I’m currently sitting at gate 49 in the Brisbane airport and in 20 minutes I’ll be boarding a flight to Emerald….sigh. Yes, there are actual cowboys on my flight.
I won’t lie, when people ask where I’m from and I say “Central Queensland” I immediately follow with “NO JUDGEMENT!”.
Yet I don’t know why I do this? Because I’m really proud to come from a small country town. I think it’s given me great values , a good work ethic and now that I’m an adult I know how to enjoy the simple things. In saying that, there isn’t enough money in the world that could convince me to ever go back to Central QLD to live. I mean where would I get my grande, nonfat, one-pump, no whip, soy latte?
When I was 13 I was sent to boarding school in Rockhampton, where I spent my final high school years getting McDonalds smuggled in through the bars of my dorm windows. By the time graduation rolled around I was out of there before you could say “Quarter Pounder with Cheese” and straight to the big city where I’ve been ever since.
And although I’d never go back to live, there is nothing better than a weekend back home visiting the fam-bam. If this is the first time you’ve tuned into my blog then please note – my family is bat-crap-crazy and wherever they are, hilarity ensues.
So for those people who have an impending trip to CQ, I have put together a little guide for surviving the outback:
1. A good book
If you do have friends left in CQ, then they’ll all be working while you’re on your mini-break. So be prepared to entertain yourself while everyone else is adulting. I won’t lie, when I’m back home in Brisbane, I ache for the tranquility of sitting on my parents back deck with a gin and a good book.
2. A party at Bill’s house
I asked my husband, a true city boy, what he would advise someone going to CQ and his immediate response was “Make sure you know at least one member of the White family, cause then you’re bound to end up at a party”.
Christmas for me is like the gay mans Mardi Gras, it’s that one huge event I look forward to all throughout the year. And Bill’s motto? “If the cops aren’t called then you’re not doing it right”.
Last years Christmas ended at 3am with my cousin Amy and I drinking rum cans and singing karaoke. I’m sorry that we butchered your music Johnny Cash, but at least I got a video of it.
3. The beach
As an “assisted blonde” who can’t be in sunshine too long, I can’t think of anything worse than going to the beach and getting eaten by sharks. But if you do feel like making the road trip to Yeppoon then you won’t be disappointed. It’s like the Gold Coast, without the souvenir stores and much better parking.
If you can’t make the drive then go to the Farbairn Dam where you’re bound to end up with either a dislocated shoulder or a concussion by the end of the day (yes, based off real life events).
4. Wendys Hotdogs
I WILL stand in the 40 person deep line. I WILL wait 20 minutes for my hotdog. I WILL add a Flake Shake for an extra $1. And NO you can not have a bite Cassie. This is MY f*cking hotdog and I will cut you if you try eat any.
5. A good sense of style
Number Six is a little contradictory as I relish the idea of no make-up and pyjamas at lunch time, yet my mum and her friends are the best dressed women I know. They’ve pretty much paid the mortgages on both Sass AND Bide’s homes. Maybe it’s the limited shopping options in Emerald? But I’ve seen my Mum order a coffee in Brisbane, run into a shop, buy 10 items, stuff them into her handbag, then be back to pick her coffee up before my Dad could say “10% off at Scotch & Soda”.
6. Cold Chisel and the Summer of 69
Maybe it’s because I grew up in the country, but every time I hear Khe Sanh or Bryan Adams, I bitch and moan and complain until it’s over. The longest 3 minutes of my life and everyone who knows me knows about how deep my hatred runs.
Yet when I’m home at the Tavern, or the Tav as us clever youths have re-named it, when one of these two songs come on and I loose my shit, dancing and singing like I’m their biggest fan.
The only explanation? There must be acid in the water supply so only drink bottled water.
7. And finally…. Family
This one is easy, if you have family in a rural town then you know how important it is to spend time with them. And considering a flight to CQ can cost upwards of $800 a pop you know you won’t be seeing each other again until the next big family event, so enjoy it while you can. If your family is anything like mine, you’ll also need to bring a spare change of clothes and a helmet – don’t ask questions.