Mt. Isa – the world’s largest city (the main street is 180km long and it’s city bounds encompass about the same square kilometers as Switzerland) has been a place of rest for me. Hanging out at Pete and Stacey’s has been relaxing and reviving all at the same time. It’s nice to be surrounded by all the comforts of home. We’ve been eating well and swimming in the pool…it’s been fantastic.
Sunrise at the Open-cut
One of the highlights of my trip into the outback has included a personalized tour of the mine. Mt Isa is home of the largest mineral mining operation in the world – producing copper, silver, zinc and lead. Pete has worked at the mines for eight years or so – he knows his stuff. We got up early and trekked off to work with him before sunrise. We had a couple of hours before the planned explosion later that morning, so we went on rounds and checked the whole above-ground portion of the mine for safety hazards. I assure you, I was not in charge of anything important (or, really, anything at all), but we looked quite official with our fluorescent orange shirts and hard hats; air masks hanging from our necks. Worried I may be mistaken for someone who could be counted on in an emergency, I made sure to wear a permanent look of confusion on my face….it was pre-coffee, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to look perplexed and out of place.
We passed huge dump trucks that have wheels twice the height of a person and cost $50,000-$70,000 each! The mine was bustling and it was not quite 6:00am. The detonation was meant to be medium-sized and we took our spots on the opposite side of the pit. I was nominated to set the detonation (being foreign and thus an awesome scapegoat lest thing go horribly awry). It took me two tries! I tell you: it’s hard to press both buttons simultaneously! Actually, due to either a bit of faulty wiring or debris landing on the second half of the detonation site, only the first half the explosion went off. It was still an impressive show and I can only imagine what it sounded like – and felt like – to the hundreds of workers underground.
So, besides the odd experimenting with explosives, this is the most down time I’ve had in months…maybe in years. Yup, definitely years. It’s nice to read again, and watch movies, and just lounge. I feel a little unfocused but that’s not such a bad thing. I’ve started to try to figure out what I’m going to do with my next few months. As of the end of the week I have very little planned. This is a big country – where do I go next? Maybe flight prices will be a determining factor?
The world is my oyster…raw, goopy, good with hot sauce, and brimming with the possibilities of a hidden pearl or two
Note – between the time I wrote this and started to post it (a matter of hours), I’ve decided to stay on another week. I’m not just claiming to love the Isa – I really do! The people here are exceptionally friendly and welcoming. I’ve already been offered a selection of places to stay if Stacey and Pete kick me out! (this actually may happen, as i could easily decide to stay indefinitely…haha…er, just kidding Stace…).
Theme Songs for the Day:
Ice Cream – Muscles, from the album Guns Babes Lemonade
Kamloops?...not Toronto or Montreal....only Vancouver and Kamloops! How random!?!