11 February – there is still an opera in all this

I have been reluctant to comment on the events of 11 February.  I wasn’t there and I thought that eventually some facts must come out.  There have all sorts of speculation on motives, the actual movements of the players and the odd bits of information here and there but there are still information gaps to be filled.

Key phrases in all this are : Who did it ? Why did they do it ?  What did they hope to achieve ? Why was Alfredo in a fresh and very expensive army uniform ?  Why the money in his pockets ?  What role did Angelita play ?  Were mind altering substances involved ?  Was it a carefully planned event or a complete balls-up ?

One day we may know.   Meanwhile, night curfew continues from 11pm to 5am until 22 April.  Afternoon rains have been fairly consistent over the last week thus upsetting my exercise schedule.  Beer prices over the bar have increased in most places to US$3 per tinny except for … where I will be this evening.  Sadly, the comic opera I once proposed for Major Alfredo may have to be re-written into tragedy (the operatic form I mean).

Easter curfew & eating

I am sure I am going to get this wrong but if I understand correctly, curfew hours were changed to 1am to 5am for the Easter period and will revert to 11pm to 5am after Easter.  Thats one more hour at night and in the morning.  Most people can not understand why there is a curfew at all but it does encourage better sleeping for some.

The restaurants and bars will be happier.  Down in the Metiaut area, the Enigma nightclub has morphed itself into the “Nelayan Restaurant” as the 100% nightclub scene has taken a big hit.  Across the road, the “Thai Foods” restaurant has had a name change to “Siam Reterong” but I think the staff and management are the same.

Easter has been very quiet.  At times, the churches are packed to the gunnels and if the F-FDTL roadblock near the lighthouse hasn’t caused enough traffic problems, the thousands of people standing in the streets just to participate in the services at Motael Church pretty much blocked the area completely.  The Pope would be pleased with turn-outs like this around the world.

Some restaurants are closed but numbers of eaters are down considerably so it is understandable.  Even Lita supermarket seemed to be closed today at lunchtime so Tiger Fuel became the spot for milk.  I guess things will loosen up over the rest of the weekend and I am not talking about my gastric system here.

Mobile phones and banking – just for Wade

In response to Wade who asks about mobile phones and the ANZ bank :

As far as I know, your foreign SIM chip will not do you any good here.  You can get a mobile phone on-contract or more commonly buy a pre-pay chip.  Right now, you can buy a phone plus pre-pay chip for US$30 including $5 worth of calls.

For more details on rates, go here : http://www.timortelecom.tp/eng/planos_mobile_uk.html

There is one ANZ bank which has an ATM machine at the branch and ATMs at Leader supermarket and Tiger Fuel.  These days, the ATMs work fine – it was not always like this.  I don’t regularly open bank accounts but I found no significant difference in opening an account then anywhere else.  I didn’t need a buttock print like in some places.  It all works for me these days.

As long as people don’t beat up the ATM machine (happened once) or the phone lines are not stolen for the copper value, they seem to work.

Wade, is there anything else I can do for you ?  Laundry ?  Personal training ?

St.Patricks Day

In Dili, this is my one day of the year when Guinness takes priority over all other forms of ingestible substances.  In fact, its the only day at all in Dili when it is possible to imbibe of the elixir of life – well, its the elixir until tomorrow morning.  It dredges up memories of evenings at Filthy McFaddens and afternoons around the keg …….

Getting back to reality for just a moment, the Riung Kuring restaurant seems to be now known as the “Wasabi” Japanese/Indonesian restaurant – card marked.  I think I recently called the “Sabai Sabai” restaurant (ex Soupys/Bangkok Thai) the Sabia.  You know what’s its like … you try to remember : “when I get home, its the Sabai, Sabai, Sabai,  Sabai,  Sabai,  Sabai”.  Then you get home and its the Sabia.  What was I thinking ?

These days, there is a new establishment next to the Sabai Sabai called the ???? which does body maintenance or something like that.  Presume I mean massage, hair cut or something along those lines.  I couldn’t remember that one by the time I got home either.

Its not all gravy though.  I once did the Guinness brewery tour and I wasn’t sure if I was in Disneyland Dublin-style or not.

Curfew schmurfew

A friend reminded me that I have been economical with my posts of late.  So in the interests of economy :


I recently went to the Gion Japanese and was pleased with the outcome.  On the subject of Japanese, the Riung Kuring Indonesian restaurant (Sundanese, I think) closed at the start of curfew but is coming back soon (if not already) with a Japanese menu.  I will be marking the card.  The Thai Jasmine also closed at the start of curfew (actually a planned owner holiday) but is open again.  The old cook from there is now down at Sabai Sabai (the old Soupy’s/Bangkok Thai).

Since ceasing drinking from the large water barrels,  my gastric system has been in top condition.  One recent set of tests that I am aware of showed that filtered bore water was of better quality than the barrel water.  This is but one set of tests – there may be product variation in your case.


There is still a week to go.  Not being a real night owl anyway, it hasn’t upset me too much as I am usually gone by 10pm anyway.  The vigorous activity from police and military in the first week or so of curfew has now fallen away and it pretty normal apart from the annoying roadblock on beach road from Motael Church down the the TSDA corner near the lighthouse.  Traffic has to hack its way through the backstreets of Motael.  I have heard that the boys at the police/military command centre in Memorial Hall are quite liking the facilities.  I suppose only a new (Chinese funded) F-FDTL HQ will see the roadblock go.

Although curfew is due to end on 23 March, if one accepts that the need to have it is still there, then one would expect it to continue.  However, although I am not that way inclined, it may upset some of those Easter-like rituals such as midnight mass and candle-lit prayer vigils etc.


It just seems that a lot of expats have acquired dengue this year.  I didn’t get it and I am glad I didn’t.

Bicycle tyres

I went over one year here before I had my first flat tyre on the bicycle.  I bought some green slime inserts from OZ and inserted them and things continued on fine until about 6 months ago.  I have had about 10 flat tyres since and about 5 this year.  Some of the recent ones were due to faulty inner tubes which were clearly tubes made from patched together pieces.  They simply blew apart.  I even resorted to buying new tyres.  Re. inner tubes, buyer beware.

Security things

In summary, although Susar and a couple of his mates have handed themselves in, Mr. Salsinha and his group remain somewhere in the Ermera area.  There were a few false reports of Salsinha handing himself in but as far as I know, it has not happened.  The UN have released very little information to the public since the President was shot.  There are tons of investigators working on all sorts of things but for the moment, details are not being released.

Mr. GS in number 57, your time is up.  Mr. GS response : “boys, keep pedalling”.