Monday, January 16, 2006

The price of things in Timor

We had the most appalling meal for $25, which in Bali for the equivalent you would get a top-notch East meets West three-course meal! It’s one of the very annoying things about Timor: for so many dollars all you get is crap.

Most things in Timor are double the price of what they are in Indonesia. For example, here petrol is 85c a litre, in Bali 45c. A 1.5 litre bottle of water here is 50c and in Bali 25c. Basic simple accommodation in Dili is $20 a night, in Ubud (Bali) $10. The electronic dictionary we bought for both my Timorese friend and Daniel in Kuta (Bali) are double the price in Dili.

The problem Timor has is that most goods are imported from Indonesia (and China) and as a result, everything costs twice as much. Timor is a very expensive Third World country not just for “malae” and the few tourists that venture here but more importantly for the Timorese. Consider this, most Timorese live on 55c a day and yet a 1.5 litre bottle of purified water costs 50c. A 19-litre bottle of water costs $1 but you have to pay a $6 deposit for the bottle. As you can probably see, most Timorese do not drink purified water and have to drink potentially contaminated water obtained from water pumps dotted around neighbourhoods or rivers and streams; health problems often ensue.

This economic situation makes me understand why the Timorese government are so keen on keeping on good terms with Indonesia. However, it still does not justify their complete and utter lack of interest in pursuing justice for their people.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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