Street Traders, Dili, Timor Leste

One of the pleasures of my full day’s walk along the coastline in Dili, Timor Leste, was the number of bars and restaurants along the shore. These were very welcome, given that the temperature quickly reached 35°C, necessitating breaks for water or orange juice every couple of kilometres.

As well as bars and restaurants, there are plenty of enterprising itinerant traders selling a variety of products and produce and who add to the colour of the area. I was nevertheless surprised to see the Union Jack design on the handcart in the above photo, as Timor Leste’s history is linked to that of Portugal, Netherlands and Indonesia and not the UK.

With its long coastline, you would expect the inhabitants of Dili to take advantage of the sea: ffishermen do not have to travel far to make a catch. Both day and night, boats can be seen not far from the shore reeling in their full nets. In a previous post I showed boats fishing adjacent to the beach, assisted on the beach by eager children. If you sit at a beachside restaurant in the early evening, you can see the shoals shimmering just below the surface.

Much of the catch does not have far to travel before finding a purchaser, as can be seen on this stall.


By the time I reached the furthest point of my walk, I was grateful to find yet another drinks cart. Timorese appear to enjoy having their photograph taken. This may not be obvious from the following photo, where the cheerful owner of the business thought I wanted to photograph his cart and stepped aside.


Fruit, too, is readily available. Towards the centre of town, you could remain in the same place all day and buy all the food and drink you need for a simple picnic. The fruit sold, in particular the citrus, is perfectly fresh and appealing.


In the centre of town, you can stop motorbikes selling fish, although this is not to be recommended. Firstly, because you can buy it directly from the boat, or from a fish stall on the beach, whereas it is impossible to say how fresh this fish is.


Sunday morning at Areia Branca. We were taking a late (9am) breakfast on the beach, when this well laden fruit seller passed through.


Given Timor Leste’s troublesome history in recent decades, including a long and fight for independence from Indonesia, it is gratifying to experience such a calm and relaxing place. I am certain that within the next ten years it will become a significant tourist destination, aided by its oil revenues and the natural asset of its mountainous terrain. I just hope that it remains peaceful and relatively unspoilt.