Welcome to the arsehole of no where

Trip Start Oct 02, 2005
Trip End Sep 28, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, May 8, 2006

Emerald is 4/5 hours west of Rocky. I get
there 10 o'clock at night and it's a nightmare. I've
got my GIANT rucksack which is a third of my weight,
two heavy backpacks and my guitar. And I still left a
load of stuff in Sydney. This job that I had lined up
(well I say lined up, I phoned some guy and he said
come on up and phone me when you get to the bus
station) is supposed to provide accommodation. Only
problem is that the office closes at 3pm and he can't
book me in after that. "But don't worry!" he says,
There's plenty of places to stay in Emerald. In fact,
there's a pub just across the road from the bus
station that rents out rooms for the night." I look
across the road. The pub's closed.

Ok, plan B. I'm going to have to spend
the money and stay in a motel. I walk up to the
closest motel with all my gear and they're closed too,
with a no vacancy sign out. Right, the next motel is
the opposite direction about 10 minutes. It feels
like 30 with all my stuff. They've no room either.
The owner joyfully tells me that I'll be lucky to find
anywhere to stay here Monday-Friday. I walk around
for another half hour, checking all the other motels I
can find, my bags getting heavier and heavier. No
room at the inn. I end up sleeping on a bench outside
the train station. When I say sleep, I mean, nod off
with my hand on my knife, and suddenly jump up at the
sound of a cat passing by on the other side of the
street. And at night here it's COLD. I had four
jumpers on and was still shaking so badly I couldn't
hold my phone to text properly. It was a long night,
but I've had worse.

The next morning I phone this guy
George, my new employer. He's hitting 60, built like
a brick shit house, and is from Chile. I regale him
with my stories from his home country, telling him how
beautiful the women are there (one in particular in mind),
and he seems mildy amused. The farm is 15km outside Emerald
and startingthat day is another two guys that have been travelling
together, a Canadian and a German, Seamus and Dominic.
Seamus' parents are actually from Dundalk, and it's
funny to hear him speaking because every so often a
weird Northern Irish accent would slip out in some
words. So we arrive on this farm in the middle of no
where and discover that we won't be working for at
least 3 days. In the mean time we can sit and scratch
our arses if we'd like because there's frig all else
to do. Now this farm (allegedly) has 300 people
working on it. You think with that many people they
would have some sort of shop or something, and failing
that a bus that runs you into town, but no. If you
run out of milk, it's a 50 buck return taxi ride to
get some. What George also failed to mention is the
$100 bond for the shitty room (which was $90 a week),
$100 for the cutters we'd be using (30 bucks in town),
and another $50 for goggles, gloves and secretuers
($15 for all three in town). We couldn't get ours in
town because you can't bring tools onto the farm in
case of contamination. Aye, bollocks. Add onto that
all the food we have to buy, and most annoyingly, our
own kitchen utensils (!) we basically we would be
working the first two weeks just to pay off the money
we'd already spend here. Of course there's no
reception in the arsehole of no where, so contact with
any friends or family isn't going to happen. Ahh,
well, I think, I've got to do 3 months harvesting if I
want another visa for a year. So I'll stick it out
for a few weeks and see how it goes.

Finally we start work. Up at 5 in the morning to cut, pull,
and roll old grape vines in preparation for next years growing.
We get down to the field and Georges right hand man
tell us that we can't start work today because George
isn't here. If he doesn't turn up tomorrow, then it's
going to be another 3 days because they don't work on
Saturdays. That was the last straw. The three of us
drove into town and I asked when the next train back
to Rockhampton was. There's 2 trains per week through
Emerald. One goes west and then come back again 2
days later. It passed through that afternoon. I got
on it and arrived back in Rocky that night.
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aida on

Emerald Coaches
I live on that run between Emerald & Rockhampton.1990's myself & others from this small town used to travel by car to work on Citrus Packing, and grape picking starting November. Yes, they try you for everything these Emerald farmers. Our wages were subsidised by Fed. Government, I do not know what the deal is for visitors & back packers. I do know you have to have that work visa. I was searching the web to see who replaces 'Emerald Coaches' [also subsidised ] after 31st December 2007, as they are surrendering their contract, or it just expires.

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