Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lazy Sunday afternoon

As readers know, I live in a sports bar. This is not as bad as it sounds, particularly at lunchtime on Sunday. The football is up at one end of the bar and I’m at the other, looking out to sea. Vendors move slowly, sticking to the shade as much as possible, and families saunter up and down.

There are three main types of vendors. Some have pushcarts or tricycles and sell a range of snacks, drinks (including beer), cigarettes, phone cards etc. Then there are the guys who walk the streets with a pole across their shoulders. From each end of the pole hang such things as fish, bananas, mangos, potted plants, live birds, bundles of oranges, bags of limes – a wide variety. You buy something from them and they cut the string attaching it to the pole and off you go. The third type are the likely lads, who wander the street selling tourist trash for 4 times its fair price – tais cloth, Timor Leste baseball caps, lanyards for hanging your pass on, cheap jewellery, banknotes from the previous regime etc. And, of course, cigarettes and phone cards.

From here I can see the port, boats, Ata├║ro Island and a wide sweep of ocean. Some days, although not today, the waters are brilliant blues and azures. Last night’s downpour has flushed a lot of mud into the harbour, dulling the colours.

There is a wind chime near where I am that, although soft, drowns out most of the noise from the televised rugby except the roar and the whistle when a try is scored.

Down on the beach, small children have entirely stripped off and are jumping up and down in the shallows. The boys seems to bathe naked up till perhaps 8 years old or so – the girls cover up at a much earlier age.

Some fishermen have pulled up their boat. Some are sorting and mending their nets, and one is cooking. Although from here I couldn’t possibly make out the details it is almost a certainty that they are boiling rice and chargrilling small sardine sized fish on skewers. I didn’t see them offload their main catch.

It really is peaceful.

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