Since not much is about Timor-Leste island, I am trying to post as much as I can to help out future generations to come as tourists or even living abroad about this nation and hope one day it doesn’t lose its identity, cultural nor its love.
Early morning, roosters and hens making noise, wind is picking up and sun coming up, it’s 6am. Everyone already up, smell in the air, making breakfast and starting day. Though during the day I rarely see any take naps always moving and hustling just to feed or make their nest a little better. While most have batteries and solar panels and small gardens, but yet don’t know how or never been taught proper procedures of farming or gardening. A land where people sleep wherever, old people climb trees with ease and 50 years old looks 35 here. This Is the village life, this is where I spent 8 days with Timor-Lestes people on the small island only connecting two other smaller islands, having three islands in total, north of Darwin Australia, one hour by flight. Welcome to the land of a newly independent nation.
My 8 days on the island Atauro island was my highlight, in and out of villages has been most wonderful, for my health, spirit and consciousness. Meditation has come at ease with peace, sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks, stars shinning more than ever in my hammock and the lovely impact the Christian Timor-Leste people have been. The love, kind, generosity, has made me a better man, at the same time of giving them my learning curve of making them a better village. Few knew English, but when one did, few time was wasted on words that never mattered for the community. I would spend long talks, on subjects that needed to be addressed from farming techniques, to erosion control and even health concerns. On erosion water control, this country only has rain for about four months out of the year and the rest is dry, dusty, and very little water. Every river and small body of water is dried up. The best advantage to fix this is through a control system of making big holes throughout the rivers and near hills where water can be kept stored, such as a pond or lake for periods of time. They couldn’t thank me enough, even as this might be a no brainer to most, too villagers it’s everything. Farming skills is very little, here with them primarily eating coconut, corn and beans with rice of course. They don’t know how to simply get the seeds out of a vegetable, dry it out and then replant. I talked about them, the basics of any vegetables that grow in the ground can be cut at the head or even in half such as a potato, stored in a damp cloth, in a dark place, for a week or two and once you see sprouts you can replant and get around ten potatoes per plant. Taught them that vegetables can be grown on a hill side so no other animals can get to them such as pigs, dogs, chickens. The very little I could teach them in my short time, was enough for them to praise me forever. I am glad I stepped ground here.
Walking in this rough terrain, from sharp jagged rocks, to the constant dry dirt and dust of the summer months of August, carrying 20 kilos of mainly water and food for a whole week. When I first attended this trip to go into the wilderness and see how the real local village people lived, I choose the island north of Dili called Atauro, because primarily it is not easy getting around Timor at all. The roads are so bad most buses won’t take you, too travel 50 km might take you 4 hours. So I took the ferry here, cost of four dollars one way on Saturday and decided to walk around the whole island.
I didn’t think that many lived on this island and I surely didn’t think I was going to run into real tribal villagers. The people walking barefoot, having no cellular service, eating one, maybe twice a day, to growing, fishing, just to eat daily with no refrigerators and only few actually having very little power such as led lights running off a battery and small solar panels. As for the modern day solar panels these people would have never known about this technology if it wasn’t for a politician to try and win by giving almost every family in the country a little two hand sized solar panel. Most of the people fish either with nets or spear diving while some say they can hold their breathe for five minutes.
Atauro is truly an amazing place with so much history behind it. The people are beyond friendly and opened armed, my course was a good route. From starting on the east port heading north to Akrema meeting a tour guide Ellas (#78012661)
To him having a camp, setting up my hammock and resting on the soft, white beach sand with super swallow water and lots of vegetation and coral to explore. It was a good retreat.
After him taking me to the next village of Adara village I set up my next camp. Their is many villages and spring wells in between but definitely bring extra food and water just in case.
I also have put lots of information down on maps.me which is a fabulous app to have when traveling as it needs no data. Just download and go. After I left this village I headed to Atekru village, central west and meet a man named Joky,
heavily injured on his leg, knowing little english, he told me about the tragic story. Diving, something poisonous got him near the rocks on his leg and it was bad, very infected and has been injured for two months. The muscle is dead and infection running deep I gave him some hydrogen peroxide and some iodine to have him clean up and keep it a little healthy. But I knew he had to see a doctor and get it cleaned out soon before he catches something like gangrene and has to cut his leg off or maybe perhaps could die. With what little money I do have, I told him I would help him see the doctor and get back to his family. I granted him $40 and wish I could give more but at least it is enough to go by ferry, eat some food, homestay, bus, some money down on hospital visit and get back home to his family.
The kid is 23 and I would feel horrible if he couldn’t get it fixed up and healed properly.
In my times of travels, I have helped out hundreds of people, with little money I could give, I gave them attention and what I could afford through my knowledge in the medical industry or just simply giving some food or clothes to ones in need. I have gave away what is my most reliable source which is my time. I can’t express how much I have helped people all over the world by giving some insights and knowledge on a better situation. I hope one day I can have a organization such as Red Cross but actually give 100% of the donated money instead of being greedy like Red Cross and only giving 20%.
So after meeting Joky and helping out with so much we headed to Dili but first I have to tell you where he took me too. He took me to two places, one which consisted of a large coral reef 100 feet above the seal level now, which was so beautiful seeing old giant clams shells and many sea shells along with gorgeous coral markings. You see are planet turns, changes and reshapes. This phenomenon happens all the time throughout the history of planet earth and is changing rapidly now as well. The north and south poles are switching and this is why we our experiencing so much trauma in our world today. So be prepared because much more is to come. Being so close to Lombok Indonesia I hope it can recover from the devastation of the many earthquakes this month around August 2018.
The next stop was old ancient drawings from which geologists say they are 18,000 years old. Now I know enough information to pass the truth down to all you. When a geologist measures the year of something they do it by measuring the rock next to the item. Well we all have enough common sense to know rock is much older than the item. With that being said regardless this is how the geological system measures such things. Which is ridiculous also to note that people do not know this. Sometimes they measure the strength of the item along with the rock and make an estimated guess. This is why you see items that say ” this bone or between 1,000-20,000 years old. Like really 🤔, hello absolutely insane and pathetic for a human to even acknowledge this. Well anyways here is some pictures.
And I would like Joky, which actually helped the geologist for 17 days at $10 a day walking around seeing all this artifacts, get some more contribution for him and his village. So I will not post names of the cave and I hope no one else does either. If you want to see here is his information or you can hike around like I did 👊
I bought a chicken for some money and I had to kill it. Joky said he can’t kill his own animals but can kill others. Ok no problem.
It was surely an awesome experience being with him and his family teaching and showing them many things.
I can say one thing, the island lacks some fishing gear as using nets is useless. Simple strings, hook and weights can catch fish so much quicker. I left many things behind on my journey here at the island and the people loved all my gifts. I recommend any where a traveler goes to local villages any little bit can help.
After 40 hours of walking I finally ended up in Berau village which is south. I hoped on a $5 local boat and headed in which took nearly two hours. It was a good journey, I can’t thank Joky enough. I heard if people are lucky they get to spot whales and lots of dolphins off the coast of Atauro island. I didn’t spot any but maybe wrong season. Something else to look up if interested in traveling.
Timor is a very new country and half the country was wiped off the map by Indonesia for many years with Timor-Leste actually becoming independent in 1999. With losing a million or so citizens the United Nations came in actually to finally help out a country. So sad that it took so many lives for our tax money to actually help fragile humans out. Upon the request Indonesia left, killing and tearing up everything in its path from destroying roads, bombing bridges, ripping the power out and much more devastation. The people in this country are so kind hearted they pretty much have already forgave and forgotten the tragic outcome and as a nation still rebuilding itself day by day. So needless to say the tourism here isn’t the biggest nor by far reliable. But to see a nation growing quickly, being so lovely and trying to look out for future generations. The country is primarily at heart with one city, the capital named Dili. The country poses a little over a million people and half the population lies in the capital. Booming with foreigner businesses, having 9 or more university’s, a port being laid out by Japanese and many other nations here such as China, Australia, America and many more rebuilding this country. The nation has a long ways to go and still lives like its 50 years ago with little technology. It certainly feels it is 50 maybe 100 years old in many ways from people carrying pigs down the street to sell, having a huge market throughout the streets to getting married and giving some pigs, goats, money and some items such as a blanket to get married. I suppose it just depends on where you come from or where you are at of how much you do give to the family of the woman. Even if you commit a crime here you just have to pay your fines and dues through the process of giving up animals. Crazy. This nation belonged to Portugal long time ago and still today this nations shares and has many ties with the European country. Now that other nations such as America and Australia with bullying military style agendas, they represent a huge part of the formal new government being put at play. And don’t forget China wants in, with trying to upgrade the nation through power, cellular and road systems, it has been quite a battle between all this in the upcoming years from me herring that Timor actually finally got a government in place 15 years after their independence. The time is slow, island time for sure, you can really feel the effect of this just about anywhere you go. It’s a time where no time exist. It could be done today, tomorrow or next week and still might not be done all the way. Where people start their day at 4:30 am and just about everything closed at 6 pm. You just never know what the day will bring here. As a traveler you really have to plan so much to be here because a couple days here, maybe nothing will be open. Sunday’s is a huge day with 80% of the country highly involved in the religion here, nothing is hardly opened in Sunday’s. And Saturday everything closes super early to get ready for Sunday’s and Monday’s phish 😬, it’s just a day that might get started and might not. Friday’s is the big day in Dili where everyone parties at about two main locations. Everyone goes to the sky bar and eats and listens to some live music which closes around 10pm. Then everyone heads to a couple clubs which one main one is called the casa musica which cost five dollars to enter and is an ok place but don’t start jumping until 1 am. Like everyone goes back home to take a nap. 😜 absolutely just insane here how things operate.
Old cars, old homes, just about everyone has a speaker system. Music is a huge part of their culture here even in the villages people will have nothing but will have a big battery to store power for their big speakers. Cell service is really shitty and only one Atm that actually works for foreigners which charges you $7 if you draw out $100 or $500. The country uses American dollar but has its own change system. The bank Azr seems to be the only one to actually operate for foreigners and I heard it plans on shutting down in the future. So if plan on traveling do your homework for sure even coming here for a visa run. The country charges you $30 to enter weather it’s five days or thirty and will only give you the days on your passport you actual ask for. I also heard their is a $10 cover at the airport for leaving. Immigration was pretty easy and I had actually came by land from Kupang, Indonesia which was a 14 hour bus ride which cost 225,000 rupees through the agency of paradise travels. Another agency timor travels also has the same route and price. I see the border is gonna open up for vehicles soon and maybe that will make this country have some more money. This country sponsors a lot of gambling and is trying to have a huge gambling resort in Oe-Cusse, which I heard is supposed to be one of the biggest in the world. Cusse is a piece of land on the Indonesia side and I think they want Timor citizens to travel through instead of doing transportation by boat. Either way this country is trying to grow and will be growing rapidly in the upcoming years. I have not been to Oe-Cusse but I have heard it is nice with lots of jungle and trekking, casino halls and resorts along with diving. You would have to do research if what to go. The ferry on Saturday will bring you for cheap but the ferry only runs on Saturday so you would have to stay a week. They do have boat systems, but the others are not cheap. Many people say Timor is expensive and this is non sense. The hotels are outrageous and the foreign restaurants are not cheap at all either. But local food is cheap, and local department stores are cheap, hostels can be found from $7-$20 and walking around asking people you could probably easily find a local to open up their home to you for free or super cheap. You can take the local bus/van system for 25cents just about anywhere in town and can also take the bus system or ferries but time vary dramatically. So this country is just as cheap as the rest of south east Asia you just have to be on your toes here to get the good prices. So things can be the highest price I have ever seen such as this tabasco sauce and some can be super cheap.
The country is interesting for sure and surely not worth coming just for a visa run. Everyone that does come for a day or two survey regrets it when they arrive. With an international airport probably being one of the smallest in the world you instantly get a different vibe when you step foot here. As far as the airport goes, it’s tricky, and for a heads up plan ahead. All the planes work together and if not enough passengers which generally is the case all morning flights get transferred to the evening flights and could possibly be delays if not cancelled until the following day. So be aware of this and plan. I can’t stress enough about the planning here because if you want to do anything in this nation such as going to the mountain for trekking or hot springs you need to give a day or two extra. Things can change here in a split second. Renting a car is easier than finding a motorbike with a car renting for $40 a day to a 4×4 that can cost around $100 a day which you most likely will need to travel. If you do find a bike be prepared for it costing $25 a day and you not getting much anywhere and being a dust mask. A lot of people walk here and actually a lot of people run also. In the morning you will find dozens of people running and preparing for the day. Sports is a big impact among the nation here with football being the biggest. You could find a bicycle to possibly rent but buying one is affordable also if maybe you want to bike around the country for a couple months. It is supposedly pretty easy to extend your visa here. I’d recommend coming after the rain season around March to see the country when it is full green. So all in all I hope you have enjoyed this blog, like, share, comment, so we as travelers and backpackers can help one another out. If I have any more detail I will put at the bottom here. Enjoy and cheers.