Week 32 – Work Hard and Playing Harder


Hello Monday night, it’s pretty much a comfortable monday night as today is a public holiday (Nelson Day) and I don’t have to work today. The week was pretty long and draining for me as my new job is kind of.. bad.

Started my mussels opening job on Monday and went ahead with full force for Tuesday till Friday; with a 2.5 hours shift on Saturday. We start work at 3PM and end at 11PM with 2 x 20mins break. In my job, I just have to stand by a belt of moving mussels with a knife on my right hand and holding the mussels with my left hand. So for about 7 hours and 20 mins a day, less the batch change and urm gloves breaking change, toilet break and having a breathe of fresh air, I’ll be opening mussels (leaving half shell behind). We are not allowed to wear earphones at work (unless we buy the expensive bluetooth ear muffs) and it feels the same emptiness as I had at the cherry packhouse but even worse, because you can’t talk to your colleagues because the machine is too noisy. To add on to the agony, the smell of seafood after long periods of time can be pretty nauseous. There are many side effects to the job – the feet will hurt as you will be standing for >8 hours and you may even get blisters as you have to wear their gumboots. The constant repetitive action of the opening of mussels can cause your finger, finger joints, forearm, shoulders and neck to hurt. Sometimes, I also feel giddy from the constant moving conveyor belt. There is a counter which counts the number of mussels you have opened and given my report for last week, my hourly rate will only be $6, should the minimum wage rule not exist. Anyway, I will elaborate more on the job in my ‘job review’ post after I resign but, to put it in simple words – the job really sucks. I mean, the company is great and they try their best to make us comfortable – providing us with tea/coffee and milk options, fresh set of clothing and shower facilities after you end work.

Okay so let’s cut the crap about work and move on to the more fun part. As always, my weekends is always the highlight of my week. On Sunday, we did a hell lot of things.

We started off with salmon fishing and after one hour, only one friend among the three of us caught a fish which weighed 0.88kg. The facility was pretty beginner-friendly as you don’t have to pay for rods rental. You only pay for the weight of the fish caught (@ $27.50/kg) and there will be charges for fish prep. Despite only catching one fish, we wanted to eat it in two ways. As a result, we paid $6 for sashimi and $10 to smoke the other half. It was.. delicious. After catching the fish, we went to Pupu springs again (well I visited last week) and then we went to a beautiful Waterfall where we did remove out shoes to have a dip in the water which was freezing cold but it was good to cool down from the heat.

After the waterfall, we ventured out to this cave which was pretty isolated. When we reached, there was only one other car at the carpark. Initially, the plan was that I stayed in the car to wait while my friends ventured as the reveiws on google portrayed the route as steep and dangerous for kids. I wasn’t certain that I was fit enough for the climb but the mobile signal was very weak at the carpark (almost non-existent) and my friends kind of convinced me to join them and walk till I can’t move any further.

As a result, I did make it to the cave with beautiful stalamites and stalaties. However, my knees and thighs hurt a lot after that and the following day. Well, I don’t think my knee has recovered from the excessive ladder climbing job which I had previously. Sighs, I don’t think my body is fit enough for tracks that require upward climbing of more than one hour. Nevertheless, I’m glad that it was a fruitful day and that my weekend was well-spent.

On Monday, we didn’t do anything much actually. We just headed over to Nelson city which was 1 hour away and had burger for lunch. It was followed with a visit to the asian mart (yay) and then we dropped by the crowded beach for a short walk. Lastly, we completed our journey with a Pak n Save grocery run which.. I ended up buying $30+ worth of goodies which was pretty excessive; given that I am leaving soon.

I will be heading home in less than two months time and to be honest, I am really worried. I don’t think I am able to adapt back to the hustle and bustle of city life and the fear of unemployment scares me somehow. There are many thoughts that run through my mind while I’m opening mussels. I think about my next vacation plans (but right now everything is on hold because no one knows how long the Wuhan virus will take to be controlled), what I plan to do when I return and perhaps how will I be organizing my photos and information of my working holiday experience. As I meet more and more new travelers, I realised that I have so many things to share with them and my blog ain’t the most user friendly manual/guide for anyone to refer to.

Anyway, the plan now is that I will leave this beautiful town (Motueka) next week and I’ll slowly figure out my way back to Christchurch for my 2-week island trip. After that, I will have one more month left on my visa and I’ll figure out if I am able to travel solo for one month in North Island before heading home. I’m not really enjoying the heat and the hot weather (although it is not so annoying as it is not humid) but I think I really hate summer and the thought of adjusting back tot he hot and humid climate of Singapore, kinds of scare me. After all, I had been gone for more than 7 months. If there’s anything I learned about this vacation so far, it would be to not let yourself be bounded by plans. My plans change all the time and I’ve been pretty cool with adapting to the situation. All roads lead to Rome and eventually things will also straighten out. On a side note, something really sad happened last week. There was a group of working holiday people who got into a car accident and unfortunately two people lost their lives. I met one of the girls before (though it was pretty much a hi and bye) but I still feel rather upset about their passing. Driving is really dangerous and we ought to be extra careful at all times. To the best of your ability, try not to drive at night, cause I feel like majority of the problems tend to happen at night and the roads here are really dark. The investigation of the accident had not been released but it seems that another driver is going to be investigated. Really, I urge everyone to drive safely and even if you’re like the passenger, please try to keep your driver entertained and make sure that they are not driving recklessly.

Apologies for ending off on such a sad note but it had been something that was bothering me for a while and I’m glad that I have this outlet to express my feelings out. Yep, that’s all I have for my weekly update. I might not be able to rush out a post next Monday as I will be on the road (if things proceed as planned) but let’s see where I go. Counting down now, the journey to my way back home is.. ticking by.

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