Yesterday and today we went way off the beaten path. We headed to the second largest city in East Timor, Baucau, which is really more of a seaside village than a city.
The 10 of us hired a private van to take us to Baucau and back the next day, with a driver that would take us anywhere we wanted to go for $110 USD total excluding petrol. The journey itself towards the eastern end of the country was a stunning drive in of itself:
When we got to Baucau, you can say we were the most popular kids in town.
We headed into the largest market in Baucau, which pretty much translates to being one of the biggest markets in the country.
When we started interacting with the kids, you can see that a kind of wonderful chaos ensued:
So many warm, fuzzy, feelings.
We then headed to explore the old colonial center where many of the old, burned down buildings from the days of Indonesian occupation had been cleaned up and renovated. Nevertheless, it still felt like we were walking through somewhat of a ghost town.
Then we enjoyed a homecooked dinner at our beach bungalow homestay.
But then there was the night.
Imagine floating on a deserted beach that you have all to yourself, staring up at a black sky filled with stars. An hour later you get the moon slowly rising over the ocean, illuminating all the reasons you ever needed to explain why you went travelling in the first place.
As you wade in the sea, bioluminescence of countless phytoplankton begin to appear all around you, lighting up the waters around you with every movement. The scene from “The Beach” plays in your head as you didn’t think movie moments like that would come true. Well, it came true for all of us.
The next morning we took another dip in the sea and played football with the local children.
Afterwards we learned that our bus that would take us back to Dili had broken down and that another one had been sent for us in its stead. That was a blessing in disguise as it allowed us more time to wander Baucau. Eventually we got back to Dili in the evening.
After freshening up in the hostel, we headed to the fish markets on the other side of the Dili pier for some fresh seafood BBQ:
If that didn’t make you hungry, I don’t know what will.
– At time of posting in Baucau, East Timor, it was 82.4 °F – Humidity: 75% | Wind Speed: 3km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy