late night drunkenness. I’m a bit past all that sort of carry-on these days.
I thought about the fact we had not gone out to dinner last week and I had missed the regular outings, even though I had only been back to enjoy two of them, so I suggested we go out to dinner and enjoy food with our beverages.
Rowyn thought that was a great idea and asked if I knew of anywhere special. I told her a liked a good curry and so it was decided we would hit the town for a night at the Sun Indian Restaurant.
After breakfast this morning I headed off to work. I’m terribly embarrassed by any sort of fuss over me so I didn’t mention it to Lim or my new staff member Hu. At lunchtime Mel came in to see about getting a ride back to the hotel and asked me if I was having a good birthday. Oh, there it was… the cat’s out of the bag!
After my lunch I wandered back to my room to check my e-mails. There were a few there from friends and family. I quickly replied to most thanking them for thinking of me so far from home and telling them I’d write properly in the next few days.
The afternoon went without much incident and then home, shower, dressed and met everyone in the foyer of the hotel ready to head out to the Sun.
The restaurant was an ordinary Timorese building. Half the floor was concrete the other half tiles. Most of the walls were covered in Bollywood posters and there was a movie playing on the tv.
The staff met us with an enthusiastic greeting and gave us all a menu. When he talked about drinks he simply pointed to the fridge and directed us to get what we wanted as we needed it. Once Theo had done the honours there we sat and enjoyed our drinks and chatted.
Rowyn then brought out a parcel and embarrassed me with a gift. The wrapping paper was two A4 sized coloured photos, one showing the PNTL Transitos all lined up for a Government ceremony and the other side, an armoured car with a caption saying this should be what we drove because the roads are so dangerous here.
I thought that was pretty great without even opening the gift but inside there was a Timor Leste T-shirt and a DVD “Snakes on a Plane”.
That was very funny because in NZ traffic police are known as snakes in the grass because of the way we catch people when they are unaware. This movie was the only thing they could find that had anything to do with snakes.
I thanked everyone for their kindness and we got on with ordering some food. When we started the owner suggested we get a banquet and that way everyone could have a little of something. The dishes were very inexpensive and it seemed a sensible way of doing things. At the end we would simply divide the bill between the 9 of us.
The place was busy and two or three groups came and went before our meals arrived. We were very hungry by then and thoroughly enjoyed the good food. When we were all full there was still enough to feed another couple of people but everyone was happy with their dinner.
The bill was a little higher than we had expected but there were no complaints and as we left the Sun we were all happy that we’d celebrated my birthday in a fitting fashion.