Green Eyes is back from Down Under, safe and sound, bearing gifts, great stories and an envious tan. Having spent 3 weeks catching up with a few old friends, she also met a long list of cool new friends from all over the world: Ireland, England, Wales, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, etc. The experience seems to have been life altering for her. One of the most intriguing components of the trip, to me, was hearing about the base of operations; a huge well-run hostel called OneWorld Backpackers. This communal living arrangement included a large commercial sized kitchen and all sorts of ecologically green conveniences such as solar hot water, full recycling services, chemical free cleaning products, energy efficient light bulbs, etc. The hostel is also currently exploring a composting program. I was really impressed with the level of quality eating that went on in that big kitchen, as well. No junk and lots of fruits and veggies. Fortunately one of the Irish chaps happened to be a chef and so offered to cook up a large ham and turkey along with a few other side dishes on Christmas day. The rest of the travelers added their own favorite dishes from their home countries ( Green Eyes and her PA pal made their favorite deviled eggs, that no one else had ever heard of before!) Initially leary, everyone really enjoyed them. Outside, on the shaded porch, was a luscious passionflower vine that covered the entire trellis and looked to be loaded with maypops (or passionfruit). Looks like the potential for paradise to me. And to be 25, single and have the opportunity to meet intriguing peers from around the world, eh? A real step outside the box for Green Eyes and I think she likes it!!