My Interesting Morning

So, I wake up this morning before dawn to check my email before my flight. I do what I do, grab my bags and get a cab. The cab driver doesn’t really speak English and points towards the government palace, makes a shooting action with his fingers and says “very bad, very bad”.

I get to the airport and there are a bunch of Australian troops there with their guns drawn. I didn’t really put the two together and just sort of sat and waited for the plane to load. There were no maintainace workers, no weather problems and no one seemed late. Nonetheless, the flight was 90 minutes late in taking off.

When we land in Darwin, we are met by some Australian police and they tell us that the President of East Timor was assassinated this morning.

I get to a computer a few minutes ago and find out he wasn’t killed. Him and the Prime Minister were both attacked. Someone mentioned something about a rebel leader who was out in the bush being killed last night, but I have heard no confirmation of that in the news.

I took some video yesterday of a protest or a march or something I saw on the streets of Dili. I have no idea if the two are linked.

Anyway, I’m safely in Darwin, Australia. Going to get something to eat and try to kill 10 hours until I go back to the airport. I’ll be sleeping in an airplane tonight.

11 thoughts on “My Interesting Morning”

  1. We were flying in transit — either just leaving Turkey or just arriving in the UK — when I heard and we were thinking of you. I’m glad you didn’t get caught up in it.

  2. Hi Gary,

    happy that you are safe. Watched the News on CNN about this incident and only later it clicked that you mentioned wanting to go there as well. So I checked here and am relieved to see that you are in Darwin already. All the best for you trips around the area. Are you planning to see the National Parks, Katherine Gorge and so on?

    Chris from Bali

  3. You should add a “Brushes with International Crises” count on your side bar. I heard this on NPR this morning and was wondering if you were still in the country.

  4. Crazy dude. Crazy. What an adventure you’re going through. Best of luck! Still sounds very exciting compared to where I’m at. Atlanta.

  5. Gary, glad no harm came to you.

    I spent a meaningful three weeks in East Timor in 2002 (shortly after independence) and then went back for three more weeks in 2003. I have friends there and other Timorese friends in Australia. The news this morning hit me hard. I hope that Ramos-Horta can pull through.

    The people of East Timor have gone through so much. I can’t bear to think of more violence there, especially if Ramos-Horta doesn’t live.

    I’ve just subscribed to your Flickr feed, in hopes that you’ll add some photos from your time there. Any chance you’ll post some of your video?

    Also, found you through a Tweet Scan search of “East Timor”

  6. I was in no danger. I didn’t even know it happened until I was out of the country. The UN and Peacekeepers are all over the place. This was a very targeted attack. I was in as much danger as the citizens of Dallas were during the Kennedy Assassination.

  7. Wow. I’d say that’s more than just an interesting morning! It always seems a bit surreal when stuff like this happens while you’re traveling.

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