February 28th, 2007 – by: lealealou
Port Hedland 'city centre', brown town as we call it.
So much for Perth!! After planning to stay in Perth for 3 months, we arrived to find that the jobs were not that plentiful and not as well payed as we had hoped. We started asking about another option, country bar work, which we had heard about. Essentially you get sent to an outback, out of the way bar where they need staff, and in return for room, food and a good wage you must commit to 3 months with them. So, 1900 kms later and here we are in Port Hedland!
Its a tiny 'town', if you call it that, which only exists due to the mines here. The port is officially the busiest in the world, exporting 33% of the world iron ore each year and shipping more tonnage than any other port.
A view of some of the rooms at our hotel.
There are around ten shops although we've only seen two of them, around 4 bars and two hotels. We work in one of the hotels, the All Seasons. Its has around 67 rooms, a sports bar, a bottleshop, a bookies (of course, Aussies love to gamble), and a bistro. We work in the bistro mostly, I'm waiting tables, John's doing barwork and waitering. Its exactly what we expected it to be, with not much to do during you time off, so we have no way of spending our money. The work is ok, it gets busy sometimes but you'd expect that. Our accommodation is definitely what you'd call 'basic' but we do have 2 movie channels so that kills some time. Small mercies! Its good to be experiencing a different side to Australia, not just the touristy places like Sydney and Melbourne but the proper Outback.
A sunset over our Port Hedland, which can be really special most nights.
When we arrived in our room it already housed a small gecko who has since moved, and a jumping spider that pounced around the window until he had an encounter with the latest hardback book I'm reading. The town is red, literally colored red all over, from the dust that the deep mining spews into the air. If you leave you car out for any length of time it too will change colour. We are in cyclone country now with signs up everywhere warning what the risks are at the moment. And, as we recently found out on a trip looking for fishing spots with another couple working with us, we are also in croc country, with signs warning would be swimmers to do so at their own risk. Add to this the posinous snakes which are seen on the hotels grounds once a week, and needless to say you have a mix that makes us keep our eyes firmly on the ground when walking!! Its good though, all and all, that we are experienceing the Oz of legend and not just the pre-packaged side of things.
The only real issue at the moment is the heat, which gets above 43 most days, and was above 46 everyday for about 6 days recently. Its gets everywhere and is almost unbearable during midday, so we spend lots of time in our air conditioned room. We have been here 3 weeks now and have 9 more to go, before hopefully heading off with healthy bank balences to spend in Asia. That will mostly be due to not having anything to spend it on, and the long hours we are doing. I have to do the breakfast shift as well, starting at 5 am, so the days are sort of blurring into one another and making things go quickly. So thats all for now, sadly we have no internet in the hotel and I have had to walk 40 minutes in the 43 degree heat to write this for you at our 'local' library. Its expensive too despite being dial up, so I best go and hope I have enough to pay!! Hope fully we will have more to write soon other than about work, as we try to see the 'sights' of Port Hedland. G'day for now....