05 October 2008

Travel: USA

My schedule this year called for five potential trips to the U.S. These were mostly for leisure. Even doing this to see family and friends, it seemed like a lot! The true test was a three-week span that saw me make four flights across the Pacific to visit Colorado and California. While I spent more than four full days in the air to do this, the trips were well worth the effort.

Colorado was our bi-annual Hallerberg family get-together at the Bar NI Ranch, or the Cabot Ranch to those of us who have been going since the 1970s. The Ranch is located near Stonewall, about 30 miles west of Trinidad in southern Colorado. The four of us (Mom, Dad, Alex and I) have been going since we moved to Texas in 1976, and in 2002, we were able to extend the invitation to Dad’s side of the family. Since then, every two years, we pack everything up for a week of horses, jeeps, fishing, food, and Euchre. It really is great. And this year was no different. Rather than providing a narrative of our stay, I will let some pictures do the talking. A few highlights – I was not thrown from a horse this year, unlike 2006. Dad and Dale won the Euchre tournament (I have no idea how). And I made it back to Lost Lake after probably 15 years. Oh, and on the drive up from Amarillo, I quizzed Dad and Alex on all the planes and helicopters I saw at the Korean War Memorial. I would just say the serial number (C-123), and they knew every one! Impressive.

I returned to Singapore on Sunday evening and had 12 days there before turning around and flying to San Francisco. Napa was the scene for a group 40th birthday party for all of my fraternity brothers that were born in 1968. We had about 100 people at Monticello Vineyards, the family winery of Stephen Corley, my college roommate and fellow 40-year-old. He visited me in Singapore and Hong Kong for my 40th – I wanted to return the favor. And it was a fantastic time. We had revelers join us from all over the US and even the world – Singapore, London, Sydney (our London banker friend told us a joke - maybe - making the rounds reflecting the tough economic conditions there; essentially, European conditions were so bad that bankers had four choices - Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai...or goodbye!).

Several sets of parents made it out, including Mom and Dad. And it was good to see that a bunch of successful 40-somethings can still act like 20-somethings once in a while.

I was able to stay in California for only four days, and about 10pm on Sunday night, I headed back to San Francisco for my 1am departure to Singapore, via Hong Kong. That was a quick turnaround – a whirlwind of a trip is a good way to describe it. And as much fun as I had, I was ready to not fly over the Pacific for quite a while.

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