Snorkeling 5 minutes outside of Dili by 7:50am Sunday morning. The sensation of rolling out of bed into that beautiful aquarium at the doctor’s office.

Three hours later, we were driving through shady Acacia forests through waxy dark green coffee trees. The smell of coffee on the tree. Headed up to Turiscai, the home of the polygot-troll Xavier do Amaral. Who we coincidentally met on the road above Dili. In shorts, with the henna dye fast fading from his hair. He told us to ‘take care’ and that the turn off from well-paved road would take 2-1/2 hours.

The road was serpentine, with major drainage problems. Men on horseback were going as fast as we were. It took a little over an hour to reach Turiscai. A new ruined Chefe-de-Posto’s residence to inspect. A new cemetery to cruize through (most graves were of very large families, with the majority of deceased from the late 1970s). After our walk around town, we bought two boxes of raisins (half full) and made our way back.

Passing old aluminum-wire satellite dishes, inverted, being used for clotheslines.

It reminded me of the rather post-apocolyptic story told by a Kiwi telecoms engineer. He arrived in 1999, shortly after the peacekeepers. The telecoms guys hoped to find the just newly-installed Indonesian microwave network, reaching almost every sub-district in Timor. They were crossing their fingers that it may have been spared the destruction. But across Timor, after the violence it seems, people entered the telecoms spots and pulled out the microwave transmitters. The casings were used for water-dippers, the wires used to bind house-hold objects together.

A vision of computers used to weigh down tin roof tops. Of ethernet cable used as lassos. Mobile phone casings used to hold honey, for cough-medicine.


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