Sunday 24 November 2013

Dili - East Timor


It's striking how different things seem here in East Timor compared to the rest of Indonesia.

The Portuguese language and the little Jesus figures adorning the dashboards of taxicabs hint of the centuries of differing colonial experiences.  Yet, even after the Portuguese left in the 1970s, four decades of storminess with Indonesia has deepened rifts that still feel palpable in the air.  Moreover, the place is physically situated far closer to Australia than Jakarta, and clear echoes of the ancient kinship to the original inhabitants of Australia can be seen in the faces of the people.  It's a different place altogether.

Kind of feels a bit like Mozambique in the '90s with all the chauffered white Land Cruisers rolling around the streets, shuffling various aid workers and Important People from place to place.  There's also the ubiquitous little pale yellow dump trucks hauling rocks and decorated microlet minivans keeping the place busy.

All in all - I like it.  No idea how stable or sustainable or "good" it might be, but for now it's a buzzing place.  Glad we've visited.

(and the diving is amazing...)

More muck diving for us! We saw some really amazing critters including: tiny fish masquerading as blades of grass (which I couldn't believe were actually fish for a little while), lots of moray eels and lion fish, amazing transparent shrimp, scorpionfish, fingered dragonets, a turtle, puffer fish and a weird frog fish. Apparently the frog fish (last photo) can eat prey twice their size, including lion fish which are poisonous! The thermoclines on the second dive were bonkers, but apparently that is what makes such fantastic marine life in Dili. 
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