As the day wore on, it was clear the streets were steadily thinning of people. I know of a Timorese guy who went home from work yesterday and found his village on the outskirts of town virtually deserted. His family called him from Liquica, about 30kms to the west. The village had freaked – he still doesn’t know exactly why.
There appears to be fewer taxis and a number are driving around with cracked windscreens. Street vendors have all but disappeared. Large scale absenteeism from work continues.
I know this sounds wacko, but the feeling in my water is that 20 to 30% of Dili’s population has left town, or at least left home.
Word has it that a number of senior people in the civil and military administration have moved their families out of Dili. This is not sending a tremendously encouraging signal.
On the brighter side, I have been enormously impressed by the work of the catholic church through the seminaries etc. There are a number of highly intelligent, well organised and disciplined priests who are real doers and have got stuck into reparation work for those who have lost houses or a place to stay.
All in all, everything has gone exceptionally quiet. After dark, it is as quiet as I have ever heard. Its like everyone is just waiting for something to happen, but no-one can think of exactly what it might be.