1 February 2014
We landed. We couldn’t see much because it was RAINING! Yes, we knew it was the rainy season here but it seemed rather cruel to leave wet London and arrive in wet Dili. But as consolation, the rain is different: great plopping blobs of water steadily streaming down like some giant power shower. The leaden clouds are rolling down the hillsides, showing glimpses of steamy green trees before disappearing into a pale murk of fog over the sea. It may be just as wet as London, but it is WARM.
The airport is really just a runway with a place for the aeroplane to park. The airport buildings are mostly open to the weather. We stood in the rain, waiting to pay for our visas, then wandered round to collect our luggage from the ancient creaking baggage carousel. It duly arrived, absolutely soaking wet despite the short distance from the plane to the carousel. Out once more into the rain and a taxi to the hotel. Arriving at the hotel Esplanada was like arriving at a honeymoon destination: overgrown palms around the pool, a large wooden edifice housing the open-sided restaurant overlooking the beach and the sea, the all pervading, humid warmth of the rainy season and the fight against jet lag and weariness. We succumbed to the white noise of rain on a tin roof, the hum of the air-conditioner and the bliss of sleep in an air-conditioned room.