I'm back home safe and sound, and it was a fun (though exhausting) trip. I've actually been back for about 4 days now, but since I haven't mentioned anything about my trip yet, I thought you could suspend your disbelief a little and just be excited that I'm posting!
My plane left at 5:50am on Tuesday, which meant I really had to be at the airport by 4:50am (especially since we had a bunch of camera gear to check through). I live about 40 minutes from the airport, so I had to leave home by about 4:00am (to leave time for parking etc), which meant I had to get up at 3am (because I'm a girl and it takes me an hour to shower and pack etc). So I was very tired!
(I'll just wait for all of those violins to die down...)
When we went to put our gear through, we were way over the weight limit. That's not unusual, and I'm used to having to pay a few hundred dollars in access baggage fees (and then charging it to the client), but this time, the guy said the problem wasn't charging us extra, it was having space in the plane to put the baggage (this should have tipped me to the fact that we were going to be flying in a very small airplane). Well, I did some sweet-talking (which, as the producer, is pretty much my job description. Seriously, the camera man and our client just looked at me with their "aren't you supposed to sweet-talk him and fix this" looks), and I got the guy to agree to put all of our camera gear on the plane - since we had to use it to shoot with that day. Our personal luggage was only put on standby though. I couldn't get him to budge on that one.
I really hadn't thought much about the trip (well, I'd thought and planned for the shoot itself, but not for the trip), so I was really surprised when they put a small group of us into a little bus and drove us out to a little prop plane. My plane had propellers! I didn't realize they still made those! Once we got out of the mini-bus, we walked over to the plane and climbed the three steps (only three!) to get into the plane. As I was walking over, I noticed our personal luggage sitting there ready to be loaded into the plane. All the other luggage was in, and the guy put our bags in. Then then took them out again. Then they put them in again. I was about ready to try my sweet talking on the baggage guys (because I really didn't want to wear the same clothes for three days in a row), but the finally put them into the hold and closed the door - thank goodness!
The plane had 8 little rows inside, and as I sat there in my window seat - looking out at the propeller on the wing outside my window - I found myself looking around for the man who'd come and start swinging the propeller so the plane could start! Luckily, they seem to have a button in the cockpit that starts the propellers - because I never saw a guy go near them, and I was watching ;) The captain came over the intercom, and told us that they'd just be running some tests on the propellers for a few minutes, and then they'd take off. So we sat there for 15 minutes while they turned the propellers on and off. After about 5 minutes I wanted to call out "they work!" but I figured they probably know more about that stuff than I do.... and maybe the button was new, and they were just having a little fun with the novelty of it all...
The flight was uneventful, and it only took us about an hour to get there. Thanks to Abby's comments on the last post, you all know a little about Biloela (Billo-wheel-a), and it really is out in the middle of nowhere! It doesn't have it's own airport, so we were landing in Thangool, which is about half an hour (of farms) away from Bilo.
I LOVED the Thangool airport - it's a room! one room! It's surrounded by a small waist-high fence that you can climb over, and it shares the fence with the local primary school on one side, and a paddock of cows on the other. As we were coming in to land, the wheels were only about 3 metres above the head of a cow near the fence, but he didn't seem bothered at all! There's only one runway there, because they only get two flights a day to Thangool. One from Brisbane in the morning, and one from Brisbane in the early evening. I'm not sure what the 2 airport employees do all day long, but I suspect they head home and wait for the evening shift!
We got off the plane, and walked 10 metres to the airport (which, as I said, was one small room). Inside the airport are a few chairs, a desk with 'QANTAS' written on it (where you check in I supposed) and two tables (manned by one lady) where you can rent a car from one of 2 companies. I think each desk only had a few cars on offer, but we got one of them :) My favourite part about the airport was the guy who drove a little ride on trolley over to the plane, put our bags on the trolley, and then drove it around the 'airport terminal' so we could collect our bags from the 'other side' of the airport, from the trolley out in the carpark. I think he drove it about 20 metres all up. So the good news is that his trolley only needs to be filled up with gas about once every 2 years :) He was wearing a pair of shorts and thongs (flipflops) with socks on.
I really loved the Thangool airport. It was (I assume) the epitome of a small country town airport, and I found it really fantastic. I hadn't realized just how 'out in the middle of nowhere' Bilo really was! The town has 2 main streets, and they boast a KFC and a Subway - the Subway is new, and pretty exciting. We were staying at a lovely little motel owned by an older husband and wife who make a point of knowing your names. The man used each of our names 3 times in a sentence when he first met us, and then introduced us to his wife, who did the same thing :)Then, for the next three days, they used our names whenever they saw us - I loved that.
This was my 3rd power station now, and I really enjoy them. They're huge, and totally fascinating. Plus, now that I'm a pro, I can talk shop with the best of them - haha! (I'm actually just one of those part-timers who know just enough to get themselves in trouble!) But I do know what each of the parts of the plant are called, and I know what they do, so that's exciting :) The turbine halls are always my favorites, but I also like open-air boiler houses. You stand high above the ground, asking yourself when you got over your fear of heights, covered in coal dust and surveying the industrial beauty of man's creation :) The only bad part about these power station trips are the thousands of stairs and the hardhats and safety glasses we have to wear. I have my own pair of steel-capped boots now, so those aren't too much of a problem.
I was really excited at the end of my first day to see what a fantastic tan I was developing - being outside all day long and all. Sadly, when I had a shower minutes later, it all washed off :(
Darn that deceptive coal dust!
We're making a series of induction videos for these sites, so I had a 14 page shot list of really specific shots - it's all hear and see stuff. We didn't need a Soundo, because the whole thing will be put to voice over and music. They were long 12 hour days, but we got everything we needed. I didn't have to write much of a script for this one, since it's very similar to the last one we did for this company, so it was a bit of an easier job than the last couple. This coming week we'll be editing it all.
So the trip was a success. Perfect weather, and some really nice people and footage. When we went to the airport for the trip home, I learned that the Thangool airport doesn't actually have a computer! haha! But don't worry - the lady behind the desk assured me that they have a very good typewriter ;) There's a huge coal mine up there right next to the powerstation, so most of the people on the plane were people who work in the mine or on the station, and they all know the lady in the airport. She was saying goodbye to everyone by name, and it made me want to be a regular so I could say 'See you next week Desley' like everyone else...
PS. Now, About the car's name: This has dragged on now, and I still can't make up my mind! So the car is now officially called: Fritzerrol Wilson!
Congratulations to Gayle, Brecken and Emily for their winning suggestions. May all of the praise and honour due those who win internal competitions, be rained down upon you :)
PPS. So, any suggestions for the car's nickname? Because Fritzerrol Wilson is a bit of a mouth full... haha!