Back home, when someone asks me what there is to do around there, I hem and haw for a minute, and then suggest they drive an hour or two away. Maybe there are interesting things to do, if you aren’t a local, but I can’t always think of what they are. So, here in Emerald, there are advantages to being a newcomer. Just about everything is interesting, and so far, I’ve been able to figure out a handful of things to look into, when I next have time.
But considering I joke about having no social life when I’m in the U.S., my week is filling up with plans and possibilities. I have a possible get-together happening with a lady from the chapel. We’re going to meet for dinner or perhaps coffee, but it’s tricky, since I work til five, and most of the coffee shops close by then. There are no Starbucks or Seattle’s Best Coffee around here, that’s for sure. There is a lovely little bookstore and coffee shop combined, on the main street, but that also closes by 5pm during the week, and noon, on Saturday. So, maybe we’ll end up doing dinner, though she did suggest that the Irish Pub serves coffee, but maybe not in the evening? I’m not sure.
On Thursday, I’m going to head straight from my house to the chapel, for Kids Club, at 5. They actually need an extra helper or two, and I really want to get to know the people at the chapel, and be helpful, too. So, that’s something to look forward to.
And on Friday, I’ve been invited to a dinner-theatre, though I can’t remember what the name of the show is, I don’t know what time it’s at, and I don’t know what the dress code is. But considering I’ve never done anything like that (unless a field trip in high school counts), I’m looking forward to this!
There are no plans for Saturday, yet, but I’ve been considering some options. By the way, I’ve recently discovered that Emerald is in a shire, not a county. Maybe it isn’t technically like a county, but it contains several towns, so call it what you will. But as an American and a consummate bookworm, the word “shire” immediately brings The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to mind. So, I am not living in the Shire of Emerald, and I’ve been looking into the website belonging to the Emerald Shire Council. My previous post actually had a picture of the timeline statuary that resides out front of their building in town.
I’ve been looking up information on the Emerald Botanic Garden (I didn’t misspell that, it’s Botanic, not Botanical), which is the only Botanic Garden in Central Queensland. It meanders along the Nogoa River, which is just at the edge of town (I think). The flooding from last year came from the Nogoa River, and I’ve been told that the Gardens were pretty seriously flooded, too, so maybe they won’t be quite up to snuff, yet. But that should be a pretty walk, and worth a few pictures, if I have nothing else to do this weekend. Oh, and I’ve been informed that there are no crocodiles this far inland, so I should be perfectly safe, but I’ll still be careful to not do anything stupid. There could still be snakes and other fun critters around.
At dinner, I was quizzing my employer on the mines around here, as he works in a local open-cut mine as a Drill & Blast Engineer. It’s quite interesting, as I’m used to the discussions of engineers (my whole family is made up of them), but I’m only familiar with the Ceramic, Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering branches. Mr. B was explaining a bit about how he places the charges for blasts, and how long it takes to prepare. The Emerald Shire website actually mentioned a local open-cut mine that gives tours, so they may take me to see one, eventually. I think maybe the one in Blackwater, so perhaps we’ll do that in the next month or so.
To the west of here, and still in the same shire, is the Gemfields, and the towns of Sapphire, Rubyvale, and The Willows. There are supposed to be fascinating gift shops full of jewelry made from the fossicking industry, as well as plenty of places for tourists to fossick and find some gems for themselves. Apparently, you can go dig in the fields yourselves, collecting your own ‘wash’ to pick through, you can buy a bucket of wash, to save yourself the trouble of digging, or you can do something called ‘specking, where you go and look at large rocks, and see if a sparkle shows itself to you. One of the families at the chapel is also new to the area, so we may go there sometime, together, and see what tourists like to see.
And finally, a month from now, I may be going with several people from the chapel to Yeppoon, on the ocean, for a conference/retreat. It’ll be winter in June, at the beach, but that’ll be my first sight of the ocean in Australia, unless you count what I could see from the airplane window, when I arrived.
And so, I’m trying to fill up my days and weekends, so that I don’t waste my time while I’m here. I definitely want to see what there is to see. Or at least what I have time to see, and can afford, as well. : )