Thursday, March 5, 2009

Endless Summer

I've never lived in air conditioning as much as I do now. It's not so much the heat as the humidity. I find myself planning my walks early in the morning -- and if I go to lunch and decide to walk -- I always try to make sure that it is less than ten minutes, otherwise, your clothes get pretty wet and you look like you just climbed out of the swimming pool.

The other thing that I have to be mindful of is spraying myself with mosquito spray each morning -- and when I arrive back home at night. The mosquitoes at night can give you malaria, the ones just after dawn, but just before dusk can give you dengue fever.

One colleague has had malaria five times and dengue fever three times. Dengue fever can be quite nasty -- causing brain damage. I sleep under a mosquito net.

This is not to say life in Timor-Leste is not good. It is. It is just an adjustment, like anywhere else you might live. In Mongolia, six months out of the year, I had to tread carefully on two-inch ice on the sidewalks and make sure I was covered up to avoid frostbite.

I eat fresh fish three or four times a week. Today, I had fresh crabs and a salad -- all the vegetables were organic. For breakfast, it's fresh pineapple, newly picked bananas and maybe a glass of fresh-squeezed juice. And then there's the people -- some of the friendliest people on Earth. A smile here is contagious.