Getting better

I tripped out to see what has become of Becora on the eastern outskirts of Dili. It was the scene of gunfighting between the FDTL and Major Alfredo’s break-away military police and also a lot of east vs. west clashes. Supposedly, it has settled down while Comorro to the west seems to be taking the heat right now.

Most of Becora is a ghost town and the area around the Becora market (and bus station) is a total mess similar to the destruction at Taibessi market a week or so ago. People are moving around but the hustle and bustle that once existed in the area is gone. It seems almost peaceful, only broken by the existence of a roadblock manned by NZ military looking for weapons in vehicles.

The Audian shops were more active than Saturday with perhaps 15 to 20% of shops now open. Cool Storage is operating normally but Lita and Leader remain closed. Someone told me Landmark supermarket is open if you knock. The ANZ bank was operating but little else in Avenida Nicolau Lobato.

I noted that it was the first day in a long time that I did not see plumes of smoke rising from the work of arsonists.

The Taibessi, Becora, Caicoli and Comorro markets are not operating in any normal way but with Taibessi market at least having some operation amongst the ashes. In recent days, fruit and veg sellers have appeared at numerous locations outside houses and in fact, this makes it easier for the shopper as I can buy this stuff much closer to home.

As for accommodation, the exit of residents has been replaced by an influx of the press and foreign military. Naturally, Hotel Timor is full, as is Hotel Dili and presumably Hotel Esplanada. Hotel Dili 2001 down towards Christo Rei has been compulsorily acquired by the Portuguese military police and the Australian Federal Police have taken over most of Timor Lodge Hotel, only leaving some of the long-term residents who are no longer permitted to eat in the hotel restaurant.

On the eating front, the Cafe Brasil and City Cafe are both open, joining the One More Bar and the Crazy Sandwich as the available eateries in that part of town. The Monkey Bar appears to be open based on the blackboard menu out by the roadside. Of course, the secluded Hotel Dili remains the institution that it is and along with the Monkey Bar, 2 of my preferred eateries.

On the esplanade to the west of town, the Castaway Bar is open as usual. The Beach Cafe remains closed but unaffected by any trouble. A smaller restaurant between Castaways and the Dili Beach Hotel was destroyed, suggesting to me specific targetting as no other place has been affected on that stretch of road. I had never been there and can not even remember its name now. The Esplanada Hotel remains open.

The Bali Sunrise is no more. It has now been dismantled and a new Bali Sunrise is now located behind the Palacio do Governo near Alfa Omega next to the University. The old location is finally making way for a new Chinese embassy.

As for the beach road on the eastern side of town, I have not been down there for weeks.