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Timor-Leste 4W6AAV(OC148) DXpedition (May. 30. 2007 ~ June. 4. 2007)
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■ Timor-Leste is ? ...................

On May 20, 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state. The country was originally called ‘Timor Leste’ in Portuguese. However, its official name is ‘Democratic Republic of Timor Leste.’

East Timor, situated 2200km away from the north of Jakarta, 1200km away from the southeast of Bali, and 700 kilometers off the north coast of Australia, stands at the almost same longitude as Korea. Therefore, the country has no time difference with Korea. Located just a short distance from the Equator, this small country experiences tropical weather throughout the year with dry season (May thru Oct.) and wet season (Nov. thru Apr.). The annual rainfall greatly varies by region. The nation’s annual mean temperature is 27℃ - 30℃. East Timor seasons are just the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere, as spring is (Sept-Nov), summer is (Dec-Feb), fall is (Mar-May) and winter is (Jun-Aug). The country (15,007km2) is as large as Gangwon-do.

As of 2004, the population is estimated at approximately 925,000 including 150,000 in Dili, the capital city. Most of the people of East Timor are of Papuan, Malayan, and tetum (about 40%). In May 2002, Portuguese and tetum were designated as official languages. There are 16 more local languages.

The U.S. dollar is the official currency of East Timor. Local coins have been circulated since the end of 2003. On May 20, 2002, the diplomatic relations were established with Korea. On Aug. 8, 2002, it was promoted to an embassy.

There is a flight to East Timor at Denpasar Airport in Bali, Indonesia once a day and at Darwin Airport in Australia once or twice a day. When Darwin Airport is used, it takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to get to East Timor. The airfare is very high. Visitors may come by bus via Kupang at West Timor.

As famous tourist spots, there are the Jesus statue in Dili, Baucau (East Timor’s second largest city), Tutuala beach, Jaco (island), coffee plants in Ermera, Maubisse where East Timor's highest peak, Gunung Tatamailau (2963m), stands), Ainaro, and Atauro.

Traditionally, East Timor, consisting of multiple peoples, has long been isolated from other cultures. Therefore, a village headman’s role has been emphasized. As a leader of the community, he has made an important decision. Today, a village headman’s authority still remains strong.

While a wedding is held in a church, the wedding party is held at a bride’s home. In order to get married, a groom should give a dowry to a bride’s family (USD 600 ? 2,000 in average). Some people do not even get married due to a short of the marriage portion.

East Timor people especially enjoy cockfighting. Cockfighting is a major spectator activity. Opposing roosters, each with a razor-sharp blade tied to one leg, are pushed against one another to agitate them into fighting to the death. Betting is a critical component of the event. The owner of the winning rooster receives his betting winnings as well as the body of the losing rooster.
Cockfighting is considered a national game.