How did I miss World Toilet Day ?

What was I doing last week to miss “World Toilet Day” ?  The 19th November is now in my electronic diary forever.

It reminded me of some of my Asian toilet experiences :

  • Like the toilet that was concreted off-center onto the outlet pipe thus ensuring minimal passage of articles through the opening.  Now when you are on the 10th floor and and the eventual blockage resulting from your poorly placed “can” causes the higher 5 floors to backfill your toilet (and half of your apartment) with nightsoil water, I can tell you that you have got a problem.
  • Or the one where the new modern western public toilet block is constructed, training in use carried out BUT there was no door to lock off the toilet block BEFORE the outlet pipes were connected.  When discovered, it was a nightmare scene.
  • Or the very 1st time I had even seen an Asian “throttle pit” (ie squat toilet) was at an airport where I had foolishly had a blindingly hot curry the night before and had to hastily leave Customs with luggage in tatters while I made an emergency sprint to the toilets.  I had thought that the best way to transport the suit was to wear it – in retrospect, not on this occasion.

Alas, none of the above tales occured here in TL and I can not even think of any serious incident (actually involving a toilet where it was at fault and not me).

Is 19 November in your diaries yet ?

Random comestibles

On the weekend, I whipped out to the Doulos to check out the floating bookshop – the huge ship docked at Dili Wharf and attracting hordes of schoolchildren.  To be honest, the whole thing was over in 30 minutes.  About 1/3 of the books were religious tomes or advice on how to rear children and husbands.  The second 1/3 was children’s books and the rest, a mixture of classics, nature books and cookbooks.  What I did notice was that sales were next to nothing.  That is, most of the books were in English and very few students would have even the most simple knowledge and possibly no money anyway.  (And there is no public bar on-board.)

One could not have noticed the 2 or 3 commercial freight vessels hanging around offshore for the week.  This is unusual but explained by the Doulos occupying prime dock space.

I paid for scoffing at this costly arrangement by going to the bank today and spending 36 minutes in the queue to attend to my 3 minute over the counter transaction.

I hope I do not pay again courtesy of yet another “Indian” restaurant opened up.  The “Flavors of India” has opened about 100 metres on the sea-side of Vasco da Gamas restaurant.  The proprietor is Nepalese and tells me he is still in the setup phase but expects to be fully kitted up in about 2 weeks.  He assures me he does not use oil and that this is healthy Indian food.  In the interests of random-ness, give it a try.  It is open, quiet and airy and suggests lunchtime is a good time to start.  (Tiger beer is $2 and cold.)

The fruit and veg markets on Comorro road have now finally completely moved – mostly to the old Comorro market area which extends from Comorro Road towards the sea for about 200 metres.  Pumpkins finished, papaya hard to find (except out near Liquica), plenty of bananas, mangos, potatos, limes, tomatoes and greens.  Beans OK, as are snow peas.

Largest Floating Bookshop coming to Dili

The World’s Oldest Passenger Ship and
Largest Floating Bookshop on her first visit to Timor-Leste

November 5 – 10, 2008
Dili – The DOULOS will open to the public for the first time in history in the port of Dili, on November 5, 2008.

This World’s Oldest Ocean-going Passenger Ship has been crossing oceans and building bridges between the nations for over 30 years by promoting Knowledge, Help and Hope. The ship’s volunteer crew of 320 people from 50 countries offers an unique opportunity to cross cultural barriers, and raise cultural awareness and understanding of other cultures. Members of the public have opportunities to meet the international crew, experience the numerous cultures on board, and discover more about this historic ship.

The DOULOS is operated by the non-profit charity organization Gute Bücher für Alle (“Good Books for All”), based in Germany. The ship was originally built in 1914 – this makes her only 2 years younger than the Titanic! It is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Oldest Ocean-going Passenger Ship still active. In the past 31 years, the DOULOS has visited almost 600 ports in 103 countries, and has welcomed over 21 million visitors on board. East Timor will be the 104th country she will visit.

The 130-meter ocean-going vessel offers the World’s Largest Floating Book Exhibition with 8,000 titles in English and a selection in Bahasa. The books cover a wide range of subjects: Dictionaries, novels, cooking, hobbies, sports, medicinal, Bibles, children books, Chrisitian books, etc… During her 6 days stay, various programs such as school visits and International Music Cafes will be offered.

Opening Hours: Everyday, 09:30am – 18:00

Entrance Fee: Free

Note: The ship’s largest event is actually held on-shore. The International Cultural Festival will take place at Salão Delta Nova, 18:00, on the 5th of November, 2008.

Tickets: US$ 1,00
Available at:
Zeon International (Mouzinho de Albuquerque Colmera)
Loja Livru Gracia (Kuluhun st.)
For more information, please check

Felipe Boechat
Email: [email protected]



HORAS : 09:30 – 18:00 TL (Loke Loron – Loron)

The job fair

If you were in the region of the Leader supermarket or the Dili Club yesterday, you would have been unable to miss the job fair at Salon Delta Nova.  The street was blocked and at least 1,000 (mostly male) 15 to 25-year olds were pressed up against the gates.  I guess this meant that the Salon itself (a large warehouse sized building) was already chock-a-block.

I suppose this is a practical measure of youth unemployment and demand for jobs that at the moment are in short supply.  Any thought of sticking my nose in was quashed by the sight.  PNTL and ISF were strategically placed just in case frustration in waiting boiled over into anti-social behaviour.

The first rain of the wet season probably cooled things off around 4:30pm.  First rain for ages – I loved it.

A new online business directory for CovaLima has been announced and you can find this at :

This is the 2nd of a planned 13 district business guides.  The test will be if they are kept up-to-date.

ADDENDUM (1 day later) :

Correct me if I have got this wrong but I was told that the job fair only had one company advertising its wares – a Chinese oil company and only 20 jobs were on offer.  I have filed this in the weird department.

A couple of events

It may be a bit late but the Alola Foundation is having a 20% off sale today (ie Saturday 20 Sept. 10am to 3pm).  All sorts of tais-based goods are available and these days, things like laptop bags and trendy document wallets are also there.  If you haven’t been to Alola, its about 300 metres south (ie towards the hills) from the big roundabout near the Stadium – on your right.  Stock up for XMas presents … did I just say that !?

On September 27, there is the “Great Dili Dally Car Rally”.  (Note to file : Do not go out cycling that day !)  $10 Adults, $5 children, free for under 10s.  Phone 7328804 if interested.  Proceeds go to the Fuan Nabilan centre for blind children.

Amendment : if children under 10 are getting to drive around Dili for free, then I’ll not only lock up the bicycle but climb up a mango tree until its over.

Olympics passes without a murmur here

It came and went.  I saw a bit of the opening ceremony but not the lighting of the torch or the guy racing around the top of the stadium.  Saw a couple of video clips of sporting events, mostly of smiling faces on podiums collecting medals.  Did not see the closing ceremony.  Have’nt heard anyone even discuss the Olympics.

A short-term egg shortage appears to have resolved itself.  It appeared eggs were unobtainable for about 10 days.  I was in a supermarket in Audian a couple of days ago and there was clearly a run on a new egg shipment.

I am not sure how the food distribution system operates but it is obviously all tied up with ship movements.  But I remain perplexed that local production of things such as eggs is never enough to meet local demand.

A new ANZ ATM machine is due to open at the airport soon.  So it may be possible to obtain cash on arrival in the not too distant future.

An “International Expo” is being held at Mercado Lama over the next few days.  There are some tais stalls but for those who have been to the last 2 such events here, it is more a mixed bag with a variety of government departments and some international companies (eg Timor Telecom, CCT, Ensul).  Even if you dont think it applies to you, if you look at it from a “getting it together” point-of-view, it is a pretty well put together event.  Also tons of plants to buy.   Runs from Wednesday (ie yesterday) to Sunday.

The PNTL (ie police) have clamped down on shabby parking and are pinging cars parked on the right-hand side of one-way streets.  This has affected parking outside the ANZ Bank, Kmanek Supermarket (ie Cold Storage) and in the small street next to Hotel Timor, in particular.  People have reported police removing licence plates and more recently letting down tyres.  It appears that one way to avoid “prosecution” is to merely park on the “footpath”.  This seems to be OK.

It must be a slow week over at Chateau FOS.

Falintil Day

Today is another public holiday and it has been pretty quiet out there today.  I realised that the reason for my increased surliness recently while on the bicycle has been the increased road traffic of late.  No problems today but when one is cycling on the correct side of the road near the edge and some pillock overtakes heading straight for you and flashes headlights and hits the horn indicating it is my responsibility to evade him, well …

Anyway, the Falintil boys had a bit of a parade outside the Palacio to celebrate Falintil Day.  The lads eschewed (I finally get to use this word instead of “avoid”) the use of canned music and elected to go for the military band option.  My camera has saved a part of this performance (with sound) as a momento to be replayed in my old age.

A few days ago, a new arriver in town asked about acquiring running shoes.  My answer was the “Oceano” department store near the ANZ Bank.  However, I did do a whip through the Colmera shops today and there are more options than I imagined.  There is no doubt that there is more stuff available now, even if most is at the lower end.  I still go with the “Oceano” option for running shoes.

And the bookshop in Colmera was jam-packed with customers – most books were in Bahasa Indonesian as they are at almost all bookshops in town.  The official languages are Portuguese and Tetum.

Holiday Weekend Things

The streets are a bit quieter except for the military parade practice outside the Palacio accompanied by street closures.

The old Jardim IDP camp outside Hotel Timor has a bright shiny tin fence encircling it.  It also has a developers sign which is a pretty good indication that its days as a park are over.  The sign mentions 3 companies : Home Rest International, Diamond Sea Development and Pacific Timor Internet.

There is a new restaurant down at the Metiaut seaside strip – the New Paradise.  It appears to be aiming at the higher end and has a sense of permanency about it.  It may well be a new incarnation of the old Paradise Balinese restaurant which means involvement by Andy – lately of Hotel Vila Verde.

There is a brand-spanking new white line down the centre of the road from the President’s house right into town (or almost as I don’t think it has quite made it all the way yet).

In Australian Rules football news, the Timor-Leste Crocs defeated the East Dili Eels 8-3-51 to 6-7-43 at the National Stadium.  The Crocs crocks sustained moderate injuries with Crocs full-back, Daisy injuring his wrist requiring hospital treatment.  Another injury to an Eels player resulted in the Crocs captain switching sides to even up the numbers.  The Crocs played like a rabble after that turncoat effort but held on to win thanks to some poor goal kicking by the Eels late in the game.

Oecussi Festival

Unless I am sadly mistaken, it is Oecussi Festival time.  This coming weekend is a long weekend (ie Timorese public holiday on Friday) so it ought to be the big weekend for this festival.  Google has failed to come up with any more information than that.  I understand that the Nakroma (ie Dili-Oecussi ferry) has a few maintenance issues at the moment and may be out of action which is really good timing for the festival.

So if you come across Dr.Who in your travels, hijack the Tardus and get along down to Oecussi for an old fashioned Timorese knees-up.  There is also the Oecussi races down by the sea on a track that gives the Dili Tasi Tolu track a run for its money – as do the Oecussi horses I am told.  Be prepared for some rustic “tau osan”.  Oecussi is pretty much BYO.

National Parks, movies & doorhandles

Today marks the official opening of the Santana National Park which is located way out east past Los Palos.  Yesterday marked the 7am to 5pm closure of streets in central Dili in order to make a movie – an invasion scene for the forthcoming “Balibo Five” movie.

The day before that, a friend arrived in the kitchen at home holding the door handle which had parted ways with the door while entering.  It was clearly an omen ….

For a total eclipse of the sun.  Not here in Dili but it may be partially visible around 5:30pm.