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Dili, East Timor

Written on: Monday August 4th, 2008

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

An eleven hour bus journey took Danny and I over the border from Indonesia in to my thirteenth country of this trip, but I wasn't planning on staying long enough to give it the chance to be unlucky for some. Danny and I stayed in Dili, the capital of East Timor, the newest country to grace the world, for less than 24 hours, booking a flight with Air North direct to Darwin for the following day. The city carries quite a threatening feel, mainly due to every other car in Dili being a UN vehicle. The UN have a massive presence in Dili, here for peace-keeping purposes after a spate of violent outbursts over the independence of the country. The city feels like you have travelled much further than a three hour car journey from the Indonesian border in West Timor. East Timor uses the US dollar for its currency and its inhabitants speak Teeton, a language very similar to Portuguese, down to the country's Portuguese colonial past. East Timor was surprisingly much more expensive than anywhere else in Indonesia. We were dropped at a Western looking hotel as our bus driver had no idea of where the backpackers hang out in Dili, and were promptly asked to cough up $90 for a bed for the night. We eventually settled for a place a little further down the road that was closer to our budget, although still exceedingly pricey for this part of the world. However our cash did assure us of a TV, a hot shower, a complimentary breakfast and the hotel featured a bar and restaurant area looking more Australia than Australia. With the economic problems that East Timor has it's hard to imagine just how the regular Timorese Joe Smoke gets by from day to day with the steep cost of everyday items. Sadly not staying there very long or having time to talk to any of the locals will leave me none the wiser on this matter. In the tiny, twin prop jet plane with only 12 passengers I left Asia pleased with myself with how far I'd come without taking a plane, but bitterly disappointed that after coming so close I was having to eventually fly the last leg to Australia. To ease my pain the stewardess regularly kept applying Danny and I with free beer for our hour and a half journey to Darwin. Bless her cottons.