More bustle

As far as I can tell, both Landmark and Lita supermarkets are now operating at normal stock levels. Opening times are restricted to daylight hours, but apart from yogurt, it all seems normal to me inside the stores themselves.

Landmark seems to have the added benefit of Malaysian troops using their front carpark as secure parking for their military vehicles. Lita store has no more fruit and veg operators across the road. The tell-tale signs of some torched stalls remain as a reminder.

The Colmera shops have rebounded into action over the last couple of days and perhaps a key indicator, the first computer shop (Mr.Bram) is now open.

The Sanan Rai restaurant/cafe opened again on Friday and in that general area on the eastern side of the Palacio do Governo, there is almost a bustle again. Bali Sunrise’s new incarnation as Terrace Cafe now actively promotes $6 burgers. The nearby Temptations restaurant/bar features $4 burgers. Is there an assumption that all the new troops in town are burger connoisseurs ? Misplaced for the moment as the boys are all operating dry at the moment and I think are not permitted to eat in local eateries. For the moment, it looks like consumption is restricted to soft drinks only.

But it is slightly deceptive. Maybe the expat oriented market is normalising but there is a long way to go for the local market. Most of the shop owners in central Dili have reasonably secure premises with metal shuttered doors. Very few domestic residences have this sort of security and I am still seeing the odd fully-laden truck of people and possessions leave town. The refugee camps show little sign of thinning out.

There has been a light thinning in the ranks of the press. There have been fewer incidents of late, more filler stories but given recent stories of political manipulation of the situation, an expectation that something may happen soon. Or maybe not.

Nevertheless, the body has flabbed up a bit over the last few weeks and a bit of tweaking was required. Despite advice to the contrary, I resumed my exercise regime down by the statue at Cristo Rei. If you want solitude, its the place to be. Of the 6 to 8 seaside restaurants on the way out, only the Paradise restaurant (Balinese) was open and operating as per normal. I couldn’t help noting that they are located right across the road from the Hotel Dili 2001 where the Portuguese military police have accommodated themselves. Heaven help anyone who causes any trouble down there.

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