Away from Dili

Had a rather wonderful day out in the countryside around Dili on the Sunday. A very different world, of course, and the influence of the city doesn’t extend very far beyond urban limits. It’s a rural, agricultural world. In some parts rice paddies, which I hadn’t expected. Lots of goats & chickens on & beside the roads, sometimes cattle in a field, occasionally a pig wearing a board under its chin (designed to stop them roaming too far, apparently). A chicken formed part of our lunch – we stopped at the sole restaurant in Gleno and were served rice and a piece of chicken, spinach & a bowl of clear, possibly squash, soup. Not a culinary triumph, the chicken a little tough, the rice a little hard, and the spinach definitely overcooked, but adequate enough. And, after all, they weren’t claiming any Michelin stars!

But perhaps the highlight of our day out, for me, anyway, was the market we stopped at. Lots of produce for sale, including beautiful pale purple eggplants, long and thin. And strings of betel nut, looking like dried shellfish with a woody texture. Not tempted to try, mind you.

Most of the fresh produce, though, goes to Dili. We gave a man a lift on our return; he was taking bags of small red tomatoes, and bundles of greens, to the town market. Don’t suppose it earns him much, but maybe something towards sugar, rice, school fees …


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