Timor-Leste: some things just can’t be done

Dili is an easy little town to live in: I can walk to work when it’s not too hot or too wet; feast on the most wonderful tomatoes; be adopted by a most excellent cat; wander along the coast to drink a coconut on the beach as the sun goes down; wear Birkenstocks to work; casually hang out with dolphins and whales; hike the steep hills right outside my door; lots and lots of good things.


As Mick sang somewhat repetitively, you can’t always get what you want. And he was right. Some things just can’t be done in Dili:

  1. Bank with a MasterCard – Since ANZ closed in September, there is not a single place in the country that will let me access cash with a MasterCard.
  2. STI screening – So I sorted this out on a trip to Melbourne in June. Phew.
  3. Have a bath – I do actually know someone in Dili who has a bath, but he is such a terrible person I’ve blocked his number. I don’t want a bath that badly.

Yep I would really like to have a bath, and I need to go to the bank so that I can have money to live. What to do?

Cheeky dolphin

Only one solution: Fly to the closest ATM that accepts MasterCard, and stay in a place with a bath. Don’t really have any other options. So off I go to Bali tomorrow – yes, I’m going to the bank, and yes, I’ve booked a little place in Ubud with a big bath.

My favourite hammock on Atauro Island, north of Dili.

Sure, it may seem strange to leave the country to meet some basic needs. For some context I’ve made a list of other things I can’t do in Dili, that I may be able to experience in Bali:

  1. Ride an escalator
  2. Eat vegetarian food which doesn’t have meat. Or fish. Or chicken.
  3. Purchase new clothes or shoes
  4. Visit a bookshop
  5. Purchase food in an airport
  6. Be out after dark without feeling like I’m doing something I shouldn’t
  7. Flush toilet paper
  8. Purchase high SPF sunscreen, fancy conditioner, and DEET
  9. Experience the magic of a postal service

Let the adventure begin.

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