There will be no pictures in this post. Just a little, large, update of my first day in Dili. I will try and get pictures up later. I am writing to you in the middle of no where..honestly.
I have to say that this world is such an amazing place. I left Darwin Australia this morning at the crack..well before the crack of dawn. When you’re being hosted by a Major from the Military..you get a knock at your door at 4am…sharp.
Took the flight from Darwin to Dili at 6:15am on four hours of sleep and two glasses of red wine (the first alcohol I had in about two months..it tasted amazing). I was so hungry and tired, but I knew that I couldn’t get any food, so I downed a 4oz packet of peanuts and 1 small orange juice. Not a great breakfast but it is food.
We flew into Dili and the sun bouncing off the ocean looked like a river of gold as it rised. I got through customs and then my ride wasn’t there. This happened before when I was in India, bloody STA Travel booked my airport transfer for the wrong day. However, I knew that Anders would get there. So, I met this new girl Katie who is island hoppping from Dili to Bali by herself–crazy girl.
Anders showed up and we travelled around Dili a bit. Then we went to this local roadside vendor and got a coconut fresh, which you stuck a straw through a flesh part at the top and drank out the fresh coconut milk–amazing. Then you took it back and the man cut it in half and you ate the fresh coconut flesh from the inside of the shell.
Just the beginning of amazing food.
We then drove a around a bit, saw little pigs hanging from strings and a log that someone was carrying around on their backs. Then went to the grocery store. There are a lot A LOT of UN and Military workers in Timor after the political upheavels of 1999 and 2006. So there’s lots of foreign food catering. It was weird to see that.
We stopped by a local cafe and I got my first Timorese coffee…amazing! It is a western hangout for all of the workers–guns n’ roses was pumping through the speakers..it was weird.
We headed out of the city up the most windy road ever with NO margin of error. We stopped by a local produce stand where we got so much food for $5.00USDollars included these amazing small bananas which taste like they’ve had honey injected into them.
I had asked Anders if I could please stop by the Orphanage to see what it was like. It was great. We talked to the two people who started it after the political and violent upheavels in 1999 for all of the displaced children. Everyone worked well together, everyone was fed, poliet etc. There were two other vol. there helping the Timorese people grow vegetable gardens and plant variety of food. Inspiring to see people beyond myself doing great and sustainable things.
We drove through kids picking coffee beans from trees. You have to pick them, dry them, de-shell them, then roast them. Amazing. Didn’t know that.
We finally FINALLY got to the centre and it is GORGEOUS. It overlooks a valley and has mountains all around. It’s incredibly peaceful. Incredibly peaceful. I settled int and busted out my Phrasebook because I know no Tetan and most Timorese people don’t know English. Thus, it’s a lot of confused and frustrated looks. We met up with a guy who works in Timor who is from the US and two Australians working on incorporating water, power, and sustainable engineering course work for Timor in the univeristy systems–amazing.
Then had dinner, helped peel sweet potatoes over a camp fire then headed down to a wedding reception. I felt totally and completley out of place, yet comfortable. The whole entired town is invited. It is customary, upon arrival to go and great the wedding party. So I walked up to this party and greet ed them all as best as I could and settled into the back corner to observe.
Then the food came out!
OMG. These amazing women had been cooking enough food for at least 400-500 people. Washing dishes in shifts. There were rice, pork, beef, vegetable, fruit, salad dishes. They were amazing! They had this beautiful wedding cake done in pastel pink and whites that was cooked over a camp fire was well.
I am exhausted, but so excited to see the clinic working during the day. I need to go and hop into my mosquito net and sleep with the most amazing stars you’ve ever seen 🙂