The grapes of wrath

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another week or waiting has gone by. While it was filled with mostly the same stuff I've been doing (namely: watching TV, reading and walking around town), a couple of things have broken the monotony. We had another party, a birthday party this time, which was fairly enjoyable and also had a lot of free snacks (the best way to draw a backpacker to any one location), but I didn't stay for terribly long because it seemed like it was just going to be sitting around drinking and taking drugs, and that bores me. I also lost another poker game, but lasted much longer this time.

Things are starting to heat up a bit around here, finally. The job I was supposed to start Monday disappeared mysteriously Sunday evening with no more of an explanation than "something happened", so I used the beautiful, cloudless day productively and played my first-ever game of golf with a few of the other backpackers at Leeways. On a nine-hole course, I shot a 53 the first time and a 42 the second time we went around, a fact I was a bit surprised at since, as previously stated, it was my first time to hit the links, previously having only been to driving ranges. I managed to find another job with a vineyard contractor, though, so I started that today.

I stripped 280 grape vines today. We went along the rows that had been pruned and pulled down the vines that had been clipped. It wasn't hard work, but it was dull, tedious and repetitive. I was slow, it being my first day, only completing two-and-a-third rows. Another worker I was talking with said he does four rows every day, so I'll probably do better tomorrow and throughout the week. I know I'm stripping again tomorrow, but hopefully I'll get to do other things soon, because stripping vines is a bit back-breaking since you have to bend down to pull the vines down off the wires they wrapped themselves around. I would also simply like to know how to do as much as possible in case I ever want to work in a vineyard again at some later date. The main thing that kept me from getting a job for so long was my lack of experience: people kept asking if I had worked in a vineyard before then turning me down when I said I hadn't since it is fairly late in the season and they didn't think it worth it to train someone new.

When I got back to Leeways this afternoon, I chatted with another guest for a bit while waiting to participate in the Tuesday shopping trip. We talked a bit about the work, and I told her it was my first day. She got a big smile on her face and looked at me and said "Congratulations!", then came and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I was incredibly confused and thought she must just be very enthusiastic about vineyard work until she asked, "How old?" I'm not sure where she's from (somewhere in Europe), but I assume my accent was, to her, as pronounced as hers sounded to me, and she thought I said it was my birthday. After clarify the subject, everyone in the room had a good laugh. And that is why I'm liking New Zealand better than Thailand at the moment: that's the largest example of a language barrier from my time here.

On a random note, since I am talking about languages, I've met a lot of Germans on this trip. I've met people from England, from all over South America, from France, from China, from Japan and from America (one person) and elsewhere, but by far the largest number of people I've met of any nationality is German. I hung out with a German for a bit in Thailand. I'm sharing a room with a German. I played golf yesterday with a German. I'm going to see the new Harry Potter movie tonight with two Germans and a British guy. And they are all different people; no overlap. I even had a conversation with one of the German guys here about it, and he said he has no idea why. He told me about a time when he and his friend (German) were swimming at the local pool. They were speaking in German, since they only knew each other at the pool, and a kid came running up and started speaking to them in German as well. We decided we'll never figure it out, and it's best not to think about it.

Well, I plan on working at least one week, and almost definitely two. If I survive two weeks, I'll probably work three, but we'll see how it turns out.
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