Today shall go down in history as the day everybody got lost. As of today just about everyone has left the hostel for different accommodation, and as such today will be the last time we do a convoy as everyone will be making their own way to the orchard. I was guiding new guy M, while Krislin rode with Bertrand and Norma, and Caitlin and Savannah had their car. They speed on ahead while I tell M to follow Krislin’s group, and all goes well until we reach the roundabout…and they get off on the wrong road. I manage to keep M on track and we can see the van doing a u-turn while we drive off.
We make it to the orchard with plenty of time, which is a good thing because parking today is about as far away as it’s possible to be while still being in the orchard. While making our way to the parking, Caitlin calls me, completely lost. Turns out they’d gone to the wrong orchard – thankfully only a five-minute mistake, but they were already short of time…except we got held up by 30 minutes so they managed to get here with time to spare.
Good thing too, because Sohrab, after days of saying he would be coming, finally made it to the orchard with payslips and contracts for the new people. Everyone managed to get their bank details handed over for payment on Thursday, and I get an extra surprise. As acknowledgement for all the extra work I’ve been doing training new guys and handling communication between rides (which has been stressful and so NOT in my job description), the boss gives me an additional $100 cash in hand for my trouble. Nice!
At 10:30, we were finally allowed in the fields. Thanks to the rain yesterday, first swipes were a little difficult as the fruit was still a little wet, so we had to be very careful handling it since it bruises terribly. On top of which, I’m having to train up M and make sure he doesn’t get into bad habits – however I end up leaving him mostly in the care of the Argentinian and Chile members of the team as they speak the same language and get along really well. I’m only popping over to speed him up or double check he’s not doing anything wrong. Finally, the kiwi’s dry enough that we can go full pelt, and we descend on a different strip for the afternoon. Today actually heralds the first time we managed to hit 100 bins, so that was pretty awesome.
In the evening, I say goodbye to Krislin, Caitlin and Savannah as they won’t be going back to the hostel, and get into the car with M. He decides to bring out his GPS for getting back, although just getting out of the orchard is a bit of an issue. I end up having to yell at him because he tries to take a short cut through the pad where they take the bins to the pack house (which as far as I’m aware, you are NOT ALLOWED to do – that’s heavy machinery and trucks only). When we’re on the road, GPS does pretty well…until we get to the roundabout…and he ignores me, the signs on the road and even the GPS’s request to take the first exit and passes the Te Puke road…and ends up on the TEL toll road to Tauranga…
If you don’t know what that means, it means he’s gone onto a road that not only doesn’t go past Te Puke, but goes a good 10-15 kilometres in the opposite direction, and is a motorway so you can’t get off it any earlier. Plus, you have to pay to use it. So instead of getting home in 12 minutes, we end up getting back about 40 minutes late after going in a giant circle that also included roadworks (after he does some profound swearing – no clue what he said but it sounded filthy).
Least he’s learned for the next time – when in doubt, trust the passenger whose done this trip a dozen times and is yelling STOP! STOP! THIS IS THE TOLL ROAD! ^_^