G’day, my fellow port-swilling Sheilas and Bruces! **

Well, the Great Australian Semester is officially under way. Mrs. Robbo and I dropped Youngest (and, apparently, her collection of lead ingots) at the airport Saturday afternoon. She reached her final destination late last evening. Thirty or so hours of travel time, including a 15 hour leg from San Francisco to Melbourne that would have had your humble correspondent gibbering and clawing at the windows before it was half done. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.

Anyhoo, she’s now safely in Cairns, which is way up in the far northeast corner of the continent***, for a week’s orientation, which I gather includes some snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. After that she tools down to Brisbane, where she’ll be at the Queensland University of Technology. Fair dinkum!

Of course, it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere now, and Ol’ Robbo was fretting about the Gel packing enough warm clothing. But when I looked up the weather in Brisbane, I discovered that it really doesn’t change much over the year – 80’s in summah, 70’s in wintah. “Huh,” I said to myself, “Rayther like San Diego, innit?” Out of curiosity, I checked: The two cities are within about 5 degrees of latitude of each other north and south of the Equator. So there you go.

The Gel is now 14 hours ahead of us, so we probably won’t speak much while she’s away, but the WhatsUp account I mentioned below is alive and kicking, so we’ll get regular updates. As is well known here, Ol’ Robbo is not generally a fan of whistles and bells technology (especially when it claims to be “free”), but in this instance it definitely has its advantages. (Even the ticket lady at the airport asked if we had set up a chat.) Should the Gel send along any interesting pics, I’ll be sure to post them here.

** Given the dystopia Australia has become, I would guess “Sheila” and “Bruce” are probably hate-speech by now.

*** Do NOT ask Ol’ Robbo why the Gel had to go all the way to Melbourne before turning north to Cairns, another three-and-a-half hour flight. I didn’t buy the tickets. It was all arranged through the program, so I assume they have their own nefarious reasons. If the jump across the Pacific hadn’t killed me, the thought of having to go that far round Robin Hood’s Barn would have.