I surprised myself with how relaxed I was, being in a strange new place. I spent the morning building my bike and then took it out for a ride. I think I did really well to slot into local traffic. Hopefully the locals would agree! Riding was lots of fun and my months of experience in dealing with passing traffic in Australia served me well. My first stop was a shop where I got some passport-sized photos taken for my Indonesian visa application. I stood around at the counter for a while looking lost before a guy (who turned out to be the owner and who spends half of his time in Melbourne) asked if I needed help. He then helped me through the process and we had a good chat. He showed me pictures of two Saltwater Crocodiles that had been tormenting the Dili coast over the last few days. I rode to Timor Plaza where I started looking for a SIM card. The Timor Telecom shop said their system was down so they couldn’t sell SIM cards. The Telkomcel shop said they had ‘tourist SIMs’ for US$30. I suspected I could get a SIM for much cheaper, so I declined their offer. As I left Timor Plaza to find Leaders Supermarket, a street-seller outside approached me with a stack of SIM cards in his hand. As I started trying to get some information from him (How much? Are you sure they work?) I found myself surrounded by two security guards and a couple of other random guys. They were all just curious. I bought a SIM card for US$3 and put it in my phone immediately to test it. I tried to ask the seller and one of the security guards what their numbers were so I could do a test call, but they didn’t know what I was saying. Luckily one of the other spectators spoke enough English to understand me. I got him to read the automated text messages I received the moment I put my SIM card into my Australian unlocked phone. ‘Yes’, he said, ‘The SIM card works’. He used his own phone to call mine. Everything worked perfectly, so I now have a working phone. Next stop was Leaders for some grocery shopping. Despite hunting hard for methylated spirits for my cooking stove, and dragging an Australian lady who could speak Tetun along for the ride, I had no luck. I spent the next hour or two riding around town looking for metho at Landmark, Tiger Fuel and a few random hardware stores. I didn’t find any. By this time it was after 4pm so I headed home. I joined Ben for a drink at a beachside café with Shane (my original couchsurfing contact who put me onto Ben), Joel (a friend of Ben’s who also works at the national hospital) and Nick (a son of Ben’s colleague). At home again I cooked dinner and planned what I want to get done tomorrow. Now I am lying in bed under my mosquito net canopy.
|Distance ridden today||0km|
|Total distance ridden||8,366km|