Playing games with Rie!

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
Trip End Feb 27, 2006

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Monday, September 19, 2005

My last full week at Sealord's began in nervous fashion, as I was on tenterhooks regarding the final day of the Ashes series. When play began at 9.30pm our time, I started paying closer attention to the radio, straining to hear the slightest hint of an update. When Jim, a Kiwi who was as eager for the Australians to lose as me, informed me of Glen McGrath's double breakthrough, I feared an England collapse.

Such is my sadness when it comes to cricket, I actually ran back to the hostel after my shift had finished! On went the radio, only to hear the desperate news that England were 120 odd for 5 at lunch. Not good, and I spent the next 3-4 hours pacing around the kitchen as each ball was bowled - listening to cricket isn't an experience I would recommend, but it was my only option!

As the time ticked away, it became clear that England were virtually assured of regaining the Ashes after no less than 18 years, and it was all down to a swashbuckling 158 from Kevin Pieterson - the guy I saw at Heathrow Airport back in February! I was very relieved as I made my way to bed at nearly 4.30am!

The following lunchtime, after spending the morning in the library, I went to the cinema with Rie to watch Red Eye - an action thriller set on an aeroplane. It was pretty good, and Rie understood it which was a bonus! Having said that, I had to explain the main character's final line as she looked bewildered by it. I must admit, it was a challenge ellaborating on the meaning of "shove it up your ass," and in the end I settled for a "not very nice way of saying go away!"

I paid for the drinks and popcorn to thank Rie for the Japanese food she'd made me the previous day, which I tucked into at 3am whilst 'enjoying' the cricket. Okonomiyaki was made of eggs, bacon, flour, cabbage and probably some other things, and it was very nice indeed. Later in the week I sampled some Japanese soup which was less appealing, and I wasn't overly keen on it in truth. I'm not a big seaweed fan afterall!

On Wednesday I treated Rie to my speciality - beans on toast! I explained the intracacies of cooking such a complex meal, and judging by the speed that she wolfed it down, I'd say that she enjoyed it!

In between all this we both became addicted to: 1) chocolate Tim Tams, and 2) the array of puzzle games in the lounge. Often I'd leave Rie painstakingly trying to complete a puzzle, and I'd return an hour later to find her in the same spot! "Annoyed" she would say, or "frustrated!" I have become the master at one particular puzzle, where you have to guide a ball bearing around a maze without it falling down one of 15 holes. However, Rie has proved more successful at another one that involves piecing together an impossible looking jig saw!

On Saturday evening we both took part in a bit of a games playing marathon. I challenged her to a game of Jenga, which turned out to be a bad move after I slumped to a 3-1 defeat. Next up was the old classic Snakes and Ladders, which Rie had unsurprisingly never heard of. She had an uncanny ability to throw a six and avoid the snakes, so I tasted defeat yet again. Luckily I made amends in Ludo, and I had Rie feeling frustrated again when she couldn't work out how I'd performed one of my card tricks! As usual, it was gone 3am when we went to bed...

Rie is definitely partly responsible for my extended stay in Nelson, but I have almost enjoyed my work recently and so I've been in no hurry to leave. From past experience, I know how fast your savings can disappear when you start travelling, so the more money I can accumulate the better. As it stands I will have about $900 to last 3 weeks, which should be fine if I budget accordingly.

People have been gradually leaving Sealord's over the past week, which has meant that I, along with Ben, have been busier than usual. I stayed until 1am on a couple of occasions, eager to earn a bit more money as overtime is paid at time and a half. I am still in the same department, but now it is common to be doing the job of 2 people rather than just one. For example, I usually receive a box of fish, then I have to squash it into the corners, seal the box up, write the code on the top and then place it onto the conveyor belt. All the time you are concious of the next box arriving, and if you are not up to speed, the boxes stack up at a rate of knots and it is nigh on impossible to get back on track! Time goes very fast when it is this busy though.

At the end of each session, we all have to clean the work area, leading to all kinds of water fights, whether intentional or otherwise. It is quite a relaxed atmosphere, probably because the Hoki season is nearly over, and it creates a nice environment to work in - I definitely landed on my feet when I was given this job!

I plan to do one more full shift on Monday, before revisiting the Abel Tasman with Rie on Tuesday for another day walk. Hopefully the weather will be better than when me and Ali visited in July! Then my journey to the bottom of the South Island will begin, stopping briefly in Christchurch to see Yumi one last time before she leaves on Friday.

So, I've had an enjoyable 4 weeks in Nelson, but I'm now ready to explore some other areas of New Zealand...
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