My father writes "Maybe while we can still move we'll join you someday on one of these excursions" which isn't so much a variant of "You bastard" as a wistful (and dark-humored) "That sounds like such fun." bconn wrote, "Do you need a man-servant to help you during the trip?" but he's kind of a tease in general. (I wrote back, "Why wait for the trip?")
All in all, when did Australia become the Shangri-La of the New Millennium?
I wrote Peter and Declan at the Ardmore House in Sydney, where I stayed for the first few days of my trip last fall, to see if their single room was available June 23-27. They are the former travel agent and former opera singer who own a Victorian terrace home in the Newtown area of Sydney, with whom I ended each day drinking Shiraz and watching classic musicals on TNT. When I found myself nostalgically sighing at the photos on their website I realized for sure that I would return to Sydney at the end of this trip. Peter wrote, among other things, "We will be very glad to welcome you home to Ardmore House". Now doesn't that beat the Holiday Inn, or whatever the Australian equivalent is?
My budget hotel near the Spenser Street station in Melbourne turns out to be right near the dropoff point for the bus to the airport, so I won't need to take a taxi. Plus there is a tram that runs door to door (practically) from the hotel right to SGI's offices in Camberwell, which is amazing considering the distance. It takes quite a bit longer than the train, but there are no long walks at either end and I get to check out the scenery of Melbourne suburbs along the slow way. mrrules has been answering my niggling emails with full information about the transit system.
The shapenote singers in Melbourne are holding a special two-hour singing followed by dinner on Sunday the 18th, in honor of my visit. The Britannia Morris Men will go out busking on June 17th, so I'll get to tag along. On their web site they noted that I'd be a special visitor at practice next Thursday. kasinik (previously called out as Glenn from Perth) and his new wife alamark will come over from Adelaide (where they now live) for my first weekend in town. When in Sydney, I'll be meeting up with japester, whom I met in Perth but who now lives in Sydney. I'll also definitely see jcoldrey there, who was a charming tourguide in September, taking me to Manly Beach and Oxford Street and an amazing tearoom in the CBD.
beardoc lives in Sydney but he'll be in Melbourne when I'm in Sydney. There's an enormous bear gathering (Southern HiBearnation) in Melbourne that weekend. I was briefly tempted to stick around Melbourne for this, as it would be a convenient fun way to meet lots of folks, but I ultimately decided I did not want to give up my time in Sydney for it. I'll likely be able to see beardoc in Melbourne before I leave for Sydney, fortunately.
And as for work, this is from the note I got from my main developer contact, as part of the logistical setup: Most people tend to arrive by about 10am, although there are a few in by 9am if you prefer an earlier start. On the first day, though, I'd suggest arriving at 10am. I was tempted to respond that 9am is a pretty late start for me (I hope they're not assuming I'll work into the evenings), but then I remembered that this is a lovely friendly sweet country and perhaps the notion that 9am is an early morning is a big contributing factor to that attitude.
Plenty of work to do before I leave. The excitement mounts.