As you know, we packed up the van last Saturday and headed to Coonabarabran to plant some trees. We had no idea why we were doing this, why the people we were working for were doing this, but had in our minds that planting millions of trees can only be a good thing and we'd get paid to do it. Call us nieve - I did try to find out more information before we left but couldn't find anything substantial about the company as their website wasn't working and all I had was a few pics on their facebook page. Also, phone communication was some what non existent and I had put this down to 'maybe they were out of phone range'. But, we were excited. Off to plant trees in order to create a better future for generations to come.
We landed in Coonabaraban at about 2pm on Sunday, still no word from the supervisor. Sent text messages, left phone messages (but they must be out of range) and at 3pm we decided to set up camp in one of the local caravan parks, leaving a message as to where we were. Two minutes later, we get the call. It's Dave the supervisor. They're in town but haven't organised any accommodation for everybody. Quite relieved, we met him and two other workers at the visitor information centre and from there we all decided to stay in one of the pubs for the night. It was too late in the day, everyone was exhausted from their travels and the rest of the gang were still on their way. The pub was the cheapest, nastiest, grottiest pub we've ever stayed in. No hot water, no heating in below minus temps (lucky we had our own heater), still rubbish left over from the last people who stayed there and what looked like blood stains on the curtains. Swear to god someone had died (been massacred) in that room.
Camp Cypress was great! Steaming hot showers! A 44 gallon drum to light a fire in and a gorgeous caretaker called Charlie who made us (Dan and I) feel more than welcome, helped us collect firewood in his $250 ute, gave us a heap of delicious cod that his brother had caught and invited us to Super Bingo at the local Bowling Club, which was good fun.
Work, on the other hand, not so great. We started feeling a bit icky first thing on Tuesday morning as we were driving out to the work site with who we were told was the boss. He was not the boss, he was the boss's son, soon to be known as 'Daddy's Boy'. Pleasant enough until we drove through the Aboriginal settlement of Gwabegar and he started on about eradicating the town and those living in it. We were horrified! Gwabegar would make an awesome setting for a Tarantino movie. Ok, so the town is run down, lots of rusted and burnt out cars, peeling paint and broken windows on empty buildings but it is pretty cool. There were also lots of flowers, vege beds and chooks, which helped to soften things a bit. I wish I had my camera with me that day. We met some of the locals at bingo that night and they all had funny stories to tell. Lovely people.
When we woke up on Wednesday morning, it was -2 degrees and everything was frozen. Even the deodorant was now called "frodorant" and there was no way we were about to use it. Brrrrr!