I just love the whole idea of flying on a big ol’ jet airliner, just like the one Steve Miller sang about, (incidentally I once saw Norton Buffalo perform in the woods near Lake Tahoe, he was the guy who played harmonica on that song). Love the whole deal, with the free meals and the alcohol and warm face towels and hostesses and all that stuff. Which was too bad really, because having arrived at the airport and giving them my name, I followed their directions and found myself on the tarmac next to a six seater Piper Cherokee. D’oh.
The flight was about three and a half hours (I’m not too sure exactly) of white knuckle, bouncing around the cabin, sweat inducing, sphincter constricting, "fuck this shit let me out of here" terror; as a result of being tossed around by severe winds. If any of you have flown on small aircraft you will know that they are affected by atmospheric conditions much more than the big bastards are.
Finally the plane began its descent, something I found rather perplexing as there didn’t seem to be anything there apart from red desert (and I don’t mean rhubarb pie). All you could see for miles was…well…nothing. We landed on a dirt strip and seemingly out of nowhere a couple of utes (that’s short for utilities, think el Camino) appeared to pick us up.
I had arrived at the Agnew Nickel Mine site, about 300 miles north of Kalgoorlie (in case anyone wants to look it up, but you’ll have to look hard). As it was around lunch time by now, I thought that I would be taken to to my five star accommodation (ha, even I didn’t think that) and then given the rest of the day off to get settled in (and yes, I did think that). For those who haven’t realised yet, I’m attempting to break the record for the most number of parentheses in a single post, currently held by W.Otadickhed.
Meanwhile back at the site, the guy who came to pick me up at the dirt strip waited while I got changed and then took me to where we were working on the installation of a 3,000 volt winder motor (this has significance later). I must point out at this time that this was a construction site only, consisting of dongas (if you poke around this site you’ll get the idea), a wet mess and a dry mess. The township of Leinster was yet to be established, that was also part of our contract.
After working the rest of the shift I returned to my quarters, a 10’x6′ room with a bed, a desk and a cupboard. If you think that sounds like a cell you are absolutely right. Of course the difference is that I was free to leave any time I liked, that is except for the fact that the only way in or out was by plane and that only came once a week. That’s not strictly true, there was a road to the site, it had been bulldozed (same as the landing strip) about three months prior, but you needed a car to use it.
"Oh shit! This could be interesting…."
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