Monday, August 28, 2006



I feel like I just don’t shut up on this blog about swimming. But I have to tell you that I had one of the nicest most relaxing swims ever last night, in the pool at the camp out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by gum trees under a pile of glittery stars.

This is my fourth visit to the mine site, and I am becoming much more relaxed about it all. The first two visits I spent totally overawed at the sheer scale of everything, and the outlandish way of living. It made me question things like, why do we operate on a seven-day week? (Because God said so?) Why do we stop working just because it’s 5 o’clock in the afternoon? It seemed to me like the mining company had just created its own version of society, which was perhaps not dissimilar to what Marx had in mind .. the Company providing for all of the material needs, and the workers well, just working. It seemed strangely … successful. I suppose the main difference to the Marxist version is that this one is driven by extreme profit. Oh well.

By my third stint, the novelty and the philosophy were wearing off a bit. This stint, my fourth, is pretty much plain sailing. I’m really enjoying it. My favourite thing by far about it is the landscape. Not the pit itself, but the relatively untouched former cattle station that surrounds it. I took some photos on my walk home from work yesterday, so that you can enjoy some of the Australianness.

I love the form of these low hills. When I flew home last time, I finally got a window seat on the plane and I was able to see that the hills repeat for hundreds of kms in every direction, from the sky it looks just like rumply puppy skin.

When I arrived back at the camp, I found that someone had already put my washing in the dryer and left me suddenly free of chores for the evening, so I slipped into the pool for a quick dip. It was lovely.

4 comments:

kookie said...

Maaate...I've been in a donger (lurve that word)and a wet and dry mess in Newman in WA. One of four women with 200 men who had been on site for 3 weeks straight and drinking $2 Redbacks. Was an experience...

How many staff on site in total?

Eileen said...

I love the photos- also I notice you are reading the The Wind Up Bird- I liked you- you?

Naomi said...

The Wind-up Bird is one of my all-time favourites, ever. I also really enjoyed A Wild Sheep Chase which I read with book group earlier in the year. I was very pleased to learn that Murakami does absolutely no planning before he just sits down and writes a novel.

Kookie: it's a pretty large site out here: about 500 on site at any one time, 120 of whom are the truck drivers and shovel operators it is my happy duty to look after. They are great guys on the whole, though the general levels of literacy and dentistry are low. The ratio of women to men is a bit higher than what you experienced - but still I hardly ever have to open a door for myself. Oh, and they always apologise if they say f**kn c**t in my presence. It's quaint.

Naomi said...

Plus, I picked up a tea-bag in the mess this morning, and found that it was green tea. It was in a container next to the Equal. That's not how things used to be. I'm sure that miners from days gone by are turning in their tombs.