There are a few things that are just for show in the bathroom of my room in the guesthouse called Café Maubisse. One is the flush button on the toilet. One is the shower head. Another is the wash basin. Flushing needs two scoops of water (or more, depending on how big…) Showering involves about ten scoops, probably fewer in the morning when the water is even colder than the startling temperature it is in the evening. The wash basin is just unusable. I cleaned my teeth just now, spat into the basin, then felt drops of spit land on my feet. The drain hole is not attached to a pipe, it’s just a hole. By force of habit I accidentally spat into it a second time.

Perhaps the main point of what I am saying is that I have made it to Maubisse, climbing 1,400m in two gruelling days. Waking up in the village of Madabenu early this morning, I packed my things, enjoyed a breakfast of fruit cut down from a tree in the yard (I don’t know the fruit’s name as I’d never seen one before, but it was green and pimply on the outside and the inside was pale yellow, dense and lightly fried) along with biscuits and coffee. Fina said this is what they have for breakfast every day. I left soon after breakfast and a crowd waved me off.

On arrival in Maubisse, I rode up to the Pousada in its grand location, but it was closed for renovations. By then it was raining. I returned to the town below and rode back up to the church where I thought a guesthouse was located. I tried to ask the only people around (a bunch of young school girls) who I should talk to but they just giggled and hid their faces. Returning to the street, an American-accented voice floated down from a balcony. ‘Looking for somewhere to stay?’ ‘Yep’, I answered. So, I have ended up at the guesthouse across the road from the church: Café Maubisse. Prush, the guy who had called out, helped me check in. He is in Timor-Leste completing a PhD in anthropology. I “showered” in my amazing bathroom and then went for a short walk around town with Prush. We ended back at the guesthouse for a US$2 dinner of rice, fried chicken, green vegetable, chips and the hottest chilli relish I have ever eaten.

Maubisse’s hilltop pousada

Accommodation $ Guesthouse
Distance ridden today 42.57km
Average cycling speed 8.5kph
Total distance ridden 8,448km