A ship and a party

Dili Travel Blog

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HMNZS Canterbury stern

 

There were two interesting things I wanted to catch in town this morning. 

 

The first was the NZ Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury had arrived yesterday afternoon to deliver a ship-load of cargo.  I hadn’t seen her arrive but some of the guys had seen her passing the Esplanada on her way into the harbour.

 

Mike and Flems were invited onboard for dinner and a discussion with the Captain that night, so we had been expecting her for some time anyway. 

 

So my first task was to wander down to the port and get a few snaps of her berthed there.  I did that and later in the afternoon I was also able to catch her as she sailed out of the harbour in front of the hotel again, much lighter after unloading all those containers of goodies for the country.

Local trader

 

The other thing I wanted to do was get to the Trade Expo.  The Expo was the first thing on the agenda for the Timor Leste celebrations of their 10 years of independence on the 30th of this month.

 

When I got down to the city I had a bit of a wander about and headed to the exhibition site.  There were throngs of people heading that way but when I reached the place the gates were all still closed and there seemed to be a lot of setting up still happening.  The other thing that caught my eye was the Microlet bus park by the main entrance was been hot-mixed. 

 

I thought it was poor timing that the main entrance should be blocked by all this heavy machinery but I guess they will have it finished today and the rest of the week will be good for the Microlets to drop off those people wanting to attend.

 

I wandered about the exterior perimeter but there was no way inside unless like a few keen locals I was to jump the fence, I decided that sort of behaviour was not for me.

Trade Expo billboard

 

Instead I headed West through the city and up Comoro Road.  That is the main road from the airport into town.  It is a very long dual carriageway that has most of the industrial type businesses on it and is also the site of the new Presidential Palace where I have been having meetings about the Tour de Timor.

 

Today I was heading to the Leader Supermarket to pick up a few grocery items.  By the time I got there it was just after mid-day and the sun was beating down.  I finished my last few mouthfuls of warm mater about 500m from the supermarket so when I got there I was delighted to be in the air-conditioned space instead of out in the 36C heat.

 

After I wandered slowly about the aisles I had to face it again.  I knew the Esplanada was up this end of the city so I decided I would try to cut through some of the back streets to get down to Beach Road.  I was pleased I did.

 

As I followed a road that I was sure would get me close I was approached by a motor cycle.

Clock roundabout outside the expo
  As it got alongside the rider called my name.  I was Marcus, one of the Language Assistants that had worked with me when Paulo was ill. 

  Marcus confirmed I was on the right track and I continued on my way.

 

I was reminded of the simple life at Uatolari that I had enjoyed all those weeks ago.  The small houses were full of children’s laughter and the bustle of daily village life.  Here in the heart of Dili residential area life was all about the family.  That’s what I’ve been missing as I drive and walk to and from the Esplanada or the city along Beach Road. 

  There you are constantly tooted at by crawling Taxis hoping to make $2 by driving you somewhere.  Or you’re ducking and weaving around them to get to work, hoping like hell you won’t meet some mad Timorese driver coming the other way at break-neck speed.

 

Yep, this is the real heart of the city and I know I will spend a lot more time walking through these streets.

Sailing out of Dili Harbour

 

After lunch I felt much better.  A cool shower, some food, and an Iced Coffee (with chocolate ice-cream because they had no vanilla) saw me set for the afternoon.  I spent it on the laptop enjoying the occasional glimpse out to Autoro Island.

 

As I sat there I noticed President Horta sitting chatting to a few people on the other side of the restaurant.  One of the guys was Dave, Race co-ordinator for the “Tour”.  He didn’t recognise me since I had only met him when I was in uniform but I didn’t say G’day to him in case he wanted to talk about work and I didn’t have the answers as I was on Leave.

 

We Kiwis were all planning to head out to the Indian celebrations tonight.  It is their National Independence Day and I’d been looking forward to it all week.  As we gathered down in the foyer of the hotel President Horta came down and chatted to us.  He was on his way there himself so 15 mins later we were listening to him speak about his time in India just before he received his Nobel Prize.

Colourful powder design

 

After the speeches there were several cultural items; children dancing; poetry readings; songs.  It ended with a well put together movie presentation about India and I was pleased to be here with the UN family, being able to enjoy such diversity as an everyday thing just because of work.  Perfect!

 

We then enjoyed a great meal and the crowd chatted and enjoyed a few beverages.  It then thinned until the music started and we all adjourned back inside and started dancing to some terrific Indian dance music. 

 

It was a terrific night but at 1030pm all the Kiwis said they were ready to go home.  This had been the first outing I’d had since my arrival and I was a bit sad to leave early. 

  Unfortunately transport is an issue in this town.  Those tooting taxis don’t creep about after about 9pm and I’d done my share of walking today.

 



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HMNZS Canterbury stern
HMNZS Canterbury stern
HMNZS Canterbury in port
HMNZS Canterbury in port
Local trader
Local trader
Trade Expo billboard
Trade Expo billboard
Clock roundabout outside the expo
Clock roundabout outside the expo
Sailing out of Dili Harbour
Sailing out of Dili Harbour
Colourful powder design
Colourful powder design
Drinks after dinner
Drinks after dinner
Happy gathering
Happy gathering
Lessons in Indian dance moves
Lessons in Indian dance moves
63rd birthday of India
63rd birthday of India
Kiwi girls trying out the moves
Kiwi girls trying out the moves
Indian celebration
Indian celebration
Dili
photo by: jose28