After five amazing days on the “mountain” – lots of walking, talking, watching people smoke and eating organic rice – we made our way towards the dry, irritable coast and the Timor Telcom network.
Just past the terraced rice paddies of Samagata, the ocean still out of sight, I SMSed Dili to know if it had burned to the ground.
The “Report” was scheduled for today or yesterday.
No Dili had not burned, word from Docogirl was that it would be Thursday or Friday before the report got out.
Pedro dialed a family member who was well positioned to tell us the latest. He was told the “list” would be made public at 4pm.
Shortly after I texted this info back, from a barren mountaintop 100km East of Dili, and it was confirmed.
We would arrive in town the same hour the report would be released.
Pedro was bué (really) nervous. He smoked about 3 packs of cloves cigarettes on the way.
A Kiwi roadblock stopped us in Hera. The goofy white soldiers tried to converse with Pedro and driver in bad Tetun. I intervened. A Maori soldier stood in the background, silent with arms crossed.
“Anthropology? I don’t even know what the fuck that is! You can go,” and he waved us through. That was the UN’s “show of force” to reassure us before the release of the report.
Dili was quiet. No plumes of smoke above the city. Very little car traffic. A lot of buses to Baucau parked at Meli-At, the beach area, maybe positioned to make an evening break for it.
All the staff at the house had gone home when I got in, leaving all of the doors unusually locked. Pedro was nervous to get back to Becora before his “unknown enemy” neighbors torched what was left of his hostel Vila Harmonia.
I paid clumsily for his help, and gave him “A Travessia” by Luis Cardoso, a friend of his a long way back. Something positive to keep him going through all of this madness.
I’m going to spend all night writing up the time on the mountain. I now see “colonialism” in a whole new light, and the rebellion as well. Things are (obviously) so much more complex than we could ever imagine.
I’m headed back out, carless this time, with my mountain bike, as soon as possible, probably Thursday or Friday.