Friday, November 23, 2012

Successful quiz evening - Garden88 no more - 1st Lady Run - Scooters and riders meets eachother, the road & pedestrians in various combinations - Max Stahl

Blog ending 24th Nov 2012

Last night the Dili Hash House Harriers (H3) had a fundraising quiz plus some food  and drinks at the Cazbah, just off the beach, near Christo Rei. I got the questions together (thanks to Andrew at Kiwiz aka ) and we ran through six rounds in the end, with a couple of raffles and auctions thrown in to add variety. The auction featured two mint t-shirts from independence day in 2002; they went for over US$170 each (my opening bid of $20 was swatted aside like a mosquito ) I had to cycle the 6km with a whiteboard (for displaying the results) under my arm, so I was into my first drink fairly promptly. The microphone was dodgy from the start so my voice managed to give loud service to the end of the night. Why was the quiz run? To raise funds for training a kindergarten teacher in Dili. The target was about US$900 and we managed to top that with a total of about $1,800!  I am wearing a grey short-sleeve here: 

Thursday week ago, three of us did a morning run along the road to Christo Rei and we couldn’t help noticing that the ‘Garden 88’ restaurant had been burnt out. I guessed it may have been due businesses fighting over decreasing numbers of customers (NZ and Australian Army withdrawing as are UN personnel). A couple of days later I was told that the fire was probably due to young boys putting fire crackers in the thatching. The big celebration day had been on the 11th and everyone had bought fireworks. Even now they are still being let off at all hours of the night.
Last Sunday was the 1st Lady run. This is a big annual event and consists of a 10km run or a 5km walk. The H3 provide setup, traffic directing and barbeque help. I even managed to run, but suffered a bit in the heat and humidity. My time of 53minutes for the 10km isn’t very good but I managed to do it without walking. After crossing the line there were many blue ‘eskies’/chilly bins of cold drinks. I knocked off about 6-7 of the sport replacement ones (felt sick next day) to replace the sweat and distress. After that, I helped supervise the queue for the free sausages + onions + sauce on a bit of bread. The locals did not like lining up, but preferred to push in. This situation was sorted out in 5 minutes and I spent the next 45 minutes directing line-jumpers to the back of the queue. By then the non-runners (local kids and 'hangers-on') had worked out that they could also get free drinks and sausages so both resources went fairly quickly.

When we were all tidying up afterwards; picking up every piece of rubbish in the area, as well as our own, two bikes were wheeled past me. “Are they for sale?” I asked. Sure were!. A couple of people had donated them to Rotary after finishing the Tour de Timor and the idea was to auction them at teh run. This didn't happen, so they were going back to storage again. I offered $500 on a bike that apparently cost over a $1,000. The offer was accepted and my last week has been great, riding a slick machine with an Italian seat, hydraulic brakes and smooth gear changing. What you’d expect from a bike that only has about 600km on the clock.

Scooter incidences: I heard a story about a scooter accident nearly 10 days ago that involved a death. The teller of the story was driving a truck back from the interior of the island and found two scooters and four  people on the road. Two of the riders on one scooter were drunk and had been riding on the wrong side of the road, no helmets and at speed. When a local nurse finally arrived she flipped the guy with the worst head injury (bleeding from the nose and difficulty breathing) on to his back and put a saline drip into his arm. He stopped breathing almost immediately and then died, despite my friend’s final attempt at mouth to mouth and pushing on the guy’s heart. The ambulance finally arrived from Dili, but had no doctor. It did have 3-4 police with tape measures. They got out to measure up the accident scene and I gather the remaining, living, people were then loaded into the ambulance for the trip back to town – looking after themselves. Hmmmm.

I happened to see two guys on a scooter attempt to drive through the pedestrian crossing outside the  Lita supermarket last weekend. They hit an off duty local policeman who then grabbed the bike and forced it off the road. The pillion passenger quietly and quickly got off and walked away with a backward glance; so much for moral support. Another off duty cop came over and, holding his walki-talki, also started yelling at the motorcyclist. A crowd had now gathered and I though it time to leave. Ignoring the pedestrian crossings is common here.

The weekly films have started up again and next week they are showing a documentary: 'Bloodshot', using Max Stahl’s footage from the Santa Cruz Massacre of 1991. Why? Well people need to see something on the news – images are king. This was a major breakthrough in getting the world to notice East Timor and start the road to change with the Indonesians finally leaving in 1999

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