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Dili - noisy, pretty dirty, cheap, Southeast Asia!

Tuesday, 07th of July, in the morning at the Darwin airport. We were just before boarding, when it was to go through the second security check. While Nadine had to stand with her hands up in one of those new full body scanners and was released after no more than five seconds, I was waiting beside two other security officials next to the hand luggage scanner and found that my passport obviously has not managed to exit the machine. 'Take a look in your pocket to see if your passport is there!' said a security officer to me. My answer: 'But it was YOU who I handed over my passport not a minute ago and then simply placed it on the conveyor belt!'. Well. After a long minute of searching, the passport was found under the unit. It must somehow have passed through a slit. Australia apparently did not want us to leave. With about 30 minutes delay, we flew in an Embraer E-170 towards Dili. After both the pilot and the flight attendant provided the wrong flight number while making their general announcement for three times we arrived in Dili in the late morning.

With having our travel intends in mind we hope this was our first and last flight til we reach Germany.

It did not took a minute until we realised: jepp! This is Southeast Asia!
After leaving the airport we were immediately surrounded by a handful of taxi drivers in a pincer movement, which should make a proceeding impossible. Actually our idea was using a "Microlet" (small, minibuses for 8 people, wherein up to 16 locals are taken) to ride to the hostel. But with our bulky backpacks we then opt for a taxi. With 20 km/h we drove in the city. I was still amazed at how the taxi driver managed to accelerate the motor never more than 1100 rpm throughout the journey. Because of this our butts vibrated on the rear seat. After arriving at the hostel and exiting the cab I successsfully managed to close the door after the third attempt already.

Dili - this town with its 230000 inhabitants was about to be our home for the next seven days at least, while we would wait wistfully for the vessel 'TeamSpirit' which should bring our car.

Approach Timor-Leste
Airport Dili
Main street in Dili

While doing our first walks through the town we got the first impressions of Timor-Leste. Like in most countries in SE Asia most of the locals are slim, curious about foreigners and especially in Dili most of the locals seem to be younger than 30 years.
The language barrier still makes it difficult to get in better contact with the locals. Most do not speak any word in English and we opt between basic words in Tetun and Portuguese which is always appriciated with a smile.

After walking along the waterfront, seeing the presidental palace, two museums and some streets with all kinds of stores, we came to the opinion that Dili is not as attractive for tourists, as it is mentioned in the Lonely Planet travel guide for example.
However, we are pleased about the yet very cheap prices in the country: for the equivalent of of 4.5 $US we got two full meals including a drink. Great thing.
Internet connectivity belongs to the more luxury goods and is extremely slow. One is happy when managing to check for e-mails. I did three spot tests in the town center just to check for the presence of any wifi connection: none. Also mobile receiption is not available with our both German and Australian mobile phones.

On Monday, 14th of July, we got up at 4am to watch the world cup final together with an Irish girl, a French and three locals in the backyard while having 26°C, wearing long cloths (due to heaps of midges).
Perhaps I was responsible for waking up fellow hostel guest at a certain moment...

We hope that we can pick up our car from the port during the next two days but we are still sceptical towards the schedule of the vessels.

One evening we got to know a local journalist, who together with his wife invited us to his place in a village in the mountains. We will keep that in mind when starting our road trip through the countries and are excited about seeing more of the country.

Rubbish in Dili
Waterfront in Dili
Public Viewing in the hostel

Since Timor-Leste is only a small country and at the very beginning of our road trip we already might leaves the country for West Timor (Indonesia) after two days. Our next place with a name will be Kupang, a town at the west end of Timor island, where we will use the ferry to Flores.

While being in Darwin we met two English motor cyclists, who will join us through Myanmar. Maybe we also meet a dutch couple somewhere in Indonesia who also wants to join us.

If only the car would finally arrive in Dili...