Killing time (and roosters)

I became a professional waitress briefly last year. But I had long been an accomplished “waiter” — that is, person who kills time without getting overly anxious.

In Baguia, my skills were put to the test. I had to wait from Wednesday through Friday, with some interesting conversations and opportunities to ask questions about language and culture to Tio Martinho, his older brother and his children.

Tio Martinho invests quite a lot of time and energy in his roosters. Cock fighting can be quite a lucrative endeavor. But for most, it is a way to, well, kill time and hang out with peers.

I took a couple of photos of him at dusk having his roosters joust in front of the house. He has 10 all up, mostly tied up in the back right next to the kitchen. They eat corn. They probably eat better than many Timorese during the hungry season.



They are like gladiators. Trained and fed, and tied up to increase their anger, and then thrown into a ring with razors tied to their feet. Not pretty.

On Saturday morning, as I had no word from Professor and was hoping he would come pick me up, I decided to climb 40 minutes above Baguia to get cel phone reception. Martinho’s son guided me up there. For most of the rather strenuous climb, I had assumed we would be going over a really high-up rocky ridge to get the network from Baucau. But luckily for me, about 300m below this ridge, one gets the network all the way from Lospalos.

Tourist and I had passed this mobile tower on our epic bike ride which seemed a lifetime ago.

Turned out Professor was coming with J, probably one of the toughest people I know, a German anthropologist up in central mountain community two hours uphill walk from the nearest administrative post. She had come down to the coast to come along east. It was going to be an exciting Sunday and Monday.



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