The Gaping Vent of Gayndah, 19 days and counting.....

Gayndah Travel Blog

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Oh so where to begin. Well I guess with how we got to gayndah in the first place. See our original plan had been to go to stanthorpe and do apple picking for a while. Help us pay off a few debts, and save some money for the trip, plus work some time off the 3 months regional work for dan. Unfortunately as we discovered after a few days there, there was rather a lack of work, and to many people waiting for work before us. So after having a fine old chat with an ol' digger we met at one of the rest spots who had done fruit picking and the like in the 80's he instructed us to head for gayndah as the citrus season would just be starting. And what better way to get work than to be there at the start of the season. So we packed ourselves up, and with a quick side trip into mum and dad's headed on up and inland to gayndah.

Initial impressions of gayndah: Small, dark, and very very quiet.

Cuts and scratches, gashes and gouges, bruises, infections, muscle cramps and heat stroke, this is the beginning of our roadtrip, and its only 19 days in.

So we got there at about 10:30 at night, having had a bit of a late leaving time, and getting a little lost on the way out there. We finally found the rest stop we'd been aiming for, and found it absolutely packed to the brim with backpackers. A situation we found out later was very common and very annoying to locals. So we cooked up some dinner, and hit the hay for the night. To the sound of some very drunk french singing.

Next day we headed into town, and found that yes it was still the same impressions, just instead of dark, it was now bright, with the added hot and dusty.Signed up at the work agency and at the caravan park, and that was where our troubles began.

See unfortunately because of the start of the citrus picking season, the caravan park was absolutely, unbelievably packed!! Every available inch of room that could be used, was being used. So stacey ( the lady who owns the place) stuck us in the only space she had, right next to the garbage bins! Now for anyone who has lived in a caravan park, there's generally a lot of garbage, old food, beer cans, god knows what. Now add to this the fact that it was about 30 degrees every day, and at least 85% humidity, led to an absolute fly haven! But there was hope, for she told us that there was another block of land they were opening up across the road in the next few days, and we had first dibs on a spot. Brilliant! Or so we thought. Anywho so we settled into caravan life, made a friend with the lady living a couple of spots down, a wonderful lady who soon became affectionately known as Aunty Pat, for her constant need to take care of everyone, in her bluff gruff way. Then got the news from stacey that we wouldn't have to wait the 10 or so days she'd thought we'd have to for work, but were informed on the second day at the park that we had work, and started saturday. Nice!

Then brilliant news, the third day comes around, and we're told we can move into the new block! Woohooo!! So we take down our little setup and head across to set up what we thought would be our permanent home for the next couple of months or so. Set up our tent and our big tarp so that once we started making more friends, we'd all have somewhere to sit in the shade duringg the day or if it rained. Came across a slight problem in the process, which was the fact that the ground was as hard as stone!! So we thought never mind head into town get some of those big iron pegs everything will be fine and dandy. Well we managed just to get them in and get everything set up, but bent every single peg we had in the process, including the 2cm thick iron ones!!! But never mind, we were set up, and comfy and still had two days before we started work, brilliant, a couple of days to relax and get ready for hard work. Or so we thought. Spent thursday dealing with some essentials we were missing for the van, and things we didn't have to start work and so when friday rolled around we thought no worries we'll just relax, read, eat and just stay rested for the next day. Think again. About two hours after we'd been up, stacey comes down, full of apologies, telling us that unfortunately the idiot of a neighbour had put in a complaint and so council had made her move everyone out of the block!! Your kidding right!! Nope, so there we are in the middle of the day, in the stinking heat trying to rip out all the pegs we'd so labouriously put in the 2 days before. And then packing it all back up and heading back over to our little spot near the bins again.

Oh Joy!

So we started the next day fruit picking, somewhat the worse for wear, but not to bad at least. But we were so not prepared for the fruit picking. So the job in itself is not too difficult, use the snippers to cut the mandarin off the tree, make sure the stems not to long, or that you don't knick or bruise the fruit. No worries! Except that no one had told us that mandarin trees have thorns! Ouch!! So we ended that day not only having found muscles that we never knew existed but with a fair few cuts and scratches and gouges from the thorns. And so it continued for the next few days, muscles straining, sweating in the boiling hot sun, tackling the trees to extract the fruit, and then finishing it all to come back to our fly ridden van. Not too bad in itself, once we stopped aching as much.

Then my toe started.

I had decided that i would try and be a real farm worker and wear old boots to work. unfortunately I never wore them back in before hand. So after about 3 days of work, I started noticing that my right big toe, was quite swollen and rimmed in red around the toenail. Rather odd!!! And as the days continued it just continued to swell and swell until it was so painful to put my boots on I had to change to some little converse type shoes. But the damage was done, and unfortunately with the climbing of the ladders constantly, it only added to the swelling and pain. But I toughed it out. So dan and I continued with our work, until after a little over a week, we were told that ourselves along with our working buddies, an aussie named bill, and a kiwi named corey, had worked faster than the bosses had expected, and work that should have take 3 weeks took less than half that time. Damn, well we knew at least that we were doing well in our jobs, we were managing easily 3 and a half bins a day (about 1.5m cubed) and at the very end of the week four a day. So we said goodbye to our boss, letting him know that for future picking we would be around, and then headed back to the park. And then bingo 2 days after we finished work, stacey let us know we were right to head back to our new block spot. Great!! But this time aparently the ground had literally turned to rock, for absolutely no peg we used would go into the ground without bending in half, or just skimming along the surface and not staying in. So thank god dan had a brilliant idea, albeit a rather random one, and off he toddles to Mitre 10 and comes back with these massive heavy duty screws, about 10cm in length and about 1.5cm in thickness. And we socket wrenched them into the ground, so our site was literally screwed to the ground! And not long after setting up, we were informed that we had another job. So everything seemed to be getting better again.

But then bam, another drama, as seems to go Dan's and my life, we're driving the car and dan can feel that somethings not right. So we check under the drivers side where he can feel it. And low and behold, the shockie has snapped off. So we take it to a mechanic who informs us, that sorry but the shock absorber mounting bracket has snapped, and he's not sure how long it'll take if he can even find us a new one. So he takes out the shock absorber, rebolts on the sway bar which had come lose in the whole shmegeggie and tells us he'll let us know when he finds out about a new piece for it!! But until then, no fast speeds, and no dirt roads. Oh! Well thats really easy, in Gayndah!!! The town of dirt roads. And then there's my toe, it had turned into a super sensitive, red and swollen sore, that I had drained a couple of nights and kept having to dettol treat but didn't really seem to be getting any better.

So we started the new job, the next day, and oh god, it was horrible, the bosses were okay, nice as people go, but the fruit, was the size of pingpong balls! And if you've ever done fruit picking, you can understand, going from fruit the size of tennis to softballs filling the bins down to large marble to pingpong balls. It was horror!! Every single time we put a bag in the bin it seemed honestly like the bin swallowed up half of it, and there was less in there than there had been before. Then to top it off the trees were totally horrific, with brittle branches sticking out everywhere to stab into your skin and then snap off and stay in there, super sharp thorns, branches heavy and twisted with so much fruit and leaves that it made it impossible to seperate out a single branch without snapping of 5 or 6 other pieces of fruit, which you now couldn't put in your bin, or branches that hung so low they were literally sitting on the ground, surrounded by they're own rotten fruit! And then for the cherry on the cake the days suddenly decided to hit like 34, with no cloud cover, and 95% humidity. It was what could only be described as the nightmare of fruit picking, but we toughed it out the first day, going home rather sore and disappointed as we'd only managed 2 bins of fruit. And then went back for another day of torture the next day. But to top this day off, after coming home tired and sore and just wanting dinner, a shower and bed. 10 mins after getting home, stacey comes down to tell us, she's so so sorry, but council have put a no go on the new block and everyone has to be moved out. :O NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...... and we no longer have out next to the bins spot, as that little commodity has been taken now to, so stacey puts us in the only place she has left. Her backyard.

Now mind you its a damn big backyard, With a shed on it the size of a factory shed. And could probably actually fit half the caravan park in it. But yes, yet again, for the fifth time, we have to move. Ah dear so here we are, absolutely knackered from work, having to unscrew, (yes thats right remember screwed into the ground), our setup, pack it all up yet again and move it over to staceys backyard at the opposite end of the park. But this time we didn't even bother to set it all up properly we just parked the van, moved the tent over already set up. And that was it. Had a shower and went to bed.

The next day turned out to be the killer. Went to work as usual, but this day turned out to be the hottest we'd had yet, so rather langourously, from lack of sleep and complete exertion of energy the day before, we set to work. But this day everything thing was competely against us, and by 1pm we were having trouble just finshing the last half of our 2nd bin. And then the trouble started with me. I lost all energy, had no strength in my arms, started getting head spins, and feeling nauseous, and finally got to the point where I couldn't work anymore, so with both of us exhausted, and me slightly out of my head with yes you guessed it heat stroke we headed home. A crappy end to a crappy day. And found out from the chemist, that not only yes did I have heat exhaustion, but my toe, that had been a problem for so long now, was seriously infected, that I'm going to lose the toenail on it, and that if I don't go to the doctors on monday and get some antibiotics for it, its gonna get a whole lot worse. So now I can't work, as I can't put on shoes, Dan has to go to work by himself, and we're both kind of wondering if gayndah was really worth it in the first place. Cuts and scratches, gashes and gouges, bruises, infections, muscle cramps and heat stroke, this is the beginning of our roadtrip, and its only 19 days in. So all we're wondering now is, it has to get better on from here, doesn't it...........?

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photo by: cath_aymeric