Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Avoid the Front Seat!

The driver wanted to make sure his taxi smelled real good. There were five air freshners hanging from the ceiling.
Dili is blessed? with zillions of slow-moving taxis.

I take one each morning to work. I step outside my hotel and within 30 seconds one shows up -- turns the corner at the end of the street, spots me, toots his horn as if to 'I'm here, you need me' and stops.

I usually climb into the front seat since the driver never knows the place that I need to go and it's just easier to show him where to make the turns.  One day last week as I opened the front door to sit down -- there was a huge wet spot on the seat. I quickly settled myself into the back seat.

Today, no wet spot, but another hazard that I just didn't notice til I sat down. The driver had placed a heavy metal pipe across the ceiling -- so it was almost impossible for me to sit up straight without banging my head. Then, when I tried to lean toward the window, there was a huge pink heart ornament dangling from the ceiling -- I was surprised I hadn't noticed it when I got in.  It banged against my left ear the whole way to the office.

It's also nearly impossible to see out the windshield. I've noticed that more than one driver has installed little round mirrors on the passenger side windshield. All the mirrors face the driver. I'm not sure what purpose they serve other than a chance for the driver to check himself out in the mirror as he drives along at 20 miles an hour.

When we arrive at my office, most drivers smile and say --"yes, yes, yes" -- as if they knew all along where I needed to go.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Comfy, but Noisy

I found what I thought would be a cozy place to read -- the second floor veranda of my hotel here in Dili. It is hidden away with a big comfy couch. There's never anyone there.
Cozy, but....
I think I know why.

I had forgotten about the noise pollution of Dili. It is absolutely horrendous -- made so by motorbikes without mufflers, big trucks with screaming engines and small cars with big stereo systems going boom, boom, boom.

I was determined to make this place a hideaway -- on several occasions today I went out -- stayed a few minutes and just couldn't bear it any longer. Even though I was trying to get "lost" in my book, I found myself getting irritable for no reason at all. As soon as I walked back inside -- I was fine.
Some of the culprits!

It is common knowledge that noise pollution causes stress -- can even lead to health problems if it remains a constant in your life.  I remember my old apartment here in Dili -- it, too, was very noisy. In fact, it was so much so that if you wanted to watch TV -- I had to run the captions.  Now, at least, I can escape from that cozy couch, back into the AC where the noise is masked!