Bacau Bound and Timorese Teenage Boys

After overnighting in Dili, we hopped on the 9 am mikrolet to Bacau, a large city about four hours to the east.  To be frank, it was quite the four hours. The roads in Timor are absolutely terrible and many are on a sheer cliff face overlooking the ocean, resulting in both sore asses and heart-stopping moments of terror. In addition to being nauseating and overcrowded, we made the poor move of sitting in the back row, where there are no distinct seats so as many people as possible will try to sit there. I think the record on the trips was six, including a kindly old woman who kept feeding my brother roasted peanuts.

This Mikrolet didn’t quite make it

As white foreigners, we were quite the novelty on this tiny bus. (Although its incredibly expensive at $100 a day, most tourists to Timor-Leste opt to rent a car. After our first mikrolet experience, I can understand why.) As a group that included two foreign women, the attention was not the kind we wanted.

Our guest house was at the very end of the road in Old Town Bacau and so we were the very last travelers left on the bus. It was us and a group of six rowdy teenage boys, who seemed to somehow work for the driver or were just simply along for the ride. But the longer it was just us on the bus, the more amped they got, each trying to out show the others, starting, yelling things at us in Tetum, getting in our personal space. We were already on edge from before, as one had tried to grope Katie about an hour and a half into the ride, and the last ten minutes were among the most uncomfortable in my life, with one particularly stocky boy with a mohawk leaning over the seat in front of me until his face was less than six inches from mine, stating at me intently until I reacted (which I thankfully never let myself do when confronted by stupid men).

Relaxing on the veranda after the long ride
Relaxing on the veranda after the long ride

When we reached our stop we literally jumped off the bus, with the obnoxious boys carelessly throwing our backpacks out after us in the dirt. Unemployment is a big issue here, which probably explains why six teenage boys were riding a bus for four hours for no apparent reason on a Thursday, but I don’t think Timorese teenagers are my favorite people.

But after that memorable bus ride, we were pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness and comfort of our guest house and its pretty veranda. The plan is to relax here for the rest of the day and try to make our way to Com by tomorrow afternoon.

Lunch/Dinner in Bacau
Lunch/Dinner in Bacau

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