Jeff & Carolyn in Grampians

tree in Arapiles


It was nice to spend x-mas in Melbourne with friends.  With the warm weather, it was hard to believe it was the holiday season.  Not quite the white Christmas I'm used to back in Colorado.  The weather was mixed.  I had a few days of solid rain and a few over 100 degrees.  The majority of the time the weather was fine.

I jumped on a scale just prior to x-mas dinner and I'm about the same weight as I was before I left San Francisco... after 24 days of ice cream in Australia :~)  I don't think I lost much weight in India or Nepal, but we'll never know...

I went to my first cricket match on Boxing Day (i.e., the day after x-mas).  It's a strange game.  I'm ready to rewrite the rules and change the dress code.  I'm going to introduce a foul every time the batter hits the ball but does not run.  On the fourth foul, the batter has to run or he's out.  I'm also doing away with the floppy hats and white slacks and bringing in something more athletic like board shorts (i.e., surfing shorts).

Thanks to MSN and Paul, I was able to call home on x-mas day and have a lengthy chat with my family.  You gotta love a free phone call via the Internet.

A taste of Australia, all of these years I've been saying Vegemite, the brown yeast people on this side of the world spread on bread, is disgusting and now I can officially say it.  Scotty talked me into trying a little bit.  At first it tasted a little salty and then it was horrible.  I spat it out and had to rinse my mouth.

Jeff, Carolyn and I wrapped up the year with backpacking in the Grampians, where I saw my first kangaroo in the wild.  We also went rock climbing at the Arapiles, which are known for the best climbing in
Australia.  On the second pitch of The Bishop, I shocked Carolyn with a heel hook maneuver which was up near my shoulder, followed by grunting, clawing at nothing, Carolyn cheering me on, and pure luck... once I was up, I might have thrown in an illegal butt and knee maneuver... it was ugly.  The climbs were awesome and it was a great way to end the year!

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