Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back-dated news for week ending 9th Aug 2012


  • · Watching the sports channels at the Dili Beach Hotel
  • · Bike repairs and Tetun lessons at DIT
  • · Tour de Timor
  • · Scrabble and my first seven-letter word!
  • · Smidgens of the Olympic games
  • · Which side of a locked door (broken) do you really want to be?
  • · Blocked drains

Nothing much happened the week ending on the 9th, so the above will have to do.

Sunday was a nice slow day and it didn’t really take off, apart from the 06:30 walk over the hill, back over ‘Crista Rae’ and breakfast on the beach at 08:30, until 16:00 (4pm) when I met Elmo outside the NZ Embassy and we walked on down Beach road to… the Dili Beach Hotel, where we grabbed a table on the second floor balcony. No need for walls or windows provided great views over the road to the beach and beyond to Atauro Island in the distance.

We made it there just before the Super 15 final between the Chiefs and the Sharks. Lots of vocal support for the Chiefs, but the few South Africans kept rather quiet. Four bottles of ‘Bintang’ beer kept us and the bar owner happy for a couple of hours. NB: while the local brew is cheap and sold in clear, recycled water bottles by the side of the road in a range of interesting colours – bright blue and dark green seem to be common, I think it is probably wiser to stick with a more expensive, yet consistent product.

Language is important and here it is ‘Tetun’, yet the necessity doesn’t make the learning any easier for me. This was the finish of week one of lessons at the Dili Institute of Technology. Being four hours every morning in a modified shipping container with four others. I have struggled due to my consistent history of never successfully learning another language. This is slow work, yet I can pick out a word or two from the advertising around town now and say good morning: “Diak ka lae?” Literally it means ‘Good or bad?’ or ‘How are you?’

· The tour de Timor sounded like an exciting to turn up for except for:

· My bike is really only suitable for a 10-15 minute trundle around the streets and no further

· The entry for the race is US$1,000

· Entries are closed because the event is sold out

· The tour takes place next month and I have not trained properly and not at all in the tropics

Hmmm, maybe next year, along with better equipment, training and dosh for an entry.

Every 2nd Monday evening, alternating weeks to the Tuesday quiz, a few of us meet at a café to play scrabble. Some players are very good and know many odd, legal words. Anyway, I started one game and got my first ever seven letter word! This is pretty good, as I was suddenly well out in front as I not only got the double word score + 50 more points as well for using all the letters J. I think the word was something like ‘Placing’.

My scrabble nemesis got a seven-letter word herself later on and beat me in the end by about 10 points L C’est la vie

I got to see some of the Kiwi team do their show jumping (Dili Beach Hotel) and then nothing more, as I don’t have easy access to a TV. The internet is US$1 per hour from home and the English newspaper comes out once a month. Still, I can check out once a day and peruse for variety.

The door to my room had its lock broken. Darned inconvenient as I + Elmo had our gear in the room and locked it in as we went off for dinner about 7pm. When we got back, the lock freely moved in strange ways. There was no change in the locking bar, so we eventually had to leave our gear there and go home. My house key was in my bag, in the room, so I had to wait for my landlady to come home and have her husband let me in through the back door. Next day I think they got a professional locksmith in and the new assembly now looks and works quite nicely.

My drain in the tiled ‘bathroom’ (neither actual bath nor sink – just a toilet + a plastic bin filled with water and a scoop to fling the water around) got backed up and the close inspection showed that it had been cemented into the floor and could not be unscrewed or lifted. An old family trick came in use here: caustic soda (aka sodium hydroxide or NaOH). After buying some and dumping a quantity on the drain opening I added some water then quickly left while it bubbled and fizzed and turned the nasty stuff into soap-like stuff. All working properly now.

got the double word score + 50 more points .

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