Ok, this is *really* supposed to be titled “Australians Make the Best Houseguests,” but then I fat-fingered the title and the result amused me so much that I left it. Kind of like this morning, when I texted my brother to tell him that I’d gotten his son a Darth Vader headlamp for Christmas, but autocorrect decided that I really meant “dearth badger.” Matt is still laughing, and I bet every time said nephew wears that headlamp, Matt will call him Dearth Badger.

Back to the Australians. I had an email a couple of months ago from Jasmine, saying that she and her boyfriend Rich were traveling for a few months and that they’d be coming through Austin. Did we have room for them? Of course we do! The more the merrier, provided that they like dogs that like getting in bed with them. Eleanor and Beatrice both like having more people to wake up extra early in the morning and to talk them on walks.

Joel and I met Jasmine back in 1994 (let’s ignore the fact that that was ten years ago this spring) when we went to South Africa for dearest Wen’s wedding. After the nuptials, 14 of us crammed into two vans and we drove the Garden Route from Durban to Capetown. There was hiking, wine tasting, youth hostels, car songs, and laughter run amuck. While we were all walking to dinner one night, I looked up at the sky and said, “Gee, I wonder if you can see the Northern Lights from here?” “Uh, no,” our friend Brian responded, ‘but I bet the Southern Cross is pretty clear.” Not a person has forgotten that I said that, much to my everlasting chagrin.

Hogsback Hiking--South Africa 2004

Hogsback Hiking–South Africa 2004

Rich and Jasmine spent two happy days here in Austin exploring Whole Foods and Central Market, running at Ladybird Lake, trying out the wide range of guns at Red’s Indoor Shooting Range (because when you’re in Texas, you just have to shoot something), sampling the BBQ options, and dinner on 6th Street and breakfast at Magnolia. They got the biggest kick out of Cabela’s, however, where they tried on the finest in outdoor gear. Dressed like this, it’s a wonder that the camera was able to find them for these photos!


Jasmine in Her Camouflage Finery


Rich, Barely Seen in His Ghillie Suit

I dropped Jas and Rich at the airport just a bit ago, and I must say that we’ll miss them. And envy them. Few of us are ever smart enough or brave enough to take hold of the best of what life has to offer, making the two of them a rarity. They’ve already biked along the California coastline, hiked the slot canyons in Zion National Park, and are headed off to do some sailing in the Caribbean and southeast Asia (just ahead of this cold front moving in, I might add) before a family wedding in Australia. Safe travels, my friends, and may you always have an adventure on the horizon.

Grand Canyon Hiking--Down South Kaibab, Up Bright Angel

Grand Canyon Hiking–Down South Kaibab, Up Bright Angel

And uh, you guys will be back to take Eleanor running again, right? Exhausted dogs are well-behaved dogs, and we need all of the help we can get on that front.