Friday, 27 November 2009

hard times in work camp (gasfields pt. 1)

Life in a work camp is all right at the best of times.
But often the prolonged absence from loved ones (if one has them) or just the departure from the mundane and the daily routine that one has come to get used to, can be very taxing.

Here’s some snapshots of living in camp.
Daily before the rooster crows, one is roused from his slumber by an alarm of sorts whether from a clock, radio, phone or even body clock.
After a quick ablution, it is then time to head to the mess for some breakfast.

On the way there you could pause to just gaze and admire the sunrise.

There’s not much by way of food in camp.
Breakfast usually consists a few spare choices.

Hot foods are bacon and all sorts of eggs, hash browns, sausages, baked beans, spaghetti, pancakes, and sometimes rehashed left-over dinner, etc.

Cold foods are a choice of about 8-10 cereals,
or toast from abt 6 choices of breads.

Beverages are either coffee or teas.
For cold drinks, there’s a choice between fresh fruit juice or cordial softdrink.
I don’t have a photo of the fridges but these are full of milks of all types as well as yoghurts and butters and margarines and...

I didn’t even have a look at what’s in them fridges – maybe they’re hiding the daing and tuyo there. That’s why am not happy – there’s no pandesal even.

After breakfast or before, one can pack lunch from an assortment of cold foods, salads, frozen pies, sandwiches etc.

Cold foods choices are salami, chicken, ham, beef cuts etc.

There’s also garnishes as olives, sundried tomato, tuna, pickles etc.
Salads normally include fresh green garden salad, cucumber, beetroot, carrots, cheeses, cut boiled eggs and bacon pieces, a pasta dish or two etc.

Sadly not a salted egg or balut in sight.

Frozen foods include factory processed pies, sausage rolls etc. There’s also various condiments and spreads for sandwiches or smoko. I looked but there’s no ice buko or halo-halo.

So with the esky filled with 3 or 4 or 5 lunchboxes (i don’t know about them but there’s something missing here), and 3 or 4 or more pieces of fruit, one is then ready for a big day at work.

I know. They don’t have sardinas, or adobo or lechon.
I might go on strike – maybe a hunger strike.

Sweets are either fresh-baked cakes with icing, muffins, or other delights such as gelatine or jelly. Freshly sliced fruit such as rockmelon, honeydew, pineapple, kiwi fruit, and grapes.
My favourite is the locally grown watermelon from the nearest town Chinchilla, only a half-hour’s drive away.

Fresh whole fruit are also in store by the boxful. 

Well-known other Queensland stone fruit such as apples and pears are aplenty as are oranges mandarins and bananas.
That's a typical packed lunch for me above - very spartan.

I’ll post some notes on work later but for now let’s assume the lads and ladettes had a big 12 or more hours of toil out in their respective worksites.
So around sunset to nightfall, the crews start filing in from the field.

Some will go straight for a coldie, others for a shower, the odd ironman to do laundry, some might even drive out to town, still a few will attend to a bit of paperwork, while others go to the gym, rec room (ping-pong or pool), or tv (paytv sports etc) or computer room (internet surfing). 

But around dinner time, there will be a constant to-ing and fro-ing to-and-from the mess hall.

Here everyone knows everyone er on a nodding acquaintance level. There would be at least 40 people in the mess hall at peak dinner time, but sometimes it can be to full capacity of about 60 or more people.

Dinner is usually the big meal for most in camp. And to break the monotony of food, every night has a different main menu.

But every night there’s choices of at least three meat dishes and steaks as standard, spaghetti pasta rice potato or breadrolls are the staples relegated to the side, as well as soup and vegetables.
Friday nights always has fish and seafood as part of the main menu.

Saturday night is barbeque night. Still buffet style. choices of abt 6 mains. Eat all you can.
Sometimes drinks are served. Drink all you can.

Desserts are normally cakes puddings custard sauces and toppings etc.

After dinner – i think everyone feels like they’ve had the lion’s share – people would settle down to some well-deserved drinks or coffee or tea, or milk for growing boys like me he he.

I’m despondent actually, where’s the pinikpikan, or dineng-deng with bago-ong or alamang?

I’m seriously thinking about a strike action – maybe a stop-work.

There’s also a choice of about six flavours of ice cream and the same toppings as chocolate or other.

Cones are provided but i like mine in bulk – tubs he he.

So with a heavy heart for having to leave all that food behind, and with a heavy tummy, i start back to my unit.
Still dreaming of the avocado-flavored sorbetes and/or pinipig.

Here’s some photos of camp:

There’s at least a hundred self-contained units in camp.

Each has a bed and desk,

fridge and tv set,
toilet and shower,
and it’s fully air-conditioned.

All that’s missing now is a special someone, but then night visits are not allowed.

Pity about that. what about inmates' rights?
But maybe the groaning and moaning might disturb the peace and quiet and the local amenity.

Martin forgets that he’s here to work and not otherwise.
Must be something in the water -
or the milk eh...


  1. the buffet doesnt look that bad. At least some healthy choices there.

  2. some homemade brazo de mercedes would be nice... i wish someone would bake me some.


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