Peter Wesley-Smith

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Wesley-Smith's account of
a recent trip to East Timor!
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Writer and academic Peter Wesley-Smith was until recently Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong, a member of the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission, and Editor-in-Chief of the Hong Kong Law Journal. He is the author of four books and numerous articles on Hong Kong's constitution and legal system, has presented papers at international conferences on East Timor and international law, and is a member of the International Platform for Jurists for East Timor. In 1994 he was on a list of foreigners to be arrested and deported from the Philippines for attending APCET (the Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor) in Manila. Combining academic activities, public service, and creative writing, he has written books of verses (such as The Ombley-Gombley), an English adaptation of Danish poet Halfdan Rasmussen's collection of nonsense rhymes Hocus Pocus, lyrics (for songs such as The Day We Found O'Reilly's Chook in Mrs Boon's Backyard and the unfinished I Don't Think I'm Indecisive, Am I?), and libretti (most notably for Boojum!, Quito, and the children's song-story Pip! - music by his brother Martin Wesley-Smith). He now lives in rural New South Wales, Australia.



Unequal Treaty 1898-1997 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, revised edition 1998)

"A post-handover edition of Peter Wesley-Smith's landmark work on the New Territories lease is a joy to read again, despite it being a considerably revised and updated edition of a book first published 17 years ago. It is clear from reading it that it is not a new book. On the other hand it is a considerable advance on earlier versions, if only because history has now supplied it with a dramatically satisfying ending. But it also features compendious scholarship, an eminently even-handed approach to contentious issues and a high standard of lucid prose ..."
Tim Hamlett, South China Morning Post, April 25 1998

available from all good bookshops; also Amazon.com



See also:

An Introduction to the Hong Kong Legal System (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 3rd ed 1998)

Constitutional and Administrative Law in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Longman Asia, 1993)

"... a highly readable and comprehensive textbook by one of the leading scholars of the Hong Kong legal system"
Chan Wing Cheong

The Sources of Hong Kong Law (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1994)

"Anyone picking up a book on the sources of law may well groan inwardly in anticipation of a dull read. Those works often present intrinsically uninteresting material in a very pedestrian fashion ... Fortunately, Peter Wesley-Smith's book is in an altogether different league. The subject-matter is fascinating, the treatment is lively, and parts of it are profound ... Clearly, this is a book which has impressed me. It is one which should be of great benefit to all students of law and government in Hong Kong, and, indeed, more widely for those who are interested in the fundamentals of legal systems"
Rodney Brazier


Non-academic works include:

The Ombley-Gombley (nonsense verses; illustrated by David Fielding; published by Angus & Robertson in Australia in 1969 (reprinted 1970 and 1976) and by Atheneum in New York in 1971)

Hocus Pocus (verses adapted from the original Danish of Halfden Rasmussen; illustrated by Ib Spang Olsen; published in London by Angus & Robertson in 1973)

Foul Fowl and other rhymes just for fun, with illustrations by Carmen Hogue (Sydney: Cherry Books, 1995)

Various verses published in the following anthologies published by Omnibus Books in Adelaide, South Australia:
Putrid Poems (1985)
Petrifying Poems (1986)
Rattling in the Wind (1987)
Vile Verse (1988)
Four and Twenty Lamingtons (1989)
Off the Planet (1989)
The Hunting of the Snark: Second Expedition. An Ecstacy, in Eight Fits and Starts, illustrations by Paul Stanish (Sydney: Cherry Books, 1996)


libretti & lyrics:

Mister Thwump (story and lyrics; recorded by The Wesley Three, 1966, CBS SBP233344; music by Martin Wesley-Smith)

Pi in the Sky (libretto for children's opera; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; first performed in Adelaide in 1971)

Boojum! (libretto for music theatre piece; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; first performed at the Adelaide Festival of Arts in 1986 and subsequently in Sydney, Brisbane, San Diego, Pasadena and Newcastle (Australia); issued on CD by Vox Australis, performed by the Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, 1992)

Noonday Gun (libretto for short musical about Noel Coward in Hong Kong; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; first performed at the Fringe Club, Hong Kong, in 1986)

Songs of Australia (libretto for large choral work; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; first performed in Sydney in 1988)

Pip! (libretto for musical work for children; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; commissioned and first performed by Miles Anderson and Erica Sharp, 1992; new version for narrator and orchestra first performed, in March 1999, by Monica Trapaga and the Sydney Youth Orchestra)

Quito (libretto for music theatre piece about schizophrenia and East Timor; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; commissioned and first produced by the Sydney Metropolitan Opera Company, 1994; subsequent performances, by The Song Company, of various versions in Sydney, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Malaysia and Portugal. Radiophonic version first broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission and issued on CD by Tall Poppies Records in May 1997 (TP111)).

Manners for Men (libretto for musical piece for schoolchildren; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; commissioned and first produced by MLC School, Sydney, 1999)

Thin Green Line (lyric for conservation piece about the Orphan School Creek Gully, Glebe, Sydney; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; performed by The Song Company, Sydney, 1998)

Brother of Mine (lyric for song - as might have been sung by Paul Robeson - about the plight of Australian aborigines; music by Martin Wesley-Smith; performed by Clive Birch (baritone) and Liam Ridgeway (didgeridoo), Sydney, 1998)

After the Storm, and an arrangement of Feelings, as General Wiranto meant to sing it, performed by The Song Company at an East Timor Benefit Concert at 8pm, Fri October 8, in the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Sydney

The Knight's Gambit (from Boojum!) (song cycle for five singers & orchestra; music by Martin Wesley-Smith), performed in the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, by the Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra conducted by Simone Young, September 2001

Thank Evans (Australian Foreign Policy and East Timor, 1975-99) (libretto for choral piece for choir & piano); music by Martin Wesley-Smith; commissioned by The Australian Boys Choral Institute; first performed by The Australian Boys Choir and The Vocal Consort (Noel Ancell, conductor), Melbourne, November 2001

Black Ribbon (libretto for choral piece for six singers, choir & orchestra); music by Martin Wesley-Smith; commissioned by The Canberra Choral Society and first performed by them in September, 2001, with The Song Company as soloists and Roland Peelman, conductor

True (libretto for choral piece for soprano, choir, flute & piano); music by Martin Wesley-Smith; commissioned by The Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire; first performance scheduled for October 26, 2002

e-mail: peterws@shoalhaven.net.au

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My Hols

This is a short account (a diary, no more) of a recent trip to Darwin and East Timor. The two principal purposes were to attend the Darwin International Guitar Festival, specifically to hear the premieres of two works by Martin, and to join a concert tour in Timor by Ros Dunlop, clarinettist, playing Mart's East Timor pieces. I had never been to East Timor, and I was one of the few core members of the Kangaroo Valley/Remexio Partnership who had not visited the sister village. I decided to drive to Darwin - 4,500 kms - because air fares were particularly expensive at that time and I had a carload of impecunious students (well, one is a student but not impecunious, the other is impecunious but not a student, though in all other respects the description is apt).

Kangaroo Valley to Darwin, 27 June - 1 July
We - Brigitte Ross, Danny Ross, and I - set off from Kangaroo Valley early on Thursday 27 June 2002. I'd had to chip the ice off the windscreen before the wipers would work. The route we intended to take was through Queensland. First stop was Bathurst, thence Orange, Molong, Wellington, and Dubbo, on through Nyngan to Bourke and a cabin in the local caravan park for the night. Two nights before Brig had stayed in the Park Hyatt in Melbourne and the contrast seemed to her somewhat extreme (she didn't know yet what was to come ...). We paid about A$20 each for three beds and access to the ablutions block; it didn't seem cheap at the time, but in due course it acquired a patina of economy. As we were to find was quite usual, the most promising restaurant in town was the Chinese one in the local bowling club, but apart from the food, perhaps, there wasn't much non-occidental about it. We were on the road again by 0815 on Friday 28th, through Enngonia to the Bush Tucker Inn right next to the Queensland border, where we had breakfast served by a dour, not to say hostile proprietor. The road was now littered with the carcasses of road kill - mainly kangaroos, some emus - and we saw lots of cockatiels, crows, and wedgetail eagles. Our first stop in Queensland was at Cunnamurra, quite an attractive town, then at Wyandra where we failed to find petrol, and on to Charleville on a seriously under-supplied tank. We got to Blackall at 1715 and found the wool scour (which my neighbour Don Godden had been instrumental in preserving) but it was closed. Two and a bit hours later we arrived at Longreach, a largish tourist centre, where we set up the tent in the Gunadoo caravan park and dined a la Chinese again. The next day we got to Winton by 1035 and Cloncurry at 1340. On the road to Mt Isa I was booked for speeding, allegedly going 116 kph; the only defence I could immediately think of was that the speed gun must've been defective as my real speed was at least 140 kph, but I'm not sure the beak wouldn't simply amend the charge. We travelled on to Camooweal for the night, first stop west of Mt Isa, and stayed in a wonderful old "budget accommodation" weatherboard house run by Ms Lorna Freckleton; she'd spent her whole married life in Trieste but had returned to her home town to open the boarding house. We could've stayed longer, but the road called and by 1300 the next day, Sunday 30 June, we were at Three Ways, the junction of the Barkly and Stuart Highways; from there it was due north until Darwin. Our next objective was the "resort" at Mataranka, which we reached at about 1900 hrs. We pitched the tent, had an expensive meal, and watched the final of the World Cup. By 1100 the next day, after a swim in the thermal pool at Mataranka and a stroll along the river, we were having morning coffee at the Sullivans' - Jim and Barbara, old friends of Rob's from Adelaide River days, who run cattle and make honey. Thence to Katherine Gorge, where we took time off from the journey and toured the gorge by boat. Thoroughly worth doing. Then on to Pine Gap, with the intention of camping at Copperfields Dam, but the campsite was full and we decided to push on to Darwin, arriving at Rob's at 2030. An epic trip!

Darwin, 2-14 July
Rob Wesley-Smith has a house on several acres at Howard Springs, a rural living area 30 km from the Darwin CBD. We were just the first to arrive: in quick succession came Sheila (the Wesley-Smith matriarch), Martin, and the Dunlop/Bennetts family (Ros the clarinettist, husband Don, Ella aged 13, Harry 9, and Lillie 6), later to be joined by Alice, Martin's daughter. The house was supplemented by a refurbished shipping container, in which the Dunlop/Bennetts set up camp, and a couple of tents. I booked a room in an apartment hotel in Darwin, in case of emergencies etc, which was mostly used by Martin while he desperately tried to finish programming the visuals for his Afghan piece. Apart from my car and Robs', Martin and Ros each hired a vehicle, so we had sufficient transport. The guitar festival began on the 4th of July and Danny had wanted to join it as a player, but they had no record of his application (the forms arrived after we were back in Kangaroo Valley) and no places left; he went to a few master classes and concerts on an ad hoc basis instead. The first performance of Martin's guitar piece "Kolele Mai" was given by Tim Kain at a wildlife park on Saturday evening 6 July. It was a considerable success, attracting much interest amongst other guitarists, and it seemed to me the most appealing of all the new pieces on the programme (the others were by Sculthorpe, Kats-Chernin, and David Harris). Two nights later Charisma (Ros, and Julia Ryder on cello) premiered Martin's audio-visual thing "Merry-Go-Round" (for CD, clarinet, cello, and visual track), and this was without doubt far and away the best thing played that night. I went to just a couple of other concerts during the festival, including the finale, when Craig Ogden played the middle movement of the famous Rodrigo and four guitarists played a less-well-known piece by Rodrigo, with the principal role performed thrillingly by Karen Schaupp. The Darwin SO appeared to be somewhat under-rehearsed. My other main objective while in the Top End was to catch fish in the Howard River, which I mostly failed to do despite numerous attempts. Two other highlights: a day trip to Kakadu with a cruise on Yellow Water (where we came across Lucie Vriesema, a Dutch wwoofer who'd stayed with us earlier in the year), and a visit to Richard Luxton's place further down the Stuart Highway, where he has a landing strip (from which he flies his ultralight), the remains of a WW2 airbase (from where Beaufighter fighter-bombers flew to East Timor and beyond in World War Two), and a gorgeous billabong which allegedly contains barra (it's such a good spot for barramundi that they resolutely refused to leave it when I threw my line in).

East Timor, 15-22 July

Darwin was really just the prelude to my first visit to East Timor. Although I was never as active a supporter of Timorese self-determination as Rob or Martin, I have for many years been convinced of the moral and legal rightness of the cause, and I used to speak publicly about the issue in Hong Kong and Macao and I attended several solidarity conferences over the years. I don't know if I was ever on an Indonesian immigration blacklist, as Rob was (he was deported from East Timor in February 1999), but finally to visit the territory was a most meaningful (not to say almost spiritual) experience. There were three primary objectives of the trip (apart from having a holiday and seeing as much of the territory as possible), and they were mostly compatible with each other: first, to present concerts of Martin's ET audio-visual pieces; second, for Jenni Kanaley to try out various homestay arrangements as prelude to a quasi-commercial tourist operation; and third, for Rob to check out aspects of his stove project (which, funded by friends in Hong Kong, aims to produce locally a cheap and efficient cooking stove which will allow waste products to be used as fuel, thus assisting conservation of the environment; this arose out of a previous visit, in March, when he and Martin and Ros climbed Mt Ramelau and noticed serious deforestation even near the summit). Alice was to help document the visit through photography and video, Brigitte through writing; I was chief roadie and driver; Danny played the role of official guitarist. Chris Nobel was still in ET, having arrived nearly three months before, and 18-year-old Kathryn Morgan, also of Kangaroo Valley, who had been staying with Chris for more than a fortnight, accompanied us on most of the trip, and proved a major asset through her astonishing ability to speak passable Tetum. Ros Dunlop played clarinet, Don Bennetts her husband came to help generally and try to control Ella, Harry, and Lillie (who were however amazingly well-behaved). We had three vehicles: two Thrifty Toyota twin-cabs and Jenni's land cruiser. Jenni has been staying in Same off and on since 1997, teaching English and helping where she can.

Monday 15 July. Rob, Martin, Danny, and I arrived at the Darwin airport at 5.45 am for the Air North flight. I was lugging a bench drill for the dulcimer workshop (another Kangaroo Valley project) and had to pay excess baggage for it; we were also carrying several donated guitars and recorders to be distributed in ET and much other concert equipment. Uneventful flight, spectacular views of ET mountains. After checking in to Vila Harmonia and meeting Pedro our proprietor and his wife Joanha, Rob took us on a tour of Dili and environs; every now and then we had to stop to talk to someone driving past or walking on the footpath who recognised Rob; and we went to various NGO premises and government offices and said g'day to people like Pat Walsh and Charlie Scheiner (long-time members of the solidarity, now working in Dili). Some of our luggage came on a midday flight, and Rob went back to the airport to meet the evening flight which brought the Dunlop/Bennetts and Alice and Brig. That evening we gave a fairly impromptu concert at Vila Harmonia with a mostly foreign (malais) audience: Pat Walsh and family, Andrew McNaughtan, Charlie Scheiner and his partner Jill Sternberg, Elwyn Taylor (who runs a sewing workshop), Jenni, Quentin Tembey, Mark Rhomberg (an activist from LA), Chris Nobel and Kathryn Morgan, and a couple of other guests of the hotel, plus a crowd of local kids who entertained us with guitar-playing before the audio-visual pieces got going. Naldo Rei (a cousin of Carlito Caminhas) and Luis Sarmento da Cruz were there too (Luis is a member of the Anin Murak choir which visited Kangaroo Valley in November 2000; he has since stayed for some months in the valley with Louise and Peter Morgan). After the concert Danny played guitar with the local kids and was a great hit with them. Jenni strongly asserted the view that local people shouldn't see some of the confronting images in two of Martin's pieces, "Welcome to the Hotel Turismo" and "X". Other malais who knew Timor well didn't necessarily agree with her, but her attitude had to be respected. Mart was somewhat depressed - the raison d'Ítre of the trip for him being the exhibition of those two works - and in a quandary as to what to perform on future occasions. Jenni had advertised us more or less as a band, which of course we weren't.

Tuesday 16 July. The "hotel" (more a losman or backpackers' hostel, well-known to solidarity visitors during the Indonesian occupation) proved to be somewhat inadequate so far as comfort and plumbing were concerned - but worse was to come, as some of us realised. I was up quite early and with Kathryn and Alice drove to Lehane to deliver the bench drill to Luis' house. To get to the house - which is in a beautiful location, with a view up to the hills of Dare - we walked past the place where Vergilio da Cruz lives, but he was away (Vergilio is another singer from Anin Murak and returned to live for a time with John and Helen George). By 0945 the whole party, which now included Mark Rhomberg, was on the road, travelling east along the north coast, past lovely beaches, through Manatutu and Baucau, thence turning right into the mountains with stunning views of Mt Matebian, to Venilale and thence to Laga where we stayed the night in a large house right next to the beach. Some swam, Harry played soccer with the local kids, Ella attracted a lot of attention, Don bought beer but left some in the shop's fridge and didn't get it out before it closed. The concert was in the compound of the local sub-district administrative office: no decent lighting, no PA system, no seating, the screen was the whitewashed wall of the building. With a limited repertoire and several hundred kids waiting to be entertained there were a few anxious moments, but the audience seemed fascinated enough for long enough simply by the screensaver Mart projected from the computer. Danny played some guitar, though only an inner circle could hear him, and Ella gave a short violin recital. Martin put on some Jonny Lewis photos with a soundtrack of Midnight Oil's version of "Kolele Mai" (the folk song, not the guitar piece), and then "Merry-Go-Round", the audio-visual about Afghanistan, which was somewhat remote from the audience's experience but it went over well enough. Jenni had softened her resistance to the other pieces, and "Turismo" was performed next, with none of the adverse consequences some had feared. The crowd was a little rowdy, however, and the polisia had asked us not to finish for a while, but we'd run out of repertoire, and the concert petered out at about 9.30 pm. It took a while to distribute sleeping spaces and get to bed.

Wednesday, 17 July. We got going after 10.00 am but only, initially, to the administrator's office where we presented him with two guitars and two recorders; Mart made a speech. Thence first stop was a primitive salt-making operation and on through Lautem to Los Palos, driving through attractive scenery. We checked into Anastasio's house, which was to be accommodation for all of us except the Dunlop/Bennetts and Kathryn who stayed at Anastasio's parents' place a few kilometres further on in Fatumaca. The Los Palos house was a wreck hardly renovated, and only one and a half rooms were available for us (outside Dili there appears to have been very little rebuilding). That evening Anastasio bought a double bed which slightly alleviated the lack of sleeping accommodation. Most of us slept on the floor - or rather didn't sleep, given the noise of guitars strumming, cocks crowing, dogs barking, crickets chirping, and other sounds one didn't really wish to inquire about. Martin, sensibly, slept in one of the cars. The less said about the mandi the better (someone - it was me - wittily said it was such as to give constipation a good name). We had a late lunch which did for dinner as well. There was an air of general confusion: Anastasio has a band which were supposed to contribute to the concert, but they didn't turn up, and a lot of time was spent trying to get their amp to work; the concert was due to begin at 5.00 pm but no one seemed to care about that; the town itself is rather depressing, much destruction, not much activity, but just outside the main area there are kampong-style villages where life looks reasonably congenial: thatched cottages, palm trees, naked brown kids, lazy dogs, pigs and chickens strolling about. The concert was eventually declared a great success (by Jenni), despite the inadequacy of the venue (a wall-less pavilion which had no electricity (Anastasio supplied a generator)), no lighting, no means of making announcements, and no seating. Fortunately Mart had worked out how to play Bosco cartoons on the computer, and these utterly enthralled the numerous kids sitting on both sides of the screen (a bed sheet; on one side the images were reversed, which didn't matter except when there was text and even then most of the audience couldn't read the messages anyway). Los Palos felt less welcoming than Dili or Laga - it apparently reckons itself a long way away from the government and is suspicious of outsiders - and a few hoons threw stones at our young women, so I took them home, Brig and Alice thereupon proceeding to a restaurant across the road and chatting there for two hours or more. Back at the concert the cartoons gave way to the Lewis photographs and "Merry-Go-Round", but neither "Turismo" nor "X" was performed. At Don's suggestion I went to the police station and asked for a patrol to help ensure that the crowd dispersed in an orderly fashion, but by the time we got back there everyone had gone. In the audience had been Chris Hughes, a Catholic priest from England who was active on behalf of ET during the 1990s, and Jessica Wong, a newly-arrived Canadian worker for Care International whose brief was to organise entertainment for children in Los Palos and who was astonished to find that our little party was entertaining the children royally.

Thursday, 18 July. As usual we got away slowly and inefficiently after eating a minimalist breakfast of rolls and dark sweet coffee. First stop was Fatumaca. Some of us stayed there for some time: Ella and Harry and Lillie gave an impromptu concert, some young girls chatted me up (Filomena wants to be my penpal; can't think why), a few newly-woven tais were purchased, and Kathryn and Danny walked off to see a spot where Falintil fighters were tortured and beheaded, while Jenni, Rob, and Mart visited the priest in the Catholic mission at Fuiloro and toured the farm (which has a new herd of dairy cattle donated by Kiwanis in Victoria) attached to the well-provisioned school. Eventually the rest of us were summonsed and taken to the school, all the classes being interrupted while another concert was performed; in return the kids sang a few songs and danced for us. We didn't leave the school until 1030, stopped at a house where a few clay stoves had been built, and drove on to Com, which is a lovely spot with a concrete pier and a deep-water channel which big ships can use (apparently Phillips the oil company might be developing it as a port). I itched to throw a line in. There was a bar at one end of the beach area which looked most inviting, but we drove on to a "restaurant" at another beach a few kilometres down the road to Dili and we ate grilled fish and small woven baskets of sweet rice. We were back in Vila Harmonia in good time. That evening we all trooped off to Olindina's restaurant, which looked promising but our host didn't show and the staff seemed a little bewildered; when the food eventually arrived it was adequate but the evening a disappointment.

Friday, 19 July. Another slow start. Ros and Don went to the tais market but locked the keys in the car and had to call up the Thrifty man to bring another set; several of us went shopping for water, film, money (from Dili's sole ATM), and sundries, and I bought a soccer ball and pump to take to Remexio. There was some concern that we'd be late getting over the mountain pass before the fog set in, but in fact we got there with the weather uncharacteristically good. We stopped at Maubisse and knocked on the door of the church but Francisco (Chico) Barretto (Simão's brother) wasn't at home. The scenery was almost alpine, indeed probably was alpine. The drive down south to Same was spectacular, past some picturesque villages, with great views towards Mt Ramelau. The Dunlop/Bennetts stayed in the house Jenni shares with Angelica, the rest of us at an attractive, newly-built house owned by Quito, a resistance leader, charming man, an expert radio technician who had recorded message between the TNI and militia groups in the area in 1999. We presented him with a copy of the Quito CD, he showed us a home-made gun and a portrait he painted of Xanana and gave us six small tais. The concert, in a pavilion in the church grounds, was the most successful yet: four to five hundred people, trouble-free audience, and, at the insistence of the priest, and with Jenni's blessing, both "Turismo" and "X" were shown. Afterwards the priest gave us tea and coffee, then we repaired to a local restaurant for dinner. Although the weather was cool, and it rained during the night, the house was hot, or at least those of us in sleeping bags were too warm.

Saturday, 20 July. Rob, Mark, Danny, and I drove to Botano, the coastal town from which Australian forces were evacuated by submarine in 1942. A very pleasant drive on a good road through subtly changing terrain. There's an old Portuguese-era warehouse next to the beach, no longer used, and Australian-made toilet facilities. Some surf, padi fields, good farming country. We returned to discover that it had been expected we'd liaise with the other group before setting off, and when they came up to Quito's house and found us gone Don & Ros set off for Dili; Jenni was not pleased. Some of the tensions naturally occurring in a group of this size attempting to travel as we did were welling up a bit. I joined Rob, Mark, and Jenni in the Land Cruiser for the trip back up the mountain. This time the rain and fog had set in early in the morning, and what had been a pleasant cruise down the day before was a hazardous climb up a slippery mud track with at times almost vertical drops just inches away from the left-hand wheels of the car. Martin drove the twin-cab up ahead, with Brig and Danny and Alice in the back, and one or two of the passengers were rumoured to want to walk rather than risk going over the edge. Fortunately we didn't meet any traffic coming the other way, and all congregated at Maubisse. The intention had been to have lunch at a restaurant there, but it was closed and anyway it smelled bad. We met Armindo Rais the Minister for Education (and lots of other things), who was looking for a meeting-place but seemed lost - a charming fellow - and Lorenzo, a driver with whom Rob had worked in Oikos, the Portuguese NGO. On the way back to Dili we made a side-trip to Remexio. We were unheralded, but Alex Mendoca the schoolteacher greeted us and took possession of the soccer ball and pump on behalf of the school. We stayed only about half an hour in Remexio. We gave a lift to Matthias, a villager who speaks quite good English and was wanting to get to Dili. When we reached the Vila again we found that Ros had driven to Liquica by herself. We dined on the beach near Matael. At a nearby table were Abe Barretto (Simão's nephew), an MP, a judge, and a lawyer; Rob introduced me. After dinner we stopped at the Purple Cow, Dili's favourite nightspot, and met Max Stahl (photographer, cinematographer), Lourdes Pires (Quito's sister), Tom Hyland (from the Irish solidarity), José Texeira (whom I'd known on a panel at the CNRT conference in Melbourne in 1998; he was then a lawyer in Queensland, he's now a secretary of state in charge of among other things the land question), Manuel Viega (Albie's brother), Rumiana Decheva (Bulgarian, heritage adviser, formerly with UNTAET, staying on unpaid for a year to finish a project or two), and Damien, an adviser to José, also from Queensland.

Sunday, 21 July. Breakfast with Chris and Kathryn, then we took Chris to somewhere she could get a lift to the airport, and on the way we stopped at Sandra Diaz's house. Sandra, Luis Sarmento da Cruz, and Francisco Sarmento ("Assis"), all returnees from Kangaroo Valley, were there, along with Sandra's parents and sister. Thence to the tais market, to discover that lovely antique cloth was available for as little as US$20; most of us bought two or three, giving rise to a lively discussion with Jenni about the ethics of the purchase. (These are heritage items, perhaps the last cultural artefacts which the Timorese have, and are being flogged off cheaply, probably because with the departure of the UN and many NGOs the market for tais has largely collapsed. We represent insensitive malais ripping off people who have so little. On the other hand, the items were for open sale and they will no doubt be bought in due course at these low prices. We resolved to photograph our tais and to be prepared to return them in the future if that should ever prove culturally desirable.) Some of us drove to Liquica (site of a bad massacre in April 1999) and beyond to Maubara. The towns still look very desolate though must once have been quite prosperous and attractive places to live. That night we went to the Maubere Bar and Grill for dinner: Jessica Wong and her colleague from Care, Hanna (a Slovenian studying at the University of Toronto), Rumiana, Colin (financial comptroller of Timor Aid), Ceu Federer, José Lobato (MP, son of murdered leader Nicolau Lobato; tall, good-looking, articulate, some say he's destined to be president one day), Max Stahl, the KV lot (Sandra, Luis, Vergilio da Cruz, Assis), Luis' brother, Carlito, Kathryn, Jenni, the Wesley-Smith boys, and two or three others (not including Mark or the Dunlop/Bennetts, the latter having caught their plane that morning). Pleasant evening, quite good tucker. I drove everyone home, which meant quite a tour of Dili after dark (and apparently a great trip for the dozen or so passengers in the back of the ute).

Monday, 22 July. Another late start. We did a variety of things: visited the parliament building (the assembly was debating maritime boundaries but I wasn't allowed in in my cute shorts), drove up to Dare to see the seminary etc, visited Santa Cruz cemetery and meditated on the massacre. Alice bought another tais. Checked out of Vila Harmonia and thence to airport. Took the Air North flight back to Darwin, Carlito and Naldo also on the flight. We left Rob and Danny behind in Dili, and Brig stayed at the airport in Darwin to catch a flight to Sydney early next morning. Martin, Alice, and I collected my car and we went out to Howard Springs for the night.

Darwin to Kangaroo Valley, 23 -27 July

Amazingly we (Alice, Martin, and I) were on the road by 0800 and having breakfast at Noonamah, which is just a roadhouse really, on to Katherine and Mataranka for lunch. The Sullivans weren't at home. By 7.00 pm we were checking into a cabin at the Outback camping ground and caravan park in Tennant Creek. Chinese food again (at last)! By 0950 the next day (Wednesday 24 July) we'd stopped for the Devil's Marbles and by 1.00 pm we'd reached Alice Springs, where I had a very strange laksa for lunch. We'd been advised that we wouldn't get to Uluru before sunset and therefore decided not to take the turn-off, though in fact we could probably have got there in plenty of time, and drove through to Coober Pedy at 9.15 pm. We stayed in an underground backpackers' motel. The woman at the desk was French, we ate at a Greek restaurant, and were accosted by a Slovenian down on his luck: the place lived up to its reputation for colourful characters. Next stop Port Augusta for lunch on the following day, where we had several rolls of film developed; we'd decided not to visit Woomera and the refugees on the way. Got to Broken Hill by nightfall, stayed at another caravan park and dined at another Chinese restaurant. Next night Dubbo; this time the restaurant served a mixture of Chinese, Thai, and Indonesian, little of it recognisable as such, though the rice looked suspiciously oriental. Very cold night. Fairly slow progress the next day, arriving at Jed & Sally's place in Sydney at 2.10 pm Saturday. I left Martin and Alice there and got back to Road Ends at 5.15 pm. The odometer read 76126 kms on arrival, so subtracting the reading of 65098 when we set off from Kangaroo Valley a month before the car had travelled just over 11,000 kms. Daphne the housesitter had the place looking cleaner than it's ever been, and Flash the dog, while pleased to see me, had had such a good time with Daphne I'm not sure he wouldn't've traded me in if he'd had the chance. The driveway and lawns were very neat, the unexpected result of heavy frosts and drought. Life back in Kangaroo Valley has seemed a little uneventful since then.

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