Thursday, September 16, 2004

A Visit With A US State Dept Officer in Frankfurt

A Visit With A US State Dept Officer in Frankfurt
07 September 2004

"Hi Dave,...maybe you would like to have a T-bone steak at our house...Cheers Hal"

Hal and I go way back. He and I were in tech school together back in 1982 at Keesler AFB in Biloxi in the Air Force. We were stationed at sites in the US where we worked circuits together at our respective sites and both deployed to Germany in 1984 where we again, worked circuit issues together at times. We also paid one another visits during our time in Germany.

When we both left the AF in 1987, he went off to Kwajalein Islands and I went to Palmer Station, Antarctica in 1988. He started working for the communications support group at the State Department and I stayed home working for communications companies and worked on my degrees. We passed email every so often and kept up with one another here and there, but haven't had the chance to see each other until now.

About 18 months ago, I caught up with Hal in Virginia while he was at language school. He was getting deployed to Frankfurt with the State Dept as a Foreign Service Officer. So now that I'm finally here, we have the chance to see one another and catch up.

Just like my reunion with Roland and Angelique (who Hal also met back in 1986-87 when we went ice skating in Nijmegen (him for the first time!) with Angelique and Roland's sister) it was like no time had passed when we saw each other.

Got to meet Hal's family and as promised, we had those T-bones, along with a few liters of beer and topped off with brownies and some cognac and some great conversation. Good thing I was taking a taxi back to the hotel! It is funny how the years melt away when you are back with old friends. You wonder why you didn't go visit sooner, but then you remember how broke you were for so long and how prohibative those trips would have been even ten years ago!

This has been such a great trip. I am really glad that I made the chance to see so many old friends along the way. I tried to contact my second cousin Michael here in Frankfurt, but I couldn't get any answer at his telephone. He may be back in the States. I will have to catch up with him next time I'm out this way.

Got up at 9am on Tuesday morning and decided to make a trip back up to Cologne. I'd already seen about as much of Frankfurt as I wanted to see at Elbe Strasse, so back to the Bahnhof to catch a train to Cologne for the day. Although it is a small city, I always felt comfortable in Cologne. The people are relaxed, the city is clean, as an Ami it is easy to speak German to the people here, the food is good and the Koelsch beer is nothing short of fantastic. It is more like my German home in Kalkar about 60 km north and west of here. Frankfurt has none of that feeling for me. Just gravitating toward the familiar.

Walked around the stores again and by the Koelnische Dom (cathedral) one last time. Went over to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and also to pick up a shot glass for my sister Debi. I had actually wanted to spend the last two days in Cologne same as how my trip started, but couldn't get a decent hotel that had any openings. It worked out alright though. Last day here and tomorrow I'm off to Kuwait and Iraq.
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