Posts Tagged With: ARAMCO

Dinner @ Blue Ridge Grill

First off, some advice:

DO NOT DRINK BEER AFTER WINE.

Now that we have that out of the way…..

G and I drove up to Atlanta yesterday to join some of my ARAMCO friends for dinner at Blue Ridge Grill. Several of them live in Atlanta, but two came from Greenville, SC and one came from Florida. With spouses, we were a party of 14.

I hadn’t seen most of them for years – one guy I had’t seen in 33 years!

But the great thing about ARAMCONS is, no matter how much time goes by, when we get together it feels just like old times. We have a bond that neither time nor distance can break.

And just like in the old days when our beverage of choice in Dhahran was siddiqui (moonshine), we tend to overindulge. (Hence the aforementioned advice.) But there’s lots of laughter and catching up and reminiscing, so it is totally worth the hangover.

The Blue Ridge Grill is a beautiful restaurant. It looks like a ski lodge, especially this time of year when it’s all dressed up for Christmas. The stacked stone fireplace and timbers are warm and welcoming. There’s an open kitchen so you can see the chefs in action preparing your dinner. And with the red leather booths, it really is quite a classy place.

Since we were a largish group, we were seated downstairs for private dining. We also had a limited menu – a choice of filet, grilled Georgia trout or organic chicken. Before we sat down, we mingled for a while and had drinks while two waiters brought out appetizers, little crab cakes and slices of baguette smeared with goat cheese and topped with a mound of tepanade. Scrumptious!

After the second round of apps, we settled ourselves at two large circular tables in a room that could be closed off by drapes. But the seating arrangements didn’t suit us, because we all wanted to sit together. So the men managed to scoot the two tables together (not an easy task because the bases were iron). That was much better. And even though we carried on our conversations mostly with the people on either side of us, someone would occasionally shout over to someone sitting at the other table, so it was fun.

I do have to warn you, the food is pricey, and G and I were disappointed that our entrees did not come out very hot. Yes, we were 14 people being served at once, but 13 had steaks and 1 had trout (which was delicious by the way). And the sides came out family style, on plates set in the middle of the table. So really there is no excuse for that, IMHO.

Nevertheless, I would definitely go back again, just not in a large group. Next time, I’d like to sit upstairs where the ambience is better.

Oh, and I won’t go out to a bar afterwards and drink beer til 2 in the morning.

Categories: Delectables, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s No Place Like … Someplace Else

The world is but a place of shadows. The guest pauses for but a few nights and departs confused, never knowing for sure where he has been. Beyond the horizon he feels certain he will find a better city, a fairer prospect, a more sonorous group of singing companions. But when his camels are tethered, he will find himself engaged with still yet another set of shadows. – James Michener in “The Drifters ”

I  am cursed with a wandering spirit. Like the ancient Bedouin tribes of Saudi Arabia,  I live to travel, and I feel the need to keep moving.

Not every day, mind you. But often. Like many other Third Culture Kids, I get itchy feet about every four or five years.

Third Culture Kids

Third Culture Kids (Photo credit: Earthworm)

I start dreaming about moving to a new place, meeting new people, experiencing a new environment. Or I think about moving somewhere that is close to where other friends have chosen to live. Most of them are TCKs like me, or else they have the same travel bug. Another thing about TCKs: they have friends all around the globe.

I never think about moving HOME. “Why not?” you ask. Simple. I have no home. I grew up in an ARAMCO compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. My dad is retired and living back in the States, so I couldn’t move back to Arabia even if I wanted to. (Unless I had a job there, or was married to someone who had a job there.) But the house I grew up in is gone, replaced by a park. And, quite frankly, I don’t think I would be happy living in Dhahran now.

Maybe that’s why I can’t seem to settle down completely. Because I don’t have a true home.

Over the years, I have met people who remained in the towns – and sometimes even in the very houses – they grew up in. I looked at them with a mixture of awe and pity. On the one hand, I felt sorry for them for not getting out and experiencing this big wonderful world we live in. On the other, I was just a tiny bit envious of the roots they had planted so deeply in their communities. Knowing everybody (and everybody’s business) was something I could never relate to.

That reminds me of another quote:

The tragedy of plants is that they have roots.

It’s hard to imagine staying in the same place for the rest of my life. I suppose if I found the “right” place I would feel differently. But then again, what is the “right” place, anyway?

I’m interested in other people’s thoughts on this subject. I’d love to hear yours!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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