Hi everyone

I apologize for not sitting down to write sooner. Since arriving in Timor, just under a month ago, I’ve managed to catch some kind of sickness three times. This week was particularly serious, and I went to the clinic with a fever of around 103.7 (still have a cold but I’m fine now). I’m working to keep in good spirits so that I can focus on the more important things, like getting a handle on the de facto language in the office (Tetun), and working to find my way outside of Dili.

Unfortunately, I am still pretty wiped out, but I wanted to be sure to put something down in writing in order to get some communication out there, and to get the blog ball rolling. I’ll make sure they’re a bit more coherent as time goes on.

First impressions:

Traffic in Dili is ridiculously dangerous. Since arriving a few weeks ago, I’ve seen five car accidents happen, or driven up on their immediate aftermath. None were too serious. Avoiding them as best as I can…

Beach swims also require a bit of caution – saltwater crocodiles live in the waters around Timor and have killed an increasing number of people since the occupation ended in 1999 (The Indonesians used to cull the population, whereas the Timorese believe that the Crocodiles are special and should not be harmed). It is believed that crocodiles only attack bad people, so if one were pursue you unsuccessfully, don’t expect to make too many Timorese friends afterwards…. In order to stay in the good favor of the crocodiles, you may see the Timorese tossing food to them on the beach.

Changes in Dili since my last trip here in 2013:

  • An incredible amount of infrastructural development has taken place. Fewer shelled out buildings remain, Dili’s crown hotel-mall-office complex (Timor Plaza) is now fully operational, and competition in the telecoms industry is delivering more affordable access to the internet.
  • Some beautiful asphalt has been in Dili and on connecting roads out to the surrounding districts. The longevity of those installations remains to be seen, as I’ve heard that many were filled on shaky Indonesian contracts, where companies will only lay a preliminary layer of asphalt, while pocketing the rest of the quoted price.

Later, I’ll be sure to put up some photos and stories from the traveling before I arrived in Timor, and to clean up this blog so that it looks more reasonable. For the time being, it’s just going to have to look like a new home, before you’ve unpacked all of the boxes.

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