We live in the capital city of Timor-Leste, Dili. A big city with traffic and pollution and lots of people living close together. But we frequently feel like we are living on a farm with the animals we see frequenting our yard. The house we are living in has a pet cat, Squeaky who are we are cat sitting at the moment.
The neighbours have a pig, or perhas two, that live behind our back fence. They get quite rowdy in the early morning and late afternoon, feeding time I guess. The neighbours who live across the road from us, have a pig also who grazes around the swampy area near their house. Our food scraps become pig food.
The neighbours also have a number of ducks, chickens and several roosters that visit our yard to find their food. I am almost used to hearing them shuffling around in the rocks outside now, without thinking we have visitors. The baby chicks are so small and cute. The roosters, who are usually tied up and often used for cock fighting, are noisy critters. They usually greet the day at about 5am but are known to crow randomly throughout the night if they so choose.
The neighbours also have a number of dogs, which are all pretty timid but come and visit us often. They aren’t a pest unless they begin to conspire with the roosters and the cat for early morning wake ups. On several occasions, dog barking, rooster crowing and the cat meowing for breakfast have been the end of our sleep past 5 am.
As we wander around the area where we live, we see more animals tethered in any available space which has grass growing. Goats are another common sight around here. in town they are tied up, but in the rural areas they roam more freely along the roads to find their sustenance.
Sam and I went for an explore to see where a particular road would take us last week. A kilometre later we found ourselves on the main road through Dili, hot and bothered, but we had a great walk between houses and farm style blocks of land. We saw lots more goats and pigs and even saw a cow and its calf. Jason has loved the idea of owning his own cow for ages, to gain access to fresh milk and cream, it seems the locals have the same idea.
Sam and Jason have been doing some snorkelling here in recent weeks. They have enjoyed seeing the various types of creatures that live under the sea here. Starfish, brightly coloured fish, sea urchins and to Sam’s excitement yesterday a sea snot cucumber. Yes snorkelling is one big Octonauts (Kids show about sea creatures) adventure for him.
Yesterday we went for a drive out of town. It was amazing to see the green patches of trees and farms in contrast to the dry, rock mountains. We saw quite a few buffalo around the town of Hera which had vistas that reminded us of tropical far north Queensland. On our way home, a number of Timorese people gathered on a bridge waved us down, indicating for us to come with them. As we too joined the group looking over the edge of the bridge into the river below we saw a big crocodile. It didn’t seem at all bothered by the audience it had attracted. But it seemed a little ironic to me that after living in Arnhem Land for four years, where the threat of crocodiles is well known, to now be in Timor-Leste and seeing one closer than i ever did there.
Last but not least are the monkeys. There aren’t many around, we’ve only seen one that resides in a cage in a local restaurant and Jason has seen one in a cage down in Oecusse. They say the are in the wild here, but not in Dili. Perhaps we’ll see some in the wild while visiting the “Districts”. Let’s just hope they don’t come and steal Kim’s door knob again (an anecdote from Ethiopia).