I spent a few days in Timor Leste (East Timor) one of the world’s youngest countries, last week. Though it is but a short flight away from the shores of Australia it is the first time I’ve been there. Here are a few shots of Dili the capital taken from the van I spent most of my time in.
On the Eastern outskirts of Dili is a huge statue of Christ standing on a globe (minus the Australian state of Tasmania) blessing the gorgeous bay of Dili. Timor is 99% Catholic and the Pope visited (when it was still a province of Indonesia) in 1989. This statue was erected by the Indonesian government as, in the words of one of our colleagues, ‘a way to keep us happy.’ I like the flare coming through the frame as if God himself was shining his light on Christ and the city.
Dili is small capital city. The entire country is small with a population between 650,000 and a million souls. Very poor souls but with a government that has several international statesmen and Nobel Peace Prize winners in it. Development is the key issue. The place is infested with international aid agencies and aid workers and white UN jeeps. It will soon be a bustling Asian metropolis and quaint buildings such as this orange colored workshop will give way to more ‘modern’ glitzy structures.
We stayed at the Hotel Esplanda on Rua Portugal that abuts the Timor Sea. Sunset is always lovely at the coast. Portugal was the colonizer but paid little attention to Timor which was used as a penal colony and source of coffee.
As sun sets local traders set up open-air food stands frequented primarily by locals. Expats watch the Olympics on big screens across the road as they eat pizza and pasta. The skewers are full of chicken, pork, beef and fish, caught straight out of the Sea.