Monday, September 17, 2012

Out in the Field again

It's early morning, and it's dark outside. I'm not sure if it's today or yesterday, but I know I don't like it. Nevertheless, I have to catch the six-fifteen flight and, being that it's four in the morning, I'm not sure whether I slept at all, or just levitated through the two or three hours of sleep that I got.

The airport is unimaginably busy and probably the last place one would want to be in on a sleepy, cold morning - and with no caffeine in the blood stream. Everyone running around with their luggage, probably going for a meeting or whatever. The drowsiness makes stuff more complicated, so it all seems like a big circus.

Getting to the company house in Kalgoorlie doesn't help much, since the Jeep is completely messed up, the trailer can't be attached and it all seems to be getting more and more complicated. It takes us hours to drive around the city, get the mechanics and electricians to fix it all up, and then another six or so hours to drive to Wiluna.

We get to our destination just before midnight, but being completely tired and worn out, I hit the sack and wake up seven hours later. The morning brought some nicer news, especially when I woke up and realized I was surrounded by palm trees. The thing was that the place we spent the night in is a vineyard located around an oasis in the middle of the desert. Now, the desert isn't a desert in a Sahara way, but it's vast and dry alright.

Spending the night at a desert oasis
The vineyard accommodation in the desert

The field work went alright, with not so much stuff going off course, and with some of the Traditional Owners recognizing me, hooking up and, finally, sharing some stories. My co-worker told them about the research I did back in Croatia, which they listened to carefully, only to exchange some looks, nod in agreement, and share some of their stories.

We have the same thing, you know...

It felt great! The concerns about getting into the community, having them open up and share, and actually take me in popped into my mind very often. It takes a long time, a bunch of nerves and an open mind, so I can only hope I'm headed in the right direction.

Driving back...
Driving back to Wiluna after dropping some of the guys off

Grabbing a sammich at a diner
Dropping in for a sammich along the way, with an elderly couple checking out the news

Desert Sunset
The desert sunset

Shadowed in the desert; taken during the field survey with the whole team

Rearview Sunset
Catching the sunset in the rear mirror

Ant skyscraper and cow poo
Honey ant habitat and a bit of cow poo

So, after two days in the desert (and some will be disappointed to hear there was no camping involved this time), we took off and, this time, flew from Wiluna back to Perth. No driving, no pain in the butt (literally), and a new experience. The airport is tiny, with only two benches, a toilet and a large scale for the luggage. I took the chance to weigh myself when no one was looking, and I realized I'm gaining some weight. Not much, but still.

I've never flown in a smaller-than-usual plane, so the thirteen-seater looked both fancy and scary. I was proven right when I realized how much that thing dances around up there. It was nevertheless a cool experience to fly in it, seeing the pilots do their stuff and be able to take some photos out of the window, and now seeing clouds only.

Wiluna Airport
The Wiluna airport; number of passengers: 13

Flying time
The thirteen-seater that took us back to Perth

Flying in a thirteen-seater
The reason we're all out there after all - a mine

There was a fly on the plane. I tried imagining how it must've felt. I felt weird myself. Being so far away and so high up made me go all existential, you know. Where am I, what am I doing here, am I like this fly, what's the reason for all this, what if we crash, how would I react and would I react at all, and stuff like that...

Weird, isn't it?


  1. Fuck flying on a plane that small! Lol

    1. You wouldn't believe the wobbles... Eek!

    2. It's like flying on a fricken duck!

  2. I like flying on small planes. Bet you haven't flown on a 6 seater when the pilot comes out to serve you refreshments and you watch the plane going its merry way on auto pilot! Literally 'ma, no hands'!

    1. Oh wow, that must've been insane! I'd be like 'screw the refreshment, eyes on the...clouds'!

      I mean, don't get me wrong, I love flying! But there's just this slight difference between big and small planes.

      I still don't mind - fly me all around as far as I'm concerned... Flying out later today again, as a matter of fact, hehe...

  3. It will only be a matter of time :). Where to next!? I'm slowing down the travel for obvious reasons - off to Syd next week ;)

    1. I'm in Kalgoorlie again, going out to Cosmo Newbery (you can google map it) for a survey. It should be a bit quieter then, just working on reports, helping on some more theoretical stuff, some desktop research and stuff. It's a nice combo of office and work, so I don't really get tired of either...

      I'll try to get down to Sydney for New Year's, but we'll see. Then Mel's next on the list, hehe... Be well!



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