Land That Time Forgot

The former custodians of the Hotel Flamboyan in Baucau, the picturesque seaside town on East Timor's northeast coast, had a lot to learn about hotel management. Here, during East Timor's darkest days under Indonesian rule, paying guests were treated with disdain by staff dressed in combat fatigues and carrying M-16s and hand grenades. This was an Indonesian military facility that had kept its fašade as a hotel to mask its real function as a place to detain, interrogate, torture and sometimes kill Timorese sympathizers of the pro-independence movement.

My first visit to the hotel ended abruptly on New...

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