World weather.

Wednesday 4th January, Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia

We've had the last few days chilling out in Stanthorpe with Mum and Phil. We haven't been up to much, just chatting and eating, and chatting and eating. Maria and I will be lucky if Thai Airlines doesn't charge us for excess luggage on our return trip. Not that our backpacks are any heavier than when we arrived, but our combined bodyweight has increased by over ten kilos! *about 22 pounds* I guess it's D.I.E.T time when we get back to Madrid.

Above is a photo of Maria on Stanthorpe's so-called Mount Marlay, more of a small hill than a mountain, but with a panoramic view over the town.

Above is a photo of Mum and her sister Betty, who lives in Stanthorpe as well. Mum and Aunty Betty are like best mates, they see each other or at least talk on the phone, every day. And below a photo of Mum's brother Viv and his wife Lyn, when they treated us to a barbecue in the park on their visit.

Speaking of the great Australian tradition of barbecues, I'm reminded of a document I read recently. It's called the Definitive Guide to Being an Aussie. Since we are indeed the lucky country, and so many of you foreigners yearn to migrate to the Land Down Under, I thought it might be useful to share with you some of the rules to help you integrate into Australian society. To the right is a reminder that Australians in the outback do not have the same appreciation for fancy drinks that many of you Bacardi Breezer sipping city folk might have. Just something to keep in mind.

1. The bigger the hat, the smaller the farm.

2. The shorter the nickname, the more they like you.

3. Whether it's the opening of Parliament, or the launch of a new art gallery, there is no Australian event that cannot be improved by a sausage sizzle.

4. If the guy next to you is swearing like a wharfie he's probably a media billionaire. Or on the other hand, he may be a wharfie.

5. There is no food that cannot be improved by the application of tomato sauce.

6. On the beach, all Australians hide their keys and wallets by placing them inside their sandshoes. No thief has ever worked this out.

7. Industrial design knows of no article more useful than the plastic milk crate.

8. The alpha male in any group is he who takes the barbecue tongs from the hands of the host and blithely begins turning the snags.

9. It's not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to hold.

10. If it can't be fixed with pantyhose and fencing wire, it's not worth fixing.

11. The most popular and widely praised family in any street is the one that has the swimming pool.

12. If invited to a party, you should take cheap red wine and then spend all night drinking the host's beer. (Don't worry, he'll have catered for it) .

13. The phrase "a simple picnic" is not known. You should take everything you own. If you don't need to make three trips back to the car, you're not trying.

14. On picnics, the Esky is always too small, creating a food versus grog battle that can only ever be resolved by leaving the salad at home.

15. Unless ethnic or a Pom, you are not permitted to sit down in your front yard, or on your front porch. Pottering about, gardening or leaning on the fence is acceptable. Just don't sit. That's what backyards are for.

16. When on a country holiday, the neon sign advertising the Motel's pool will always be slightly larger than the pool itself.

17. There comes a time in every Australian's life when they realize that the Aerogard is worse than the mozzies.

18. And, finally, the true test for immigration to Australia. Potential new Aussies must pass the following test:
Mowing a sloping lawn (at least 20 degree angle) in a pair of thongs holding a VB (Beer) while watching the cricket. If you can't pass that, chances are you will never be able to pass yourself off as an Aussie

I'll leave you with a couple more photos from our time in Stanthorpe...

It was very nice to see all the family again. This time, Mum had looked for old photos of the family and Steve, so we had a good time going through them all and discovering how gorgeous Steve was when a kid (I wonder what happened to him during the way).

We were also witnesses of probably the most amazing lightning storm I have seen in my life. Crikey, there was lightning nearly every half second in a radius of about 180º and lasted for more than half an hour. Beautiful!!!

We even had time for another barbecue in the park before leaving Stanthorpe. I love it. It really amazes me how public barbecues, lagoons, toilets, everything, are so well maintained and people make such a good use of them. I don’t think people in Spain would be so “civilized”. Sad but true!