Timor Leste

After three pre-dawn starts over the past few days, it was a relief to arrive in Dili & know that I could settle for a while (and have a sleep-in tomorrow!). Flying in this morning, with white mist still clinging to the forested mountains, it looked green, lush, and there were fields of maize and bananas close to the airport. The land seemed to say, there’s no need to starve here. And, here in Dili, that’s certainly the case if you’re an expatriate. I guess this has been a UN town for years now, and no doubt all the infrastructure’s in place to supply the needs (wants?) of well-paid foreigners. I don’t think I could have been more surprised though than I was when, walking around the corner from the hotel, I came across a Turkish bakery. With strings of garlic and onions and chillies hanging above the counter, and the female staff (all of whom I’m sure were Timorese, and probably Catholic) wearing Turkish head scarves! But anyway, it certainly looked authentic and I couldn’t resist a feta and spinach filled bread, a pide I think. Even if probably made of 100% imported ingredients. I must say, though, I haven’t come across much that seems to be indigenous cuisine in my wanderings today. Early days of course, and I except the two sweet, ripe bananas I had at breakfast upon arrival. They were pretty good.

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