Timor-Leste 2

From the Xanata Gusmao reading room, museum and art gallery (see later), an early Portuguese chart of Timor and islands to the north

(Well clearly this blog isn’t doing a good job of going private. It’s currently in use verifying I am who I say I am by various agencies issuing visas and permits for travel ahead)

Let’s start with an epic. Getting my Indonesian visa has been a battle. The usual procedure requires proof of exit, an air ticket for example, or not, depending on the mood of the day. The most stringent visa requirements so far, if they want it to be. It took me 5 or 6 days, 2 of those being multiple visits. Finally, they decided I needed a sponsor in Indonesia. Steph Jeavons to the rescue. She’d passed through recently and had friends there, and one (Adi, who’ll feature down the road) came through with an overkill sponsorship letter. Hooray. Plan B was ugly, so we won’t go there.

The Indonesian embassy gate, which I came to know too well

And the view down the street from where I sat waiting for various events at either 6:00 or 9:00 am, or 2:00 pm

Bummer. There’s only been one other border/visa hassle up until now, when I tried to re-enter Guatemala after too brief an exit, against the rules. I got helped out there too, by Julio. I feel ok about it, as I’ve done the same for others. You get by with a little help from your friends.


We’ve done a few cultural things. This is the Resistencia Timorense (archivo & museo). It’s one of only about a dozen brand new buildings we’ve seen in Dili, pop about 250k.

No photos inside are allowed. Normally I ignore this, but this is somehow different. Inside is the history of the Timorese resistance movement from the Portuguese withdrawal in 1974, through Indonesian annexation to the eventual UN brokered founding of independent Timor-Leste in 2002, the world’s youngest country.

The main focus of the exhibits and photographs is on the Fretilin and the military wing Falintil, and the story of the greatest hero of the resistance, Xanata Gusmao. It’s very moving.

Another excellent cultural building is the Xanata Gusmao reading room, museum and art gallery

Photos are allowed and security is lax

A photo of Falintil resistance fighters

For more reading East Timor wiki

Dili is on the ocean. It’s very hot and very humid. At the tail-end of wet season, small storms roll in about every two days. It’s more uncomfortable than any day in Australia.

The ocean water is hot. it’s crocodile country and I heard a few days ago a 3 meter croc patrols this shoreline. But the kids swim anyway

The fisherman leave in the morning and are back early

Cleaning the small fish

So what am I still doing here, 17 days later? Well somewhere out there at anchor is the ‘ANL Darwin Trader’, the freighter that Lucinda is on. She left late and has been parked out there somewhere for days. I’m not alone. Two young Aussie brothers left Darwin before me and have been waiting 4 or 5 days longer. I can’t drink all the time as they can, so we get together when I’m able. Their story when I get a photo not in a bar.

Dili is a slightly crazy, unregulated place, population about 250k. Despite that, the Timorese are kind and gentle. More on the real story in the next post, maybe


4 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. donr,

    Great start to Asia. It is the product of a much forgotten legacy of the colonial bastards.

  2. Anonymous,

    You have always had such an affinity for the word “anyway”. So cute, really. Seriously. I can hear it now 🙂

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