It's all Portuguese in East Timor

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
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Trip End Nov 28, 2013


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Flag of Timor-Leste  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Monday, September 9, 2013

They have a wine shop as you cross into East Timor amongst the rubble and dust! glad to see they have their priorities! We have forgotten what wine taste like!

We've been on the road since a 4.30am pancake and cup of tea looking out at a sunrise from the Lavalon Bar across the seafront in Kupang. Poor old Emerick (Edwin's trusty sidekick) was up like a shot to prepare breakfast - GEEZER!

The journey from Kupang down south in West Timor to Dili is a long and reasonably bumpy one. It follows an almost singular route into the mountains through the middle of West Timor and passes by a number of towns like Soe that are well known for their 'Beehive' style homes. The homes are original to Timorese culture and made of straw with a one metre high door way - yes in didn't make a typo '1 metre'. The people are not very tall here. Strangely it's a bit of a frustrating activity attempting to spot the Beehive homes from the road and this is because of the Indonesian government enforcing modernisation onto these people as it decreed the Beehive homes were unhygienic. In an answer to the Indonesian governments 'hygene' initiative to build soulless concrete cubes for the indigenous population of the area, the locals have built their beehives behind their nice shiny new concrete cubes. According to the locals living in a concrete box is unhygienic. The concrete cubes remain empty and unlived-in and the Beehives continue to be used. One in the eye for ceaseless modernisation!

At the border crossing you leave your Indonesian minivan and get into an identical Timor Leste minivan and get you passport stamped out of Indonesia and stamped into Timor Leste. The process takes around 30 to 40 minutes. We powered through to the Timor Leste side and realised that our speed was largely due to our ability to read and write! At the Timor Leste border there were groups of young boys clambering to fill peoples forms out. We can only assume that laziness wasn't the key driver to pay one of these boys to complete the entry form - we were one of the few Westerners making the crossing at the time.

The road on the Timor Leste side is considerably worse and the journey takes 3 to 4 hours from the border at Batugade - very bumpy and lot's of rubble on the road. The road follows the undulating coastline right up to Dili with lots of dips and turns and curves. The views were absolutely stunning and the small villages that we passed through were extremely poor. There was a real original rustic feel to Timor Leste already, which was something different to what we had experienced in West Timor earlier in the day.

About 4 hours later we arrived at East Timor Backpackers just as the sun was going down.  We chose East Timor Backpackers initially because it was the cheapest place to stay in Dili.  Everywhere else was a hotel and the economy in East Timor is still very much geared to the expansive wallets of Foreign Aid agency staff and NGO's.  So with that in mind we opted for some noodles and sleep which is required before we hit Dili tomorrow.

Can't wait.
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