Cultural events

It may be a bit late but this weekend at the Mercado Lama building, there is a “Home and Garden Expo”.  I have been and if you are souvenir hunting, it is the place to go.  More than half the stalls are selling tais (from everywhere) and the woven grass products (from Maubara) and I would have thought all targeted at the malae market.

Yes, you can buy plants (as you can every Saturday morning across from Tiger Fuels anyway), hardware items and the odd bit of brick paving.  It feels exactly like the “buy Timorese” expo held at the same venue about a month ago.  If this were monthly and they had a bit of a coffee shop with the top shelf stuff and some bakery items, maybe a bit more furniture, I could imagine it extending into something quite worthwhile and enduring.  Freshly roasted coffee, freshly roasted peanuts, freshly toasted foccaccia  😛 …

Over the next week, there is also a photographic exhibition across the road from the Australian Embassy by Gavin Cooper (closes 6 July).

This is the funniest thing I have heard for a long time.  You had to be there but imagine a group of people in jovial mood being told that one of their (malae) number had just failed their Timorese driving test.  There was that completely uncontrolled outburst of laughter that I have not heard for a very long time – many tears.  You had to be there.

Jackie Chan and the frigate

If you have nothing better to do, Jackie Chan (a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador) will be “interacting with youth” at the Dili Stadium from 4:30pm today.  And if you see a naval vessel down at the docks, it is a French frigate on its annual goodwill tour of the region.

Lots of goodwill today.  I bet the best restaurant in town is parked at the Dili port.

Timor-Leste Crocs football

Recently, I was a little disturbed that I was not called on to offer my silky skills to the newly-formed “Timor-Leste Crocs” AFL football team *.  Obviously, the news of my dog bite and tree incident travels fast and they assumed I was on the injury list.  The Crocs went to Bali to play in the 2008 Bali Nines competition (because 9 players fit more easily into the much smaller soccer pitch playing area).

However, I have made myself available for the next match which is coming up soon I believe here in Dili.  My health insurance is paid up and I need a trip to Darwin anyway 🙂

I think the Crocs came 6th out of 9 teams and played against the elite of expat-based teams from Bali, Jakarta, Borneo, Dubai and a couple of others.  The boys were extremely complimentary towards the standard of playing surface in Bali.  It is a pity I don’t play too well on the bumpy surface likely here in Dili.  (This is called excuse forward planning.)

Watch out for this memorable game coming up soon.

* AFL means Australian Rules football.  Normally 18 players a side on thee ground at the one time.

Weekly Digestive

It took a few passes before I worked out what has happened with a few restaurants down at Metiaut, towards Christ Rei.  It looks like Sabai Sabai has gone and after a few renovations, it looks like the Garden 88 restaurant has replaced it.  A little further down, Tuk Tuk has now opened – it is the Thai Jasmin but in a new location.  There is also another new one without a name right next to Long Beach Health Club.

This follows the closure of Enigma’s beach-side restaurant operation and the renovations to the beach-side operations of the Atlantic Grill and Sol e Mar.  Sol e Mar is no longer the small, quiet cozy juice bar.  The beach operation is now a fully fledged retaurant and bar and across the road, the main building is being completely re-built and about 5 times bigger.  Who knows what it will look like.

The traffic yesterday was apalling around the Palacio.  Someone told me it was Xanana’s birthday.  If that is true, he must have been having it at his new office location which is on the western side of Lita supermarket.

Timor Diver is right on the money re. motorcyclists and helmets.  Over the last month, I have seen at least 5 occasions when a helmet goes rolling down the street. These are the “ice-cream container” helmets made of thin and useless plastic and utterly pointless if not strapped on at all.

I have noticed the high tides of late crashing over seawalls in a couple of places, dumping water and tons of sand. I can’t wait for that king tide coupled with a nice northerly wind whipping up some big high waves. Could be interesting.

Student demonstrations

On Wednesday, students at the National University (just behind the Parliament Building) put on a rally demonstrating against the government providing new cars to all MPs.  They claim that in a time of increasing food prices, the poorer people in this country are having a struggle just to get enough food.  The government claim that MPs need cars to do their jobs.

From what I heard, it sounded very entertaining but appeared to have no effect on the government decision and security was never really an issue.

That night, I was woken several times by “yahooing” out in the street – motorcycles revving, car horns blowing, chanting.  Sounds travel a long way in the dead of a still Dili night and maybe my brain is sensitised to these sorts of sounds after 2006.  “Damn those students, I said … I need sleep”.  Gong !  It turned out it was a cheerful group doing some serious celebrating after a football game.

OOPS : Local papers report that following discussions between the government and the students, the students actually got the government to back off and reduce the number of new cars from the 65 planned to a much lower figure with none of them actually assigned to individual MPs.  Such success ought to get them employed as lobbyists for a whole range of issues.

Restaurants and the tremors

Looks like Megha Indian was just on holidays and it is back open.  Carlos (ie the 1st restaurant on the left in the Metiaut strip) has closed the beach road side of the operation and installed a flasher eatery across the road in the main building.

Sol e Mar (my favourite juice bar) has renovated its operation and the bit by the beach is now a flasher area but have yet to try.  The Atlantic Grill has also heavily developed its beach-side setup although it is a bit too formal for my taste.

I think there is a new Thai restaurant next to Sabai Sabai at Metiaut and I guess it is the new Tuk Tuk restaurant (ex Thai Jasmin) but no sign yet when I last went past.

If I am not mistaken, there was a little earth tremor at 10:45 pm last night.


The quake had a magnitude of 6.4 and struck 289 kilometres east of Dili at a depth of about 120 kilometres around 10:42 pm (1342 GMT).