Though it is quite unusual to see a lone foreign female walking the street even during daytime but with nothing else to do it became my official weekend past time.
Starting from my apartment at Rua Hudilaran with this amazing view of my neighbor backyard of freshly planted banana trees, I often make my way to Rua Presidente Nicola Lobato and from there decide whether I will turn left towards Timor Plaza or right towards Colmera.
Streets in Dili is quite clean, praises goes to the Timorese who actually keep it clean on their own accords, meaning no paid government aids to sweep the streets. The huge beautiful houses are either apartments or hotels for foreign community while a typical Timorese home is very simple, often with small shop selling groceries, home-grown vegetables or pile of old clothes.
To judge the influence of Bob Marley, Che Guevara and Jimi Hendrix to Timorese, don’t look any further but just turn on one corner and chances are a street graffiti bearing the famous faces can be seen.
If you don’t like to walk, don’t have a bicycle, motorcycle or a car, public transportation called Microlet is the next best option. They are colour and number coded according to the route it passes by. Most useful for those visiting East Timor is Microlet #10 which goes thru the seaside area of Dili.
How convenient and reliable Microlets are? This is something I cannot guarantee, but seeing the number of students patiently waiting in the street and how the locals squeeze each other for a ride maybe it is better to walk instead.
Using my Olympus Pen to take photographs, it is normal to see Timorese particularly kids running towards me and often mistaken me for a journalist. I think this impression has something to do with the fact that the only people they have seen so far walking around proudly with a camera are real deal journalist.
More often they will never let me go without at least taking their photographs and it is mandatory that I have to show them the result.
You have to understand that owning a camera in Dili is a luxury for many, thus most Timorese are often excited and intrigued on seeing themselves on your camera LCD.
I don’t mind taking their photos, I think it is quite fun and I even let them play with my camera for a while.
That smile on the kids face after he clicked the shutter and view the photograph he took is just priceless.
Not to far from Colmera, walking at the back side of Palacio de Governo are the Universidade Nasionál Timór Lorosa’e (National University of East Timor), the Arquivo & Museu da Resistência Timorense (Archives & Museum of East Timor Resistance) and Dili Sports Center.
Continuing the walk towards the seaside area, in front of Fatima Statue is Largo de Lecidere.
Bring your laptop and be in solidarity with the locals as they enjoy the free wireless connection courtesy of Timor Telecom.
Ditch your guidebooks when exploring Dili, all you need is a camera and willingness to explore and appreciate the city and its people.