The day after I arrived in Timor-Leste, I made the six-hour journey up to the mountain town of Ainaro. I rode on some vehicle which was not quite an anguna (term borrowed from Indonesian: an anguna is a pick-up truck with seats in the back, so people can ride in it) and not quite a bus--it was open-air, like an anguna, but with seats facing forward, like a bus, rather than parallel to the side of the vehicle, like an anguna. There were sacks of rice on the floor, for delivery along the way, and other goods loaded on the roof. We started out from the market in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, with people filling all the seats and sitting on the floor (on top of the rice) and hanging on the back, and we picked up more people as we went.Some of the young people who hung on the back
There was music playing--here's a taste of it:
(If the embedding doesn't work for you, you can find the 14-second video here
Here's the sound system:
Early on, we passed the Santa Cruz cemetery, where, in 1991, the Indonesian army killed some 250 people who were demonstrating for independence (more on that here,
courtesy of Wikipedia).
Victor, the man I was sitting next to on the bus, asked me if I knew the story of the cemetery. We communicated with my very rudimentary Tetun and his equally limited English. I think with grave face more than with words I was able to convey that I did.Victor
We bounced along, and eventually had a rest stop. This enterprising twelve-year-old (age is one of the questions people in Timor-Leste like to ask and share, at least with foreigners), engaged me in conversation in English and introduced me to her mother.
I shared round my big 1.5-liter bottle of drinking water (purchased in Dili for fifty cents). Meanwhile, some of the younger boys were eating what looked like puffed pork rinds, dyed green, probably purchased at the little shop where we'd stopped.
Along the way I saw lots of little roadside stands with 1.5-liter water bottles like mine recycled, filled with... tea? Something pale and golden, and sometimes also something dark dark brown. No, not tea. Can you guess? I realized what it was when I saw someone with a cloth-lined funnel, pouring some into his motor bike. Yes: gasoline (petrol), and also diesel. No gas stations along the road, but lots of these little roadside stands.
More tomorrow or the next day... I have tabs open on so many of your entries, and by now you've probably all posted new ones. With time I'll get back in the groove! And in time there'll be more (I hope, I intend) than just-the-facts-ma'am reportage. Maybe I'll alternate? Some posts that are reflective and some that are pictures? Or take things as they come... Anyway, do feel free to ask questions!