Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sunday Market

Today's Catch

Timor Leste Independent Film Festival

All the speeches had been made, everyone, including East Timor's president, had gone through the breakfast buffet line and settled into their seats for the six films in the independent film festival here in Dili at the Hotel Timor.

As the screen came to life -- suddenly, the room and the screen were plunged into darkness. Another power cut. It didn't last but a few seconds, but it meant re-setting the projector. The host apologized, but everyone seemed to understand. One person said -- "is this some kind of a joke."

He had no doubt attended what was to have been the screening of the films the previous night, when a power outage forced the hotel to crank up its generator. The generator ran for a few seconds before it blew up.

Fortunately, today's outage, followed by two more, lasted only a few seconds.

All six short films were produced by Timorese film makers -- some of the films were quite good.

The theme of the festival was peace.

One film, titled Dear Mom, told the story of an East Timorese student at the University of Hawaii, writing a letter to her mom back home as her country was exploding into violence in 2006. Another focused on the "peace" graffiti around Dili -- and included interviews with residents about what peace means to them.

I had to leave the film festival before the final film was shown. As I walked toward the back of the hall, the lights went out again and the screen went blank.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Of Rats and Man

I'm temporarily staying in a hotel until my apartment is ready and as I was sitting at my computer the other evening, I caught sight of something black and furry out of the corner of my eye. A few seconds later, it reappeared from behind a large vase in the room -- a fuzzy black mouse. A short time later, I spotted another one as it scampered under my bed.

The next morning, I notified the maid and she nodded that she understood and would take care of the problem.

There'd been a huge gap between the bottom of the hotel room door and the floor, but now, someone had nailed a piece of rubber to the bottom of the door. No more mice.

Tonight, as I sat at a table across from the hotel's outdoor bar -- sipping a beer and talking to a friend -- I saw a huge rat run along the floor in front of the bar. A huge Australian guy was standing at the bar -- talking to the female bartender -- when suddenly the rat started moving toward the guy. My friend and I watch as the rat climbs on the top of the guy's sandals and sits there for maybe 10 seconds -- before running under a huge planter. The guy at the bar didn't even notice. The rat was half the size of a cat.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fishing at Low Tide

I'm living in Hotel Dili for the next week or so and often wander across the street where a short walk through the trees takes you to this view. Fishermen are out early with their nets and boats. Fishing, as an industry, is virtually non-existent -- which makes for lots and lots of fish. The land mass in the background is Atauro -- an island that also belongs to Timor Leste.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Horse Power on the Sea

The young man rode his horse out into the water -- just off Dili. Moments after he passed the boat, he jumped from the horse and let the horse pull him through the water. He held onto the tail and the reins.

The horse seemed to enjoy it. Just before coming to shore, the rider bathed the horse's face with water. The horse was rather reluctant to leave the water.