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Reconciliation and Human Rights in Timor-Leste (East Timor): more to travel than just beaches and beer

When I decided to take my own advice and re-visit Timor-Leste, I didn’t expect to find myself in a dark suffocating prison. Travel is not just about beaches, bars and mountain tops; its also about learning the history of the country and its people. I am sure the 13 odd government employees I brought with me to learn about post-conflict land administration and conflict management were hoping for the former. I can’t name where the officials are from as elements of their own government might not be happy we discussed ethnic reconciliation. If you know me well, I am sure you can guess. The Indonesian era prison is actually home to a permanent exhibit on the Reconciliation process that occurred in Timor after independence, called the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR). It is tricky business getting people together to admit to crimes they committed against their neighbors, but Read full article…

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My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets

My friend Megan who writes the blog See. Write. Live. nominated me to share my three best travel secrets on Todd’s Wanderings. The nomination is a part of Trip Base Blog tag in which the Top Bloggers’ Best Kept Travel Secrets will be published in a free ebook that will be shared with the “entire online community…” Hmmm, good luck with that! First, I had to decide if my secrets were safe for the average traveler…my lawyers tell me I should be okay (by reading this you have now waived all your rights). So here you are, some of my well kept secrets, and favorite places in this wonderful world: 1. Mount Koya, Japan Aschaf Everyone visits the major temples in Kyoto and Nara but these days they are little more than tourist attractions, albeit pretty ones, lacking that lived in, struggle for enlightenment feel. Mount Koya, the secluded mountain Read full article…

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Road Trip to Mount Ramalou, East Timor

As promised here is the beginning of my updates. While I am currently living in Sri Lanka I want to share with you a road trip myself and 3 friends went on to East Timor’s tallest mountain, Mt. Ramalou. Located in the middle of the country it is not the easiest of places to reach. I don’t remember the exact distance (maybe about 160 km from Dili), but the first 140 km took about 4 hours and the last 20 kilometers another 3 hours!! It was great to get out of the “city” and see a little more of the country side. East Timor has an abundance of natural beauty and while the mountainous areas are some of the poorest and least accessible in the country, they also hold some of the most spectacular vistas, and kindest people there are. Enjoy the trip!! Climbing the winding roads above Dili, we Read full article…

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Bali, Camping and Everything Inbetween…

A more recent update…. All of the other posts are basically background information to catch people up on my life here in East Timor. So here is what has been happening for the past 3 weeks or so. (beginning of November through the 3rd week). Bali… Kay (the woman I am dating) left East Timor to go back to Washington D.C. She is quitting her job with the World Bank and moving to Sri Lanka where she will start a new job with the UNDP (United Nations Development Program). So what other choice did we have than to take 5 days off and spend them in Bali, Indonesia. So I worked overtime to get comp time and then we took off for Bali…my contract doesn’t give my any vacation or sick days. We decided to head up to the northeast coast and go diving. After some confusion at the airport Read full article…

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The Way Home

As you may have already heard I have changed homes here in East Timor to a bungalow just outside of Dili (the capital of East Timor). I now live in a one room bungalow inside of a guarded “compound” right across the street from the ocean and a nice rocky/sandy beach. My compound has 3 other bungalows that are rented out by foreigners and our landlords live in a house slightly up the hill from us. There is 24 hour security, a wire fence with gate, 5 dogs, various other Timorese living in the compound (not sure who they are just yet), a bunch of construction workers building a new 2 story bungalow and a garden with three friendly monkeys that like to pick at my arm hair and try to find bugs. I live about a 45 minute walk outside of town so I have bought (and learned to Read full article…

A Good Weekend and Moving

A more recent update…around the beginning of October Well I have to say life is treating me really well at the moment. I have an interesting job, job security for the next 2 months (until December 8th), a great groups of friends out here and some exciting news…..I just moved to a place by the water and I bought a motorcycle and have learned how to ride it. But first things first. I had one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. Not really sure what happened on Friday night…always a good sign….I do remember Saturday so I guess I will start from there. I had my first diving session (my confined dives in the pool) and it was really fun. I get to go out on 4 open water dives in the ocean starting from next weekend. After wards I met up with the Hash Read full article…

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