Last week, a colleague and I went out for dinner. As we wandered along the main road (the ‘Comoro’ one to the airport) to the venue, he pointed out a parked ambulance to me. It was white and had emergency lights on the roof and green writing for identification. So far, so good. This one was different in that it had one of those stickers on it announcing ‘Ambulance’ in large letters, but in mirror writing. This is, of course, so other motorists can read the message, right-way-round, in their vehicle mirrors. “Now take a close look at that one”, he said. I then noted that the message was located above the rear doors. Hmmmm, “Go figure”, he said. I haven’t yet worked out a (clever) rational reason for that sticker location other than someone got it wrong and no one has bothered to make a correction. If medicine is about precision, then the message on this ambulance gives me some concern.
My coffee mugs are slightly too small to take the full contents of my coffee plunger. So I finally went shopping for bigger mug and found one, for $1.75, at the ‘Lita’ supermarket. The sturdy white thing has two pictures, one on either side, of the Coca Cola (traditional) Santa Claus + sack of goodies + reindeer. Why are such grand items gathering dust on a discounted shelf here in the tropics? When it gets cold here, then temperature does dip below 20 Celsius, but that’s still a way off from snow-time.
Since everyone in Dili is spoiled for fresh, choice coffee, $2 kg isn’t too bad, eh? I like to add something extra to the brew. In this case, chocolate milk, fresh out of the carton all the way from….um…Indonesia. The carton has a picture of a cow on it and the legend says ‘Indo Milk’ so it must have a milk component. Anyway, I digress. Lita has a shelf of items close to expiry and being on a budget, I explore this shelf regularly. Recently, I bought ‘Up & Go Liquid Breakfast’ (with the energy of two ‘Weetbix’©™) it is chocolate in colour and alleged flavour (can you see where this is going?). On its own, the sensation is of drinking pureed Weetbix + sugar + chocolate colour and flavour. Despite the striking illustrations on the carton, I am not a convert. Adding it to my coffee is of no benefit to either.
The local crossroads is a very busy place; slow to get through and frustrating for the people caught there every day. The police tasked with managing the ‘stop n go’ circus, don't appear to make a lot of difference. Yesterday there was a change; instead of four male police standing around and blowing their whistles, there was one woman police officer on duty. Does this mean that the job has been taken up a notch in importance or deemed less demanding? Maybe they should just put up some traffic lights (I recall it has been about seven years since they initially went in, so time for some more) I managed to nip through the congestion on my bicycle and made it to lunch at the ‘Dili Club’. My tyres have a flatter tread and I managed to pass many vans and cars that were slower than 30km/h.
Tuesday night was my first running of the local quiz competition! Andrew from http://www.trivianight.co.nz/ has helped out in a big way with the raw material, i.e. loads of questions and I removed all the Kiwi-orientated questions, as most people attending the quiz are either locals or foreigners from Australia, Portugal, England, US, Brazil and Indonesia. With such a grand selection of questions to choose from, what could go wrong? Never the less, I managed to make a mistake and that is what ‘quiz masters’ are remembered for. Here goes: ‘Name three countries that have borders on the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean’. I announced these were: Morocco, Spain and Portugal. Vocal corrections rapidly flowed in and I briefly considered packing up and going home…’No!’ take it as a learning experience (multiple ‘courses’ over the years have been of benefit) and move on. So ‘France’ was correct and Portugal wasn’t. The microphone I had specially bought for the occasion ($15) didn’t seem to work well enough, so I used my voice at 95% volume to reach all five teams (small, but manageable turn out). Richard did a vital job on the laptop with marking and entering results into the spreadsheet. We raised $75 for the Bairo Pite medical centre and $75 for the www.theschoolbag.org initiative (new to Timor Leste). On the plus side, we managed to get through over 80 questions and answers in less than two hours and that is about 30 more than I noticed previous competitions have achieved in a longer session. Richard and I are keen to give it another go and make a better job of it. So maybe in another 2 to four weeks?