Dili is currently a very international city, as a result of its tragic history. There is a UN mission in Timor, UNMIT, which is winding up as we speak. There are people from literally all over the world contributing to the workforce and Police force as part of the mission. Within a few months, though, the ubiquitous white SUVs with massive black letters U N plastered on the side will be a distant memory.
Many countries have independent or integrated missions here too. For example, there is the Australian Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) and the Portuguese GNR (I will very shallowly admit that they are good eye candy), and recently the US Military visited Dili, from where (I think) they then move onto the districts for 6-month stints doing whatever they do (building roads and health checks I think is the most likely).
America arrived in Dili in three warships – one absolutely massive one and two smaller ones. The massive one was an aircraft carrier, and the sound of choppers doing exercises around Dili and the hills surrounding became commonplace. Then, on the final weekend before they left, the noise of choppers became incessant. And extremely loud. And JUST. WOULDN’T. STOP.
Then one of my neighbours happened to mention that the choppers were flying in and out of the US Embassy (definitely the biggest Embassy in Timor), so I decided to go and have a sticky beak.
As we arrived, we got buzzed…