A Dili-ghtful farewell

Settled at the Dili Backpackers, we set ourselves the task of seeing a bit more of this colourful city before our departure the following day.

The drivers of the local Microlet fleet (buses) take pride in their appearance

The drivers of the local Microlet fleet (buses) take pride in their appearance

As you may have figured already (if you’ve been reading our previous posts on Timor-Leste), we were certainly charmed by this small city, so we were very eager to indulge further in its history, and as such, began our search for the Santa Cruz Cemetery.

With a full bottle of water and our Lonely Planet guide we set out, hoping that the maps within would guide us truly. It did, after all seem a fairly simple route.

What we did not factor on however, was that whilst our maps had clearly marked road and street names, few, if any of the streets we would physically set foot on, had signs with which we could identify them.

Still, we took the turns we thought we needed to make… and ultimately found that the cemetery was not there. Or perhaps more accurately, we were not in fact at the cemetery.

But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining, and this allowed us to wander through some real suburban streets of Dili, watching the people go about their daily lives, and as always, very friendly.

Local boys show off their ingenuity with toy cars, home made from cans and bottle caps

Local boys show off their ingenuity with toy cars, home made from cans and bottle caps

With some further wandering, we finally stumbled upon a landmark of note, the Balide Church. Having gathered our bearings, we did take the time for a quick look around before heading on to the cemetery and were reminded yet again of the resourceful nature of the East Timorese.

Their ability to making something of so little, in this case Xmas decorations and a Xmas tree, was very impressive.

Celebrating Xmas with a tree at the Belide Church

Celebrating Xmas with a tree at the Balide Church


Recycled bottles are enough to do the trick!

Recycled bottles are enough to do the trick!

Though late afternoon, by the time the Santa Cruz cemetery was reached the heat had in no way dissipated and the closely packed tombs themselves, did a decent job of stifling any breeze that we’d hoped might drift through.

It was this, that really quelled any desire we may have had to have had more of an explore (there is apparently a monument there to the massacre victims), although the main entrance area where we did wander, was indeed the site of the massacre proper.

The now tranquil Santa Cruz Cemetery, site of one of Timor-Leste's most infamous moments

The now tranquil Santa Cruz Cemetery, site of one of Timor-Leste’s most infamous moments

Wandering back through downtown Dili maybe half an hour later, we were met with a feeling of empty busyness. That feeling that honestly pervades a lot South-East Asian countries where many people have very little to do.

Downtown Dili. A scene of hustle and bustle?

Downtown Dili. A scene of hustle and bustle?


A Dili storefront with some charming, self made advertising signage

A Dili storefront with some charming, self made advertising signage

For a final meal, and some well earned beers (we’d again done some solid walking in very humid heat) we made our way to the waterfront to check out the Lonely Planet recommended ‘Castaway Bar’.

This second story Bar/Restaurant seemed to have the greatest number of expats (and possibly the odd tourist) that we’d seen in some time, but it also provided some good views, deliciously cold beer, and some pretty tasty, if western style food.

Selling the evening catch in West Dili

Selling the evening catch in West Dili

With the need to check in for our flight the following morning, there was really little time for us to do much else on our final day.

We did both on reflection, feel that this was but a taste, so at some time in future we will be back in Timor-Leste (for a much longer period) to see the rest of what this beautiful country has to offer!

Timor-Leste: Small but proud, beautiful and resourceful

Timor-Leste: Small but proud, beautiful and resourceful

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5 Responses to A Dili-ghtful farewell

  1. I was Dili too, but I missed the Christmas period. Damn, that tree looks good!!

  2. Tim says:

    It is always amazing how resourceful folks can be. Love the Dili Xmas tree. I have traveled a lot in Indonesia but never Timor. I have found the people through Indonesia to always be so friendly and trusting. Have a great trip.

  3. Pingback: Amen to that… | theworldwithchrisandsarah

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