The plane took off. Ellie was fast asleep in minutes and Tully could hardly contain herself, almost jumping out of her seat every few minutes and wriggling like her bum was on fire. Zoe just kept reaching across the aisle to hold my hand.
We landed and walked across the tarmac. It was only 7am Dili time so there wasn’t much heat in the sun yet. I didn’t get the wave of humidity and Asian City aroma that I was expecting, but we did get some laughs from the lads outside the airport when we conceded that they were right, we would definitely need two taxis!
We drove the main road along the beach. The girls were all very quiet in the back seat, eyes wide and looking, almost stunned. I looked around at one point and Zoe had her head in her hands, like it was all too much to take in. She said she was just tired.
My eyes were wide too, but not because it was all so new. It has been a long time since I’ve travelled anywhere like Timor, but driving along with the window down, smelling the burning rubbish and the sea, watching the chickens and dogs sift through the rubbish, catching glimpses into trade stores that sell everything from mops to deodorant I felt a very distinct reawakening. Or perhaps a familiarity is a better word. It all started coming back to me, and it felt wonderful.
I won’t walk you through the details of our day, suffice it to say that by 2.30, after a wee kip, we were drinking our first cold Bintang on the beach watching the girls frolick in the azure waters of the Banda Sea.
The fear and discomfort I felt this morning got me here. I couldn’t have had the beer on the beach without first having had the nervous poo in Darwin. Of course I knew that, but there was definitely the taste of something sweet in that beer.