Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fried Kitten - East Timor 23rd May 2010

I haven’t updated this blog for a long time, but recent funny events have inspired me to. Because we are always saying.....Only in Timor.

Every day something breaks, sometimes multiple things break, it’s a fact of life out here. Sometimes they can be simple things such as the cheap Chinese plastic toilet plunger (you can’t buy quality, so you buy in bulk!) to very complex and expensive things like the compressor.
Well this year has been a marathon of things breaking. I’m not allowed to go on holiday because I’m jinxed. Every time I go on holiday something major breaks the very next day. The Jan 09 trip to Bali, we had a lightning strike that blew up the office laptop. September’s trip to Bali ended up with a wrecked Landcruiser. And Dim’s parting words to me when I set off for Perth in April was ‘What can go wrong?’ the very next day the boat sunk!

So I no longer get surprised when something gets broken, it only irritates me when I get told ‘Already broken long time’, because that’s the time you really need the item in question. Anyway yesterday was no exception; the first broken thing was the minibus.

Unfortunately, having a busy restaurant above us invites the families of stray cats to hang out near the bins. The kittens are cute when they are tiny but soon grow up into pests. However being a soppy animal lover I would never harm them. The weather has been cooler at night due to the amazing torrents of rain we have been having. So as animals do, little kitten sought out warmth and nestled into the engine of the minibus unbeknown to us.

Of course in the morning Antonio moved the minibus a few foot before the noise made him stop. All I could see of little kitty was a tiny tail hanging down out of the bottom of the car. It took about 2 hours before they could get it out and then I was asked for 20c so they could give it a decent burial. Unfortunately it then took another 2 hours to get the 2 fan belts back on. Poor kitty definitely didn’t have 9 lives.

Yesterday the rain was horrendous, we have been having huge downpours daily for the last couple of weeks, but yesterday we had two downpours. One of the units had been flooded recently so Greg and I donned swimming togs and ran round to assist only to find the swimming pool was brimming. We couldn’t drain it as the tank for the overflow was already overflowing. There was only one thing for it, jump in the pool with buckets and bail it out. That was until one bright spark bystander suggested we siphoned it off with the pool cleaner hose, much easier and quicker.

Other amusing ditties that have happened in East Timor recently is the new immigration Laws(?) You can no longer get a visa on arrival at the border with Indonesia. The only way you can get a visa on arrival is to fly in because the consulates in Kupang and Bali can’t issue visas. However some tourists were getting through on a 7 day visa while others were turned away completely. One of our tourists coming from Italy flew into Kupang, then had to fly to Bali and then to Dili as he didn’t want to waste the time and risk being turned away. Another tourist was stuck here because of the volcanic ash in Europe. Still, there are worse places to be.

Now the ports authority is another thing. We were expecting a shipment of mattresses from Indonesia. Our man that can went to get the container on the Thursday but the port was having a power cut and the backup generator could not power their computers, so they couldn’t release the container. Same thing on Friday. Then it’s the weekend and they don’t work on the weekend. Monday the National Police decided due to traffic problems that the container trucks could not go on the road until after 6pm. Unfortunately the Ports Authority finish work at 5pm. So again no containers were moving and boats were backing up unable to unload. Eventually after a huge fight between the Police and the Ports Authority, containers started to move again. We eventually got our shipment a week later. One poor bugger was in the same situation as us and the Ports Authority tried to charge him for storage!

Well the only things that have broken today is the wires on the water fountain shorted and the light over the BBQ has broken and the waterproof coating we put on the truck has disintegrated, but it is only 5pm......what next?