Things that happened the week I turned 27

LifeTimor Leste

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1. I went to Maubara on May Day and the fort cafe didn’t have banana smoothies or any food really except instant noodles. The road was much worse than I remember, so I was 4WD-ing my Hyundai Matrix. It was a nice day though, great weather. A truck almost killed us though once, but other than that, a nice bumpy drive.

2. On my birthday, my lovely housemate put a lovely beaded necklace in my cereal box as a gift. I am so foggy brained in the mornings that I looked at it (it was a similar colour to the cereal) and though that there were worms in my cereal and almost freaked out before I saw the bow around it and did the mental math.

3. We went to one of the nicest restaurants in Dili and had a lovely meal, but I accidentally ordered the palate cleanser for dessert instead of an actual dessert.

4. I saw a crane fall over and knock over power lines and the footpath because it was too small to lift a large concrete pillar, and the pillar had been fastened in the wrong place, creating a weight imbalance when it was lifted off the ground. This literally happened about five metres from the car, since there aren’t barriers put up for dangerous situations such as this in Timor.

5. A truck cut a corner in Dili and forced me to drive the Hyundai into a gutter to not get hit… I only just managed to rev the little car out of the gutter, almost had to get towed.

6. I’ve had an on-again off-again stomach bug and illness that I’m a bit concerned could be something parasitic like giardia, so I haven’t been feeling great.

7. I witnessed the PNTL (Timorese police) punch three people on motorcycles in the back with a fair amount of force at an intersection for violating non-existant/never followed/not understood traffic laws on my way to work on my birthday.

8. I was so frustrated by some things at work I cried in the car on the way to get miso soup for birthday lunch (all I could stomach because of my dodgy belly). Later that day I got a cake at work that was pink with flowers on and everyone sang the birthday song.

9. I went to a seafood restaurant that only had fish and none of the other seafood on the menu. The sambal was great, but one of my friend’s meals never arrived, even after asking for it twice. A feral cat jumped on the table and stole some of our food.

10. A friend and I went to use the internet and have some lunch. We went to one place, ordered food and the wrong salads came out. One of the salads had tomatoes that had gone bad in it so the whole thing was inedible. Then the restaurant tried to charge use for food we didn’t even get, with one of the waitresses chasing us out onto the street accusing us of not paying in full. We couldn’t use the internet because it was $10 for access anyway. We went to another bar with the internet, but their internet was broken… we tried to order a cocktail, but all the cocktails were ‘finished’. Then I ordered an ice coffee. It came out lukewarm with strawberry icecream in because the vanilla was ‘finished’. It tasted terrible.

11. After months of problems, including parts of the ceiling falling down and the place getting flooded yet us still having no water coming out of the tap, our landlord finally fixed our water system properly and it seems to be working pretty well now.

12. Right now I’m at a cafe that has a big banner up about having WiFi, but their WiFi apparently hasn’t been working for months. They are softening the blow by playing weird acoustic covers of Lady Gaga.

So it was a very ‘Timor’ birthday week… mixing the good, great, hysterically ridiculous, bad and ugly all up together.

One Response to " Things that happened the week I turned 27 "

  1. George D says:

    You make 9 sound terrible – that was my meal, right? I still got good food, so I was happy!

    We went to Maubara today, and it was mostly wonderful, as beautiful as anything I’ve ever seen or experienced here. The cafe was serving good food, excellent smoothies and cafe and chicken and other things. There were dozens of healthy cyclists were having their prizegiving – they’d had a race ending there; I’ll throw the pictures up soon, it really did make me feel hopeful about things, despite all the poverty and despair and squalor that manifests on the way. We went in a NGO Landcruiser with a driver, which was probably a lot better than your trip over. I’m amazed at your ability!

    Get well soon, hope you’re feeling better this eve and tomorrow. George.