Day 3 or 4? Things are starting to blur a bit
So today is my first time out to the mine site. It requires 2 planes to get here and the first one leaves at 06:00 with an 05:00 check-in requirement. I joked with Paramee last night that nothing good ever happens at 4:00 in the morning. She suggested I might see some nice lady joggers.
She was half right. As I waited for the driver to take me to the airport I saw a lady boy walking at half a jogging pace down the street. Two half rights make a whole right don't they?
The first plane flight is from Vientiane to Savanakhet and is a nice flight on a twin engine ATR commercial flight. You get a good look at both cities (if Savanakhet counts as a city). Waiting in the pseudo departure lounge I discovered the BEST ICED COFFEE EVER! OMG this thing is so tasty. Why do they not sell these in Australia?? Why dammit!
The second flight is somewhat more... rustic. These only fly at about 3000ft and you can see the endless plains of rice paddies as we make our way to the site.
So of course there is the initial site induction and then off to the stores to get me some hi-vis logo shirts and they provide me with boots as well which is nice of them. So they offer me a medium sized shirt and I humour them by trying it on and we can all see immediately that yes, I do actually need the large I suggested. Then they asked me my shoe size. I looked at the label of the ones I was wearing which says I am a US 11 so I tell them "Ten - maybe eleven."
The two girls behind the counter rush over and start peering over to see my feet. The three Lao guys waiting in line behind crouch down to get a closer look. It was if I told them I had duck feet or something the way they reacted. It was actually pretty funny. Turns out that I am a 10 in this type of boot which is still some kind of news for the locals.
Then we headed to the office, such as it is and I got to see my first close look at an open cut mine. It made me wonder what Bendigo or Ballarat would look like if they had been mined with modern methods one hundred and fifty years ago. Would there be an reclaimed land there now? Newport lakes seems to have cleaned up a quarry in only a decade or two, but would anyone be living in those cities now?
As expected, it's hot and dusty and there are some pretty significant challenges for me to getting things fixed here. I guess that's why I'm here.
But it has been a bloody long day and I am fried. I think I shall fall asleep now watching the golf.