We could be happy. We should, shouldn’t we? I mean, we are in a tropical wonderland, the sea, good food, nice people and sunshine all day and all of it on a budget that is less than our rent back home. And we are enjoying it. If only I could convince my gut of the fact. Being separated from the bike for so long, plus the uncertainty of when exactly we will get it back creates this constant presence in the back of my mind. “This is not the trip, this is an interlude” – “Everything will be alright once you have the bike back”. For the most part, this was the first day where I could quiet that little voice enough to just enjoy myself and relax.
That is, until it all came rushing back to me. The VSA volunteers are an amazing bunch, but waves of doubt and terror washed over me when two of them started smirking at my expected timeline for getting the bike. The words “it might take weeks” were used and my heart skipped a beat. But no. They know a lot and were full of great advice for Dili, but when it comes to shipping bikes, I know my stuff, I have done my research. Only 3 more steps. The ship arrived in Darwin today, so the container (I know the number) needs to go onto the ANL Darwin trader; the ship needs to come to Dili, docking and unloading is scheduled for Monday, but might be delayed by up to 3 days due to traffic. Final step: The container goes to the bond yard, we pay and pick up our bike. Once it is in the bond yard, I can pester the shipping agent until they let me to my bike, so the only other delay may be getting the container from the wharf to the bond yard. A week in total, maybe, but not “weeks”.
So goes my mantra, and with that, I have managed to relax a bit. We spend the day reading, blogging and researching our next steps. The plan is for now to catch the cheap ferry to Atauro Island on Saturday and come back on Monday to sort out the bike.
We had lunch in a western style vegetarian café near Timor Plaza that Nina got recommended. The pieces and the décor made it clear that this is predominantly a place for malae (foreigners) – a fact highlighted by the two ridiculously out of place American ladies whose conversation on marketing skills would have been more suited to a posh LA café than a place surrounded by stray dogs and accessed via wooden planks over an open drain / stream. The food was good, but about 5x more expensive than our lunch yesterday. I guess, since this is the first place we ate at that handed out receipts, the western businessmen don’t care much about the price.
Half way through our almost customary afternoon nap, Herman came back. His afternoon meeting has fallen apart a bit, so he got spare time to pick us up and drive us around for some more sightseeing. This time, we went east, to the statue of Pope John Paul II, a little bit behind the airport. It tells you something about the level of catholic-ness when the capital city’s coastline is framed by two symbols of faith looking towards it.
To round off the day and get the sunset we missed last time, we went to a very posh bar on the eastern beach. Slouched on bean bags with a coke in hand, I was able to push the demon of bikelessness to the back for a while and enjoy the sunset.
Also not without mention should be our dinner, which Nina enjoyed immensely. We went back to the place from last night to check out their sit-down restaurant part serving Indian. The paneer was great. I love how international the food is in Dili, and how easy it is for Nina to find tasty vegetarian food.
So all was well … until the demon returns …