[Click pictures at the bottom to make them bigger]
A blog for interested family and friends who have asked us to keep in touch whilst in the colonies.
A longish one to start…
We flew out to Mount Isa on the 18th September, with a 24 hour stop over in Brisbane. Brisbane seems a nice metropolitan sort of place that would be worth spending more time around.
Its interesting that despite the ubiquitous trappings of western culture (Chinese takeaway, cheap scandanavian furniture, etc) we are reminded that we are on the other side of the globe by the entirely different dawn chorus (which we might not have heard without the scrambled circadian rhythm that accompanies a 24hr flight.)
The flight to Mount Isa was fantastic as we were able to look through the clear skies to the country below, watching the landscape change as we moved away from the coast and nearer to the red earth and dust of western Queensland.
Michelle, who works in HR at the hospital kindly picks us up from the airport and tells us her story in Mount Isa, intending to come for a year and staying for six. We hear a similar story from other people.
They are putting us up in a two bedroom place very close to the hospital. Like many houses round here it looks like a sort of pre-fab thing made of light materials. We have lots of space and most importantly aircon! When we have commented that the current temperatures of 34ish are quite hot for us we have been laughed at, as the coming
summer months will see temperatures regularly around 45(!)
We are invited by Michelle to go to the horse racing on Sunday. Races and rodeos are very popular in the country. Were told people dress up for them and Sinead finds a fascinator in town.
We lose a fiver on ‘Darcy’ (no points for guessing who chose that one), but ‘Snazzy socks’ nets us 8 quid. We meet loads of friendly and interesting people, one of whom is a
cowboy/stockman (he says that although they do use quadbikes and helicopters for mustering they still do most of it on horseback)
The gathering ascends into a full blown hoedown/hootenanny shown in the video below. If you’re wondering if there is a DJ playing ‘Cotton-Eye Joe’ out the pack of a pickup (“ute”), you’d be absolutely right.
The next day I go with two new friends on a 4×4 outing to a big stretch of granite running accross this bit of the country. It looks like they thought they could try to sell it at some point but gave up.
There are huge piles of granite boulders in a big belt across the horizon that you can clamber amongst and get a really good view over the country. It feels like I’m on Mars.
The next day we go on a trip to the local lake/water source ‘Moondara’ with Michelle’s family and friends. Darren and Nathan both work in the mine, placing the explosives that we
hear/feel at 8am and 8pm with every shift change. Nathan takes us
on a small boat to see if we can spot a crocodile (“they’re only freshies, they won’t eat ya!”) but are unsuccussful. I just like messing about in boats to be honest. The water
level is quite low at the moment as there hasn’t been proper rain here
for more than a year. When the water is high it runs right over the dam, sending metre long baramundi shooting over with it, which people then gleefully collect into their trucks
as they fall down the other side!
The area which has been dammed off is a similar looking landscape to the one I had seen the day before, but was much more green and full of life, especially birds which we could hear very loudly from our position on the rocks above.
Amenities in Mount Isa have far surpassed our expectations. The 400 earl grey bags we brought were not needed with lots of well stocked shops here and you can enjoy a good espresso
and fancy hipster breakfast of eggs and avacados if you wish.
Lots more to say but will leave for the next one.
Miss you all. Keep in touch.