WORKERS OF THE YEAR AT TALLEY'S FROZEN FOODS

Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
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Trip End Oct 14, 2009


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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, April 5, 2009

FYI - Potato pictures are coming soon.

Finally, we have real jobs!  We have been hired to work at Talley's Frozen Foods.  They mainly do veggies but also a little seafood.  Thank God this location doesn't do the seafood - there'd be no way I'd be okay with that.  We got placed on the night shift - 4pm to 2am, which at first seemed dreadful, but ended up being really happy that was our shift!  The end time is not set in stone and we found that out the very first night when we got off at 3:30am.  But besides that, we have gotten off around 2:30am every night so its not that bad.  There are 8 potato sheds and the job is to fill all these sheds over 8 weeks by emptying semi's that come in from the farms.  Sound boring?  Well...it is.  I should say, certain parts are the pits but for the most part we were really lucky.  We got to wear some pretty sweet outfits as well.  They are bright blue and neon orange, we have to wear hair nets and masks because the air has so much dirt in it.  It's amazing how dirty we can get doing this.  Other people that work at the factory have to work inside in the frozen area and stand at a conveyor belt the entire night cutting the brown spots off the potatoes. 


We only committed 4 weeks to work at Talley's, I think that is enough time with potatoes.  So, we get to back the trucks up, play in the dirt, sort potatoes (throwing the bad ones into a bin that goes into the factory).  I also have updated my resume adding that I now know how to run a potato piler, which is basically a HUGE dangerous Gameboy and I now have Forklift skills.  Yes, that's right, I know how to drive a forklift.  Really, not too impressive, but it's pretty cool I think.  I can also climb a mountain of potatoes faster than anyone else I know - going up is the hard part and coming down is like sledding without the sled.  So you can tell, I've tried to make myself available to do any other tasks besides throw bad potatoes into a bin.  


The only thing that really has kept us here, besides making money, are the people we work with.  There are 8 other people, 6 of which are from Santiago, and the other 2 are from the Isle of Man.  We never thought we'd meet people from the Isle of Man...probably because we had never heard of The Isle of Man.  Too bad we didn't know the people from Santiago before we left.  They are all so funny and we really enjoy working with them.  We have a lot of down time between trucks (sometimes) so we've got plenty of time to sit around and try to understand each other. 

The "supervisors" are interesting as well.  Only 1 is really our supervisor, the other 3 run the sheds and one does the fork lift.  The fork lift guy used to drive semis but they took him off that because there were too many complaints about how fast he drives - so why not put him on a fork lift?  I could tell something was off, because the first night working with him I was a little worried when I saw him driving in reverse about 40 mph from one shed to the other.  We just try to stay away.  As rumor has it, he is a cross-dresser.  Supposedly, he came to work one afternoon with makeup on, lipstick and eyeshadow.  Isn't that how they always get found out?  I guess he also went out to dinner with his wife (!) and they were both wearing dresses and heels!  Who knows how these rumors start, but everyone that works at Talley's seem to believe it.  I guess it makes sense, he did dye his hair within the first few days of working with him.  He really is such a nice guy though, we have to assume this considering we can't understand anything he says.  I don't know what it is, but Kiwi's are hard to understand in general, but we really can't understand anything this man says.  I just smile and nod. 
 

Another guy we work with, who is one of the truck drivers looks just like our friend Nic Dell.  Literally, just like him plus ten years.  And for some reason, he really likes to wear really short shorts.  Actually, quite a few of the truck drivers wear them.  So one night, I was sorting potatoes off the truck with my Isle of Man friend Jo (JoAnn).  Nic Dell look-a-like was climbing up to the top of the truck to take the cover off the potatoes and I happened to look up and notice his shorts and thought to myself, "Boy, those are short".  I looked back down and up again just in time to see him prop one of his legs up to get a better grip and from the short shorts emerged his...you know whats.  Yes, Mom, that's right.  Anyway, I nudged Jo and she looked up.  We were laughing so hard we had to leave the shed to catch our breathe.  Luckily, he did not see us.  It was like a car wreck - you don't want to look but you have to.  

 
The other truck drivers and shed guys are all really nice and funny so we are having a great time working with them.  We've come up with nick names for a lot of them.  One guys name is Mullet McDonald because he has a mullet and eats McDonald's EVERY night. 


For accommodation, we are staying at a holiday park.   When we arrived, they said we could either stay in the backpacker (which is a little gross for our tastes) or in a cabin that was kind of expensive.  After thinking about it for awhile the lady, Sue, offered up her and her husband's personal caravan.   We are so lucky they offered it to us.  It's great, we have a little fridge, TV and all.  Brian can't stand up straight but is surviving.  One of the truck drivers was staying here and our friends Mark and Jo.  However, Mark and Jo were chased away by the driver.  The first weekend we were all hanging out, and they asked us out to dinner and the driver went with us too.  He's a very nice guy - but almost weird nice, its more or less like he is on heavy meds all the time, in fact, I know he is.  Jo was a little freaked out by him so they left for another campground a few days later.  Funny thing is that the driver went too - 2 days later!  But luckily, M&J found a room with one of our supervisors to stay with so the driver won't be bothering them anymore.  He just wouldn't leave them alone.  Brian and I are lucky to have our caravan, so he couldn't bother us too much.  On my birthday we were eating dinner in the caravan and he came up to our door and talked for 10 minutes to us while we were eating.  Then he stood there and watched us eat.  It was strange.  There are also a lot of people staying at our camp that work at the slotter house in town.  They enjoy talking about it and eat lots and lots of meat.  I was a little frightened by one lady who said she is "really into that kind of stuff."  I still don't know what she meant by that. 


When we went out to eat, we were told this restaurant in town, MSA, had the best food, so that's where we went.  It was basically a buffet, which was fine.  Afterwards, we went downstairs where the bar was.  We got excited when we saw a live band, but the problem was that everyone in the entire place had to have been 70+, a bit of a problem for 26 and 27 year olds.  It was funny though and enjoyed watching people dance.


A funny thing about the other campground in town is the fact that there is a prostitution ring stemming from there.  CRAZY!!!  This tiny town on the South Island has a prostitution ring!  Oh that reminds me, another reason to think that truck driver is a weirdo...he asked us to drive his car to work one day (he was getting a ride with another worker), it was a Mercedes Benz, so I said SURE!  When I went to put our work bag in the back seat, I notice something black on the floor of the car.  Come to find out, it was a black leather-like thong!!!  It had metal clasps on it!  If he likes that kind of stuff, good for him, but he KNEW we were driving his car, I mean, he gave me the keys.  I think he left it there knowing I would find it.  So that, plus him staying at the prostitution ring = ???  Anyway, we were giving one of the Santiago guys a ride everyday, so he went with me in the Benz that day and we had a great ride, the speakers work well.

 
So, I turned a year older the other week.  AHHHHH!!!!!   On my birthday we didn't have to work, so we drove up to a mountain called Peel Forest.  We did some gravel travels and saw that Miles was leaking something.  We kept going though and soon we over-heated.  We tracked down some hikers and they helped us.  We filled the radiator fluid and got it under control.  So that was Miles's present to me.  Instead of heading straight home, we had to celebrate, so we had champagne!   
Unfortunately, our last week at Talley's was cut short.  We thought we would be working 6 days and make lots-o-money but it was raining and raining and they canceled work 4 days in a row.  It's funny we chose April to work.  So far we have had 8 days off work for holiday's and a rain day.  Not ideal, but we still are making a little money. We stuck round hoping to work that Saturday and Sunday but on Saturday morning we heard a knock on our caravan and it was Merv, the guy in charge of Talley's workers.  He told us, because we were leaving anyway on Monday to go ahead on our holiday because they only want 8 people per shift.  So, Talley's, the one place in NZ that is giving work to travelers is now cutting people.  We were kind of upset considering we didn't get to say goodbye to the people we had been working with and hadn't taken any pictures because we thought we had plenty of time.  So, we decided to stick it out one more day at the holiday park and hung out with a few people in the Backpackers and left the next morning.   



Oh, and I cut Brian's hair into a mullet.  This the before picture.  
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