A day on the Ridge.

The dim yellow glow of halogen lights filtered through a nebulous spray
of fog greets me like the setting for a horror movie. I follow the grey
strip of concrete round corners, up stairs, through a basketball court,
weaving around people dressed in coveralls blue and red.
It’s only five thirty but the mess hall is full of the peoples that make
up a project, Fasu and Huli, Australian and American, a sprinkling of
other nationalities including the odd Kiwi like me.
The guard at the entrance nods to me in passing. Kitchen staff are
working away over steaming cauldrons, or serving food to the line of
waiting people they have been up since midnight but always seem to
manage a great deal more cheerfulness then I can manage at this time of
the day.
For me breakfast is nothing more then muesli and a big mug of steaming
coffee but around me plates are piled high with rice, eggs and steak,
those that have to spent the day in the field need a lot of sustenance.
I make a quick trip back to my room to brush my teeth and a few minutes
later I am behind my desk going through email, planning out my day and
dealing with whatever problems have surfaced during the night.
By about seven o’clock the first people arrive in the Brisbane office
and the telephone starts ringing, normally Anthony checks in or I ring
him if something is on my mind and we try to coordinate the days
activities. Today camps and catering is foremost on everybody’s agenda
and whether we can engage a sub contractor to manage this for us. Later
in the morning I have a meeting with them in Moro and it seems that we
understand each other on most issues. There are of course problems with
labour hire which has to go through a landowner company and the fact
that everything you need has to either flown in or trucked on a
hazardous four day road trip from Lae. It hasn’t happened recently to us
but highway robbery is far from unknown out here.
I get back to the office in time for some more emails and lunch. Lunch
is normally a full featured affair with both hot and cold food
selections and desert for those that want to. I normally have some cold
meat and cheese on a roll and a side salad of some description but today
they have lamb curry on the menu, which I like, so lamb curry it is,
there are even poppadums to go with it.
The afternoon is spend with updating CEFRS with the latest forecast and
doing some good, nice numbers. It is most enjoyable at times to just
puzzle with figures when they are not to easy to get bored and not to
difficult to get frustrated. At the end of the day we have a project
meeting to go over the days proceedings, all the supervisors come in
from the field for a debrief and we make sure that everybody knows what
is happening to the various aspects of the job. Then it’s dinner, watch
some telly for an hour or so, read my book and by nine thirty it is
lights out and hopefully of to sleep.

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