You’d think that Asia’s poorest country would be a cheap place to travel. Unfortunately, the presence of huge numbers of expats on fat UN salaries means you’d be wrong. It turned out to be one of the pricier countries so far, although as usual some of that was due to my own profligacy.
The two big problems were food, drink and accommodation, which worked out more expensive than anywhere I’ve been except for the three rich countries (USA, Australia & New Zealand) that I’ve been to. To be honest, I could have saved a bit of cash on the food and drink by eating in more of the Indonesian-style warungs and not going srinking so much with the expats, but to be honest I was having too much fun (and enjoying a bit of a break from Indonesian food, which is pretty much all I’d eaten since mid-November).
One other little quirk of East Timor is that it doesn’t have its own currency – instead, it uses the US Dollar, although with its own locally minted centavo coins in use instead of US Cents. My favourite is the 10 centavo, which has a cockerel on the back. Cool.
So here’s how the daily averages worked out:
Internet, visa, laundry & postcards: $5.61
Food & drink: $30.90
Thanks to my time spent with the expats, Brits again topped the table of people I propped up the bar with. A new entry this time for Jordan, thanks to a UN Policeman I met from there.
East Timor: 5
And finally the other numbers. Nowt too exciting this time, but I’ve kept the count up this far so I’ve got to pop this in for completeness sake:
Local brands of beer drunk: 0 (Yep. East Timor is the first country I’ve been to that doesn’t have it’s own beer. How sad is that?)
That’s it for my little 10 day stop in East Timor – back to Indonesia now.