Sun-soaked afternoons in a hut by the beach with a book and your bathers and nothing more to do and afternoons never-ending. You need a weekend out of Dili but don’t have the energy for a day-long drive down potholed mountain roads, or the jacked-up car for a trip to a brilliant blue beach. A weekend in Maubara is an answer.
Even if you haven’t been to Maubara you’ll know the town. Those ubiquitous hand-woven palm baskets and placemats that sit in every pre-furnished house in Dili come from women weavers who sell their wares just off the side of the main road through the town. An easy hour-and-half drive west from Dili, down that still-new bitumen road to Liquica, Maubara is a sleepy fishing village just beyond the central town of Liquica vila. For $25 per night including breakfast, you can sleep to the sound of waves in a simple, sturdy hut at the Laloran Ecolodge (call them on 7553 3490).
Ocean view and a hut to stay.
We left Dili late on Saturday afternoon, found the lodge easily, and dispatched one group to buy fish for dinner and another to start preparing sunset bloody marys. A sunset cocktail, an ocean swim, a campfire crackling in the sand. The guest house will prepare you rice and vegetables, and our friends returned successfully with leaf-wrapped fish sold on the main road.
Swim again when it’s dark for the phosphorescent sea.
We co-oped three of the four huts there and pitched two tents in the grass. A sound, heavy sleep ended with crashing waves and sticky morning heat and idling in shorts over sweet coffee and fried eggs and lazy conversation in the morning. More swimming, then dozing in the shade and reading and slow chat, and more friends come down from Dili and another swim and a slick of sunscreen and some beers still floating in the chilly bin and it feels like hours passing, stretching out time in fat hazy confusion. Shadows lengthening, and a backpack thrown into the car.
The ecolodge is maybe five minutes this side of Maubara village, so we went to buy baskets and brinkus before turning around again for Dili. Home in time for a moody rainy sunset and jazz and burgers at Castaway; barely 24 hours away from the city, but a decade in an island time and the long, lazy dry-out our cramped city minds needed.