I was born, bred and buttered on the Sunshine Coast all my life - 35 years - and it was time to leave. I knew that becoming a teacher would someday mean I would have to leave town but I suppressed the inevitables and bit the bullet. I hoped I'd get lucky and end up in a small well equipped town with cheap teaching accommodation. It turns out, I eventually did get lucky on that front.
Leaving the coast felt like being expelled from Eden, and six hours into the twelve hour drive I choked on the idea that I'd been cast out into the Australian outback because of poor life planning or inadequacy. I expected to see cherubims with flaming swords behind me. I've played my cards and I've made mistakes, but here is where we are and it's much better than I expected.
As we drove closer to Moranbah we drove under the darkest skies I'd ever seen. If I was superstitious it would have felt ominous, except that rain clouds in this area are a hopeful sight. It rained for about four days non stop because of a cyclone off the coast. The heaviest longest rain I have seen in a long time and very unusual for the area. The town is usually dry and brown but for the time being everything is as green as New Zealand on St. Patricks day.
The first thing you notice when you enter Moranbah is the wide streets and lack of traffic lights. Not a traffic light in sight and no roundabouts either. I'm sure this is a land my father dares to daydream about. I've never seen anyone despise the ruby hued illuminations as intensely as he does.
On exploration of the town, there's something else that struck me as unusual... something not quite right... Unchained bikes at public bike racks! Nobody locks their bikes up! At the schools, the public pools, the town centre - it's open slather for would be cyclist cleptomaniacs. Bring a truck up here and pillage should you be that way inclined, they're ripe for the picking.
It's a great town. The library is modern, cool, and very well stocked. The Video Ezy caters for all the spendthrift mining men and has a selection of DVDs I've never even seen equalled in major cities. The public swimming pool is very inexpensive to join and has a large 25m heated pool along with a kiddies pool and a 50m sparklying blue respite from the sun. I swim nearly every day and am more wet more often than I was on the Sunshine Coast.
There's 'more-in-bah' with a Red Rooster, a KFC, a Dominos, a nice cinema with recent releases, a decently sized Coles and an indecently sized Target. The town square is being refurbished and should look great in a few weeks. Everything is an easy bike ride from home and no one drives fast. If I was a sportsmen I'd be a happy man, but I'm not so I don't care... alienating as that might be for me, it's nice to know I've options should I become a team player.
I miss my friends, I miss my party pals and I miss my bud - heaps. 1200 kms doesn't feel too far anymore and the net 2.0 keeps us together on some new age level. Friends are rare and they're hard to make and they're hard to keep, especially when you're an alien in a strangish land.
In short, it is a great town and we've settled in; the people seem nice and my internet connection works fine. Broadbanding it before too long and will blog about the house and school soon.