It took three days, but at long last we are in Dili, Timor-Leste’s (somewhat) bustling capital!
After wanting to visit East Timor for a very, very, very, very, very long time, I have to admit that I’m a bit disappointed. Starting with the assault of cab drivers at the airport and concluding four hours later with our inability to find a single cafe that was open, I could feel myself slowly deflating the more we wandered around Dili. (It turns out it was a public holiday that day, which explains the lack of food options.)
The harbor and the main boardwalk itself were quite beautiful, with rolling hills flanking the pristine blue water of the Wetar Strait, but a beautiful view can only hold your attention for so long against the heat of the tropical sun, the hunger that jetlag’s awkward eating schedule brings, and the acrid burn caused by the smoke of burning garbage. (Dili has no public waste management system, so most people get rid of their trash by lighting it on fire.)
I have to put all this in perspective though: our end goal is not this shabby yet up-and-coming city, but rather a national park that by all accounts is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. A Norwegian girl at our hostel has been here for a week, spending her days diving at sites just outside of the city, and has fallen in love with Timor-Leste. Hopefully, by the end of this trip we will to!