After a little break, you get to see things afresh. And the very first thing I noticed apart from the nice neat fence separating UNHCR refugee tents and the airport area, was the general tidy-up that has obviously been going on in the streets.
I have seen teams of workers with brand-new wheelbarrows and tools attending to rubbish and vegetation gone wild. It certainly does make a difference in the areas where it has been done.
One not so impressive action has been the re-instatement of the annoying one-way street system. I have yet to meet anyone who supports this system and I suspect the OZ police have merely returned to what was there before. I think we need a real traffic engineer to do some proper traffic counts and computer analysis to prove why it is so annoying.
The other noticeable feature was the number of Timorese who had smiles on their faces and said hello. A big increase on this one.
There is definitely a slow assimilation of the foreign troops/police into the local economy. I know the boys (and girls) are still “dry” but maybe they are now allowed to go shopping. I went to the DVD rental shop (the one with the infinite return policy) and was gob-smacked to be asked for 4 times the normal price. I bargained down to the correct price and left, as I only bargain like this for sport (of course). Naturally, I was offended when also offered a massage with the lot for US$5 while perusing the DVD racks. Did she think I was cheap or something ?
Alas the Monkey Bar is a shadow of its former self as Ross has taken on more lucrative financial endeavours. Its sad that doing laundry for the military pays better than running a bar/restaurant. I think his bar does just burgers now.
My favourite juice bar (Sol e Mar) is open again. There aint no better place to partake of a late afternoon juice under the palm trees looking at the sunset.
And finally, the yogurt is back.