Walking with a shadow

Dili Travel Blog

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A third of the way there

I’ve been off for the weekend and I have to admit I did nothing that can even be remotely described as physical.  I chilled up in the Esplanada Restaurant for Saturday and Sunday listening to my music whilst doing my thing on the net.  I have today and tomorrow off as well but now that I am fully rested I think it’s time to shake it up.


I got up this morning in time for our 7.30am haka practise.  We only have two more weeks until our medal parade where we must perform it in front of 140 guests.  I’ve missed it since my break because in my opinion days off are all about sleeping in. 


Today we ran through a couple of blood curdling challenges and felt satisfied enough to leave it at that.

If only we could take a short cut across the sea
  Everyone went off to work.  I went up to break my fast.  After that I went back to my room and got ready to walk to Christo Rei.  It was something I had wanted to do on my first few days off, last month but I ran out of time.


I headed out of the Esplanada at 10am.  It’s a 10km walk around the coast to the Christo point so I’d be getting there in the heat of midday, not really the smartest way of tackling this but I’m a bit like that –all or nothing!  I think it’s a typical Leo trait.


About 2 minutes after I started from the hotel a Timorese dude ran up behind me, began to befriend me and then proceeded to tell me how he has no job, no money and a wife and kid in Baucau.  Now, to be totally frank that sort of tactic just gets my high blood pressure boiling.  I told him that was very sad and wished him good luck in finding a job.

Odd things along the way


I hadn’t missed a step but then neither did he.  He went on to introduce himself and ask me my name and what I was up to.  When I told him where I was heading he pointed across the bay and asked if I was heading up to the statue.  I confirmed my intention and he asked if h could join me.  I wasn’t convinced he would stick with me but in the back of my mind I knew it would depend on how much of a sucker he took me for.


After 15 mins of walking and talking we’d reached the city.  I told him (actually forgot his name the moment he told it to me –one of my weaknesses) that I had to get a SD card for my new camera so I had to cut into the centre.  I strode across the road and he skipped along behind me.  I’m head and shoulders taller than 99% of Timorese and I stride like my butts on fire when I have purpose, my new best friend wasn’t happy and kept telling me I walked fast.  I didn’t think he’d be with me after my first shop stop.

Kids along the beach


Three stores later I found a card I wanted and headed East with new determination, unfortunately I still had my chum on my heels.


When we made it back to the beach I stopped to look at a monument.  I’d driven up and down this way many times but I had never been down here on foot so I was seeing many new things set back from the road.  It gave a chance for chum to catch his breath but when the sun had been beating down for about 45mins and I opened my new bottle of water and took a couple of gulps he mentioned again that he had no water and no money. 

  I told him he would need some water because our walk was going to be long and hot.  I also told him I was going to have lunch when I got to Christo Rei so he should bring something himself.  He answered with more of the same but offered to carry my water bottle.  I told him it was the only thing in my bag and by the end of the day it would be empty so I was happy to carry it myself.

Closer still

  I knew then that he was not going to leave me and that I would be obliged to buy him lunch but he was personable enough so if he stuck to the job he might earn it.


It was cool watering along the sand as sea breeze swept over our perspiration.  I stopped several times to take photographs and walked back and forth over the beach to see what was happening at the roadside or down by the water.  By the time we got to Christo Bay I had my shirt off and was starting to get a bit too much sun.


One of the main activities in Dili on the weekend is to head here to the “Portuguese” beach, so called because this is where the beautiful people hang.  The Portuguese men attached to the riot squad spend all week popping steroids and pumping iron so they can wander up and down the beach in their speedos loving themselves.

Portuguese Beach -the gateway to Christo Rei
  Now I have never been down here before but I’m probably the only kiwi that hasn’t and all of Dili knows and talks about the behaviour of these men.


Kiwis don’t do speedos at any time so several deployments ago we had found a nice beach further around the point from the Portuguese beach and everyone calls this one “Kiwi Beach”.  I haven’t been there either.


As we walked along Portuguese beach I decided not to have lunch until we had been up to the statue and back.  My chum had become very quite by this time so I knew the heat was getting to him.  As we climbed the steps he hung back in the shadows.  I had only drunk about a quarter of my water so I gave him the bottle before he tumbled over the railings and off the cliff. 


We were standing at the top at 1pm.

Porto Beach is landscaped very nicely
  It was hot and on my way down I realised I had got quite sunburned.  I covered up by putting on my t-shirt and adjusting my Egyptian scarf.  At the bottom I headed in for lunch.  My chum kept saying he had no money but he had already made me well aware of that by mentioning it about 10 times as we were walking here. 

  Inside the Sol & Mar bar and restaurant I bought us each a drink and some lunch.  There was not a word of thanks from him.


As we sat there I saw a taxi go by.  After we’d eaten we started back towards town but I had already decided I was going to catch the taxi when it came back out from the point.  I waved it down and confirmed the standard US$2 fare to Esplanada before getting in the front and enjoying an easy cruise home.


My chum had been going on about a job so I had suggested he should leave his cv at all the hotels on the chance a position would come up.

So far I've just seen statues or carving of these nasties
  At the Esplanada I found Romeo, the Manager and let them discuss their business before wishing him all the best and turning to go.  My new friend asked if he could come to my room and I told him he could not.  He began to insist he needed my help and I again stopped him with my best Police man’s, “NO!” and turned and walked through reception to the courtyard. 

  A few minutes later when I was chilling in the cool clear water of the Esplanada’s pool my new chum walked though bold as brass and started looking around at all the rooms.  I told him guests only were permitted back here and that he was not to be here without Romeo or he’d be risking the job opportunity.  It made no impression on him at all and he sat down on one of the pool lounger’s behind me and asked me if I had a pair of shoes.  Ha had also mentioned several times today that his were broken.


After I told him I was not giving him any shoes he sat for a few minutes before leaving.

Not far now
  I have no doubt he’ll be sitting across the road again tomorrow ready to latch onto whoever walks out of the hotel next.

How did my walk to Christo Rei end up being all about this guy??!

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A third of the way there
A third of the way there
Lady in the shade waiting to sell …
Lady in the shade waiting to sell…
If only we could take a short cut …
If only we could take a short cut…
Odd things along the way
Odd things along the way
Kids along the beach
Kids along the beach
Closer still
Closer still
Portuguese Beach -the gateway to C…
Portuguese Beach -the gateway to …
Porto Beach is landscaped very nic…
Porto Beach is landscaped very ni…
So far Ive just seen statues or c…
So far I've just seen statues or …
Not far now
Not far now
Workers asleep in the first shrine…
Workers asleep in the first shrin…
Reached the top in the midday sun
Reached the top in the midday sun
Sun in his hand
Sun in his hand
Esplanada below the little branch …
Esplanada below the little branch…
Looking down to Kiwi Beach
Looking down to Kiwi Beach
Downhill -Kiwi Beach left, carpark…
Downhill -Kiwi Beach left, carpar…
Taxi home
Taxi home
Dili Sights & Attractions review
He's got the whole world in his hands...
The Christo Rei reserve sits out on a peninsular on the Eastern end of the Dili Harbour. The massive statue of Christ stands high above the sea, arms… read entire review
Dili Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Lunch at Portuguese Beach
I was hungry at 1pm and Sol & Mar looked like a reasonable place to find a bite to eat. There were already three Portuguese ladies enjoying coffee in… read entire review
photo by: jose28