Monday, July 15, 2013

East Timor - briefly

A rainbow at the training ground in Dili, surrounded by mountains
Its about time I posted some pictures from my recent visit to East Timor or Timor-Leste as its officially called. I was there for football and had little time for sightseeing aside from a trip to their most popular beach just outside the capital of Dili. Surrounded by mountains, the capital was pretty low-key, with just one main shopping mall to speak of, a large port, a population of under 200,000 and the locals had an indigenous look, which was a cross between mid-Pacific and Latin America. Timor has a long history of colonization and finally became independent from Indonesia in 2002 and as recently as 2006, in-fighting by the military caused significant damage to the city, which can still be seen in places. As a visiting football team, we had a constant police presence wherever we went - our Academy boys loved the interaction with the friendly motorcyle cops - though when we did interact with the locals, they came across as ultra-friendly and welcoming. Our hotel in Dili was comfortable enough, 2* in hotel-speak, and again they went out of their way to ensure we were well-fed and looked after. Overall it was an enjoyable experience for all concerned. The chanting of 'Cambodia' at the football stadium was a particularly welcome sound for our youngsters.
Our Dili hotel, the Audian

The impressive renovated sports stadium in Dili

Cristo Rei of Dili, a statue of Jesus Christ atop a summit on a peninsula overlooking their best beach

Another part of the coastline outside the capital

The main government building in Dili

A ruined building, left-over from the 2006 street fighting

A welcoming committee living opposite our hotel

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