Every town needs an animal shelter

As part of my experience living in Newman, I will now tell you all about the need for proper animal shelters. I don’t have anything else to do now as Cyclone Christine is dumping rain on us and it’s New Year’s Eve so all the stores are closed.

The hotel as been quiet the past week, which means I haven’t had that many hours. I have been using my down time to catch up on much needed rest after working 60+ hours a week leading up to Christmas. However, since I started spending time in the crew quarters, I have noticed a bunch of stray cats hanging around. For those of you that know me, I love cats. I am a cat person. So when I tell you that these cats are annoying, they are really annoying.

The main culprits are a large gray cat, Smokey or one-eye; and his partner in crime, a black cat, Yowler or battle-scarred.

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Smokey, the dominant cat in Stray Cat Society

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Yowler, the subordinate in Stray Cat Society

During the day, they have a tentative alliance, probably because it is too damn hot to do anything else.  Smokey maintains the dominant position in stray cat society with Yowler deferring to his exalted position. However, at night, all bets are off. I am often awakened to the musical sound of cats trying to rip each other apart.  It seems that Yowler has been getting the crap beat out of him because he has taken up residence outside my window to voice his displeasure.

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Smokey and Yowler during their daytime, tenuous truce

And just yesterday, Smokey and Yowler were joined by two new tabbies. So now I can look forward to more musical hissing during the night. Seriously, why does this town not have a safe place for these kitties?

#sarcasm

First month in Newman

I finally have a chance to sit down and write this post. For those of you that have been wondering what I have been doing the past month, I took a job in Newman at the Seasons Hotel for a few month. I am working in both housekeeping and the restaurant and been working a lot! The hotel was very busy leading up to Christmas.

Newman is in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia, 9 kilometers north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Newman is a modern day mining town complete with small shopping complex, a few takeaways, a post shop, a library, and a pool! It exists to support the iron-ore mines at Mount Whaleback and the population that works for BHP Billiton.

It is hot, hot, hot in Newman. I happened to arrive during the hottest part of the year; in January the temperature averages 40°C or 104°F. Apparently, Newman rivals Baghdad in terms of temperature. Now imagine pushing a cleaning trolley around 6 blocks of rooms, some of which are two floors. That’s what I do every day.

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It’s only 9:00 in the morning!

For recreational opportunities, Newman has a few walking tracks. One goes to the top of radio hill, which offers some spectacular sunsets. There’s also an outdoor swimming pool, but with temperatures over 40 degrees, the pool water isn’t exactly refreshing. The day I went it was 32°C or 90°F. And boy, you better remember your sunscreen!

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Cue the Star Wars Binary Sunset Theme Song

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Newman in a way is a victim of its own success. The mines in Western Australia have been so successful that they have driven up prices in the surrounding communities. Houses are worth about 1.2 million for the following, which is a typical ranch style home. Most casual jobs provide housing, which is what I live in.

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Ranch style home

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Seasons Crew Quarters, the shoes were left by previous staff members

Overall, there isn’t much to do in Newman, except work, work, work!

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The Newman Visitor Center

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Seasons Hotel front entrance