14 – 16 August 2010
S8 83.872 E125 60.340 – Maubisse
Highland Maubisse was some six hours drive from Dili. It sounds like a long trip uphill but we stopped a lot along the way. One scene that definitely made us pause was the painful sight of a forest gone and the erosion that took its place.
Once we arrived in Maubisse, we were instantly charmed by the place as it was utterly quaint. We scheduled our trip that we got there during the weekend – Sunday market day being the highlight when people from far distant places walked or rode their ponies to the market. We didn’t come prepared for the cold and I felt chilled to the bones being up 1500 m above sea level! Brrrr, it was 14℃ in the early mornings.
Timor-Leste is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in the Coral Triangle, the other being the Philippines. I attended the first mass that Sunday morning at 7:30. The guest house where we stayed was conveniently right in front of the cathedral. During mass, the Timorese women and girls reminded me of Manila circa 1970s, when conservative feminine females all went to church in dresses and veils. They still do in East Timor! It was kinda nice to see a place where time stood but with a hint of the modern.
Then we walked to the market hoping to see all the cowboys we were told so much about. As these were Asian cowboys . . .
Instead of wild bulls to lasso, there were fighting cocks to kill each other. The buzz and energy of the public market captured the essence of Maubisse. It was wonderful. And the characters we met along the way . . . phenomenal faces . . . I had to be really bold to stop them and ask for their portraits to be taken! Yogi never does the hard jobs . . .
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