Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mothers Day 2009

We went out to Bob’s Rock for Just Add Water to just add water to her sadly dehydrated physiology.

I took photos on the way (set on Flickr) but most of them were blurred. Some things stuck with me, however. There were goats on the beach, a heavily pregnant pig which desperately wanted to pinch all our food and a couple of dogs, similarly motivated. Sometimes the pig would start to make a move on the food only for the dog to warn it off – a bit of an amusing game, all said.

Also we drove through an IDP [internally displaced persons] camp. This was a bit of an eye opener. I had expected UN supplied tents and folks sitting around doing nothing. Neither was the case. They had constructed huts out of local materials, the roads were lined with stacks of firewood and there were little canteens and such selling the necessities of life. Commerce was quite active. The denuded hills behind the camp pointed to the source of the firewood. These people are refugees in their own country, displaced largely in 2006 in the most recent round of significant civil strife. The Government is trying to resettle them back in their villages, but problems remain.

At Bob’s Rock, Just Add Water spent 90 minutes underwater on each tank, which is really low air consumption – good value for money, too! I just sat and read, as my initial snorkelling plans were derailed by murky water and a report of strong currents.

On the way back, we saw an accident near where we had dived, but the ambulance was approaching and we had no room in the car. Then we were diverted, as a UN car had apparently fallen off a low bridge just coming in to Dili proper. Then we were diverted again near the Royal Thai Embassy, for reasons that were not clear, but involved swags of police.

I later found out that, apart from these accidents, two young Timorese men had drowned that weekend, swimming near Cristo Rei in Dili. Unlike Just Add Water’s dive at Bob’s Rock, there are treacherous currents in front of Cristo Rei, the two men did not have scuba tanks and they were not Dili locals. Both left behind young families and one had just graduated from university with a master’s degree in international relations – a tragic loss for both his family and the nation. I had met him at several Rotary meetings. The other turned out to be a friend of my Tetun instructor.

Although this sounds fairly alarming, I mention its more by way of assuring people that this sort of thing is not normal. I see very few traffic accidents, despite the often carefree approach to driving.

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