Hola from Timor Leste!
That’s not a Spanish “hola,” or even a Portugese one. It’s Tetum, a blend of Portugese, Bahasa and the native tongue. Timor Leste was one of the countries that, to be honest, I was not all that excited about. And boy was I wrong. The visit to this country split my Bali time, so I was already annoyed by it, but its beauty far made up for it.
It’s situated just North of Australia, South of Indonesia and West of Papua New Guinea. It is the youngest Asian country, achieving independence as recently as 2002. But unlike the tropical islands of the Pacific, TL brings it with topographical diversity. I was there during the end of dry season, so while I enjoyed a break from humidity, the hills were also rocking a nice shade of brown, rather than the usual lush green.
TL is in the Coral Triangle, meaning the waters are great for snorkeling and diving. A quick swim off the coast is met with incredible coral and sea life, and it’s not a tourist attraction, but just another day at the beach for the locals.
The food continued to cement my new love for Asian cuisine. You go to a Warang and for $3, point at the food that looks interesting and you probably won’t be disappointed. I know there was eggplant and unripe papaya, but that’s about all I know. Other than that there wasn’t any ever left on my plate.
I wanted to drive around and am so happy that I was unsuccessful in finding a scooter, because the drive ended up being bumpy and dusty. I’d say it’s safe to assume that I would have definitely hurt myself. But driving around the island left me only wanting more. More mountains, beach, cliffs, lakes. It was intensely beautiful.
I think that part of the allure is that it hasn’t been commercialized yet. I laughed as I thought of it as the only place I’ve seen where I could be stunned by driving with massive mountains to my left, the ocean nudging the shore to my right and waiting for goats to cross the road.
I also made you a quick video of the three things I learned in TL.
Timor, I’ll definitely be back. In awhile, crocodile. (note: if you didn’t watch the video, that’s funny because they have horrifying sea crocodiles there that are apparently larger and more dangerous than regular, sweet crocs)