Mine Camp Diaries: Is This A Resort And What’s A Seven Course Aussie Meal

Another day at the mine, another bad choice of food (the dates are making me fart) and exercise (do not attempt to run in 35 degree heat in Northern Territory). I even got another marriage proposal, this one from a bite-sized East Timorese woman who says her son is very cute and also 24, and after all it might be nice to “stay home raising grandchildren instead of working at the mine.”

Now that I’m back in my room contemplating her marriage proposition I notice it has taken on a rancid body odor stench that will be impossible to remove, given our rooms don’t have windows. Airing out through the door is impossible. The minute I open it any number of vicious insects will be waiting to invade. The other day, my housekeeping partner and I were going from room to room, dragging the big royal blue housekeeping trolley down the sidewalk. She was griping about how precise our bosses want the bed making to be. “What do they think this is, a five star resort? We’re in the middle of the bush!” she quipped.

I guess I can say the same for the stench. What do I expect? This is a mining camp.

On the upside, I finally got a belt so now my pants don’t fall down as I’m lifting boxes. I even got a pair of protective sunglasses that make me look like your average suburban dad who has taken a liking to cycling in spandex.

These last couple of days have continued to be informative, especially regarding:

Language: Crib is the mining term for break room as well as the food you pack for lunch. Bubbly is the water fountain and the blower is a radio or phone. If you’re up shit creek you’re in big trouble.

Australian cuisine: “Do you know what a seven course Aussie meal is?” my workmate asked me at dinner last night. “I’m sure it involves beer,” I mused, knowing that anything of pride must include some sort of alcohol. “She’s onto it!” he yelled getting excited, “It’s a six pack and a meat pie!”

Sarcasm: I was walking towards a training classroom yesterday and I walked past a fish tank in the office. I saw some goldfish-sized blue fish swimming around, a few fake plants and some rocks.  On the top left hand corner, someone had placed a mini replica of the “beware of crocodile” signs seen around Australia. Careful that the goldfish don’t attack!

I’m also learning more and more about my coworkers. Besides the inappropriate workplace language and topic of conversation, I’ve also picked up on a strange thing my supervisor does. She will reference people in the company or workers in a competitor’s company that we, her group, have never heard of nor come into contact with. She will say something neutral about them, such as, “he went to the company meeting last year” then follow it by saying “but he’s actually a real cool guy, seriously guys, he’s a good dude” in a surprising tone, as if we were against her stance that he was a decent human being.

She’s not the only bicho raro around here. The other day I was “organizing boxes” (aka moving things around unnecessarily, but if they want me to I do it) in the maintenance shed when one of my workmates asked me if I had seen the maintenance boss. “No,” I said, “I don’t know who he is?” My workmate responded “He’s the dodgy one who looks like an alcoholic who’s just gotten sober for the morning. Seriously, you’ll know.”

A few minutes later we saw him outside the shed trolling around behind the wheel of the forklift, one hand on the controls and the other with a cup of coffee in his hand. My workmate looked at me and said, “See? F*cking dodgy.”

Featured photo taken on the Red Center Way. 

Read other updates from life on the Mine Camp here.


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