We’ve recently returned from a trip to Timor Leste for the Tour de Timor, a pretty gruelling 6-day mountain bike ride that Simon finished with impressive results.
I hopped about between finish lines and motorbikes and up trees during the race, but when it was all over and we were back in Dili, I took a bit of time to just wander around the streets with my camera.
Our hosts, Drew and Zeshi live in the centre of town, but no part of the city is very cosmopolitan. The houses and shops and yards look much the same as out in the countryside, only pushed closer together.
There is no great distinction between town and country when it comes to how petrol is sold, how folk keep their roosters or how the firewood is stacked.
Driving on the streets is an extreme sport, and many opt for the ‘safer’ microlets – vans so overflowing with people that there are often one or two hanging out the open door.
It is not uncommon to see a family of four on a motorbike or scooter. Helmets are usually worn by adults alone, the concept of personal safety still a bit of a mystery to most.
The Timorese people are a friendly bunch. With no knowledge of their history you’d be forgiven for thinking they led a blissfully naive existence. Evidence of invasion and warfare is apparent on buildings and the landscape, but not the locals. Spotting a smile on a child’s face is easy in a country where 50% of the population are under 17.[/span6] [/row]