Blenheim is one of those towns that doesn’t really need to exist. It’s like the service station / rest stop / roach motel encampments that spring up at the halfway point of a long and dusty road. These towns only exist out of necessity – like a trade-route settlement in the middle of the desert. In this way, Blenheim is like California’s Barstow or Bakersfield, but instead of being inhabited by crystal meth-cooking weirdos and hillbillies in double-wide trailers, the place is overrun by Fijian and Samoan day-laborers. Along with a motley assortment of backpackers from around the world, just about everyone in town works in the vineyards. They prune vines, pick grapes, and help to keep the Marlborough vineyards making some of New Zealand’s best wine.
And thats why Blenheim exists. Its a town built to house the itinerant labor forces that keep the area’s population waxing and waning throughout the seasons. Blenheim actually has a nice downtown area, but for some reason there isn’t anything to do downtown. There is one good cafe (Home cafe) and two good places to eat (Sasa and the kebab shop) and thats about it. There are too many hostels and not enough bars. It’s probably one of those places that people always say would be “a great place to raise a family.” But we all know what that means — boring!
Sure, it’s safe and yes, the locals really were a friendly bunch. You might actually want to raise a family in Blenheim, but lets face it: a young rambling man like myself needs a bit more action than little old Blen town could offer.
So how the hell did I end up in this dead-end town?
Well, everyone needs a cellphone, even grape-picking drones. And the local Vodafone store needed someone to run the show while the manager was sick or injured or on vacation (still not sure about that one). So I was imported from Nelson, put up in a private room at a backpacker motel in Blenhole, and told to work my sales-slut magic.
And thats part of the reason why I haven’t updated this blog in so long — I only had internet at work, things were really busy, and I’ve been working 6 days a week for the last month. The whole thing has been completely exhausting, but at least I made a bit of money. Which is good, since I’m leaving Nelson in just two weeks to travel Northward with Mimi. We’re heading to Auckland, where she will catch a flight back to Germany, and I’ll either find a job or move on to the next town.
As for my slack blogging, I’m perpetually apologetic. My friend Bridget gave me a much needed kick in the ass last night (thanks!) and reminded me that the whole time I’ve been living in Nelson, I haven’t made a single video blog! In fact, I’m still behind on old video blogs that I never put online.
So I’ll try to get it together, and I’ll promise you a video blog about Nelson before I leave.
*Update: I finally found a retailer in America who will ship a Flip Video Mino to New Zealand! At least I hope so — the order hasn’t been finalized yet, but I placed it tonight. I’ve been on the hunt for one for quite some time, but some strange trade regulations have prevented me from getting one shipped overseas without paying hefty fees to dodgy Ebayers. There will be a slight drop in video quality, but the convenience of the Flip should mean more videos more often — yay!