Blenheim Weekend

So after a couple days of blogging and resting up, we took off early Friday morning to make our way to The Interislander. The Interislander is an enormous ferry shuttling people, cars, and cargo back and forth between the North and South Islands.

At the dock, we met Rona, a Scottish woman with whom we'd be working this weekend. The truck she was driving full of kegs and bar whatnot got loaded onto the ferry and we set sail for the South Island at 8:30am.

On board there are bars, cafes, a movie theatre, and lounges, all to make the three hour crossing pass by a little faster. The view from the boat was spectacular, especially once we got closer to the South Island via the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sound.

We drove to Blenheim, where the "Blues, Brews, and BBQs Festival" was to be held, and arrived on site to find that the tent, that was supposed to have been set up, was not. Rona suggested having lunch at a winery to pass the time and wait for Andrew. -Andrew owns the Martinborough Brewery for which we were working. His plane, we soon found out, had been overbooked, and he was bumped to a Saturday morning flight, meaning WE would have to set up the bar inside the tent... the same one that was, you remember, not yet erected.


We ate, we got to know each other, and we laughed. The winery had a really good chef and really nice wine, and we figured, hey, as long as there's a solid afternoon of manual labor ahead of us, we might as well have lunch in the sun on the Boss' dime, right?

We got back on site about 2 hours later, and found the tent was, in fact, being set up as we stood there. We unburdened the big blue truck of it's 10 kegs, 3 taps (w/ refrigerator), tablecloths, posters, t-shirts and other various tavern-related bric a brac. It reminded us of being back home in DC, only without the drunk people. THEY were not far away, either.

Rona, who is, in our minds, getting cooler by the minute, tells us we're getting a hotel. We naturally grabbed the first one we could find, where we preceded to watch rugby, clean ourselves up, and order Domino's Pizza.

The next morning, Rona went to get Andrew from the airport, while we put the finishing touches on the booth. Turns out, our site was right next to (Seriously, like 20 feet from the main stack) the #1 music stage at the festival. So picture this: Here we are, two American tourists, getting ready to pour $4 beers from a LOCAL BREWER with a Scottish woman, all the while trying to decipher EVERYTHING from EVERYONE over really really loud blues music. It was surreal, to say the least.

(Rona in our tent. Martinborough Beer and Ales!)

The festival itself is exactly what you'd think by it's name. There was a lot of food, plenty of microbrews (and some big guys too!), and people were getting their groove on to blues music. In addition, many people came in costumes in an effort to win the "Best Dressed" competition. The musicians were better than those at TK Day, we thought, but the effect by the end of the day was the same. It's just a worldwide thing:

Drunk Middle-Aged White People Dancing Always Equals Funny.

There. We said it.

Made it through without a hitch. Following the event (which we left as deftly, and DEAFLY, as possible), we went to Andrew's parents house for dinner and accommodation. It couldn't be beat. There was a spread the likes of which we had not seen in quite some time, complete with chicken, roast beef, gourmet jams, mustards, and spreads, along with cheeses and veggies. We thought it'd be rude to ask for a "to-go" container or Tupperware, so we didn't, but we really wanted to.

(Martinborough's Finest, Andrew "Barnsey" Barnes with us outside our tent at the beginning of the day, when we were all still energetic and smiling)

A word about Martinborough Beer and Ales:

It really is very good. -I'm not getting paid to say that. The microbrews that Andrew has made are refreshing, complex, and the different varieties provide people with plenty of choices. We've told him to get a website. As soon as he does, we'll link you up.

Not too much to report today. Andrew was with us on the ferry ride back to Wellington, and he taught us a little more about both rugby and cricket (the former is increasingly great, the latter is still increasingly complex), while we shared with him American politics and football.

Got back safely this afternoon, with plenty of time for internet catchup (has Bush blown us up yet?) and emails ("Dear Fractured Prune..."), and, of course, sleep. Baby G has her first day at the new job tomorrow, training for a few hours in the morning before she is officially and on-call receptionist at Victoria University of Wellington. Dizzle needs his rest, too. The Superbowl is tomorrow.

We'll be watching the game and thinking of you all. We hope everything is going along swimmingly and we've been thinking of you often.

An update soon.


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