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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


New York and Vermont - 31 July-12 August, 2001


In August, 2001 we made a surprise visit to New York.  It was Carl's 40th birthday and we thought it would be nice to show up and surprise him (quite a bit of energy and time went in to arranging this trip and Carl never had a clue).  We spent some time with Carl's family and Lars' parents in New York in Valhalla (with the major events being the birthday party for Carl and Jacqui and our trip to the City) and then we headed up to Vermont for a week at Queechee Lake (where we also took a side trip to visit Tom Weber).


Valhalla, New York, 31 July - 4 August, 2001


The Champagne Route to New York, 31 July

We fly to New York from Kuala Lumpur via Singapore on Singapore Airlines.  It is Jacqui's birthday, so we make sure that we enjoy the trip as much as possible.  This is Jacqui's second year in a row that we are flying to New York on Singapore Airlines on her birthday - so maybe this will become a bit of a tradition?!?!  We make sure that we have lots of time in Singapore Airport in transit so that we can go to the Silver Kris Lounge and take advantage of the wonderful hospitality.  The key focus is the Krug champagne - they have to replace the bottle a few times while we are there.


The flight is uneventful -which is good - and we get to enjoy some more champagne and the birthday cake supplied by the airline.  We land in New York early morning on July 31.  After collecting our bags, the car arranged by our parents is waiting and ready to collect us and take us up to Valhalla.  Once we arrive, we quickly unload and then go into the house to surprise Carl - I just walk into his office while he is on the phone with his boss and he is stunned.  He had no clue.  I just wish I could have taken a picture of his expression.


That night we head out to Cactus Jack's for dinner - the same place we went last year for Jacqui's birthday.  This flying to New York works out well for Jacqui - she celebrated in Singapore airport, on the plane and then again in New York.


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Birthday Celebrations Galore, 1 August

Today, Carl's 40th birthday, we spend the morning playing golf up at the Beekman Golf Course.  We have great weather - cannot say the same about the golf game, but it was loads of fun.  Drove there and back in the convertible with the top down.


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Back at Carl's place, we get ready for the party.  Our mother has cooked up a storm, including preparing a huge stack of Wiener schnitzel - one of our favorites.  Quite a few friends and relatives come over and we have drinks, dinner and cake out on the porch.  Jacqui is not left out - she gets to celebrate her birthday one more time with lots of presents and cake.


More Celebrations, 2 August

We have a relaxing early morning at Carl's place, and in the afternoon we head up to Fran's place for a barbeque before we head out to an open-air concert.  They have just purchased an beautiful old building, which they are doing up.  We are given a tour through the house and the old floors, layout and design are wonderful.


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Lars helps with the cooking and we have an old-fashioned American barbeque, with hamburgers and hot dogs.  Over dinner there is a small cake for Carl.  We then head over to the local village square where there will be a open air concert this evening.  Carl is the guest of honor and they have brought along some gag gifts and a whole bag of water pistols - we quickly get into a water fight.  Both young and old get into the action.  It was only when the water supply ran out that the skirmishes died down.


Taking the Party to the City, 3 August

Today we take the party to New York City.  Carl, Ro, Jacqui and Lars hop into the convertible and head down into the city.  We get there just in time for lunch and check out an Indian restaurant - just average.  After lunch, we spend the afternoon walking the streets and doing some shopping (well, we think the ladies focused the most on that).


Late in the afternoon we head back to the hotel - Carl and Ro to the Marriott and Jacqui and Lars to the Paramount.  We are not in the same hotel as we could not tell Carl that we ere coming!!!  The Paramount turns out to be a very interesting hotel - modern and sleek.  Each of the elevators is lit up in a different color.  The room is small, but nice.  Simple but well decorated.  In the evening, they light candles all over the lobby.


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We meet up with Carl and Ro and take a taxi downtown.  We have dinner at the Mesa Grill, which is supposed to be one of the current "in" restaurants.  It turns out to be excellent.  Great service.  An outstanding bottle of wine that was recommended and was not the most expensive on the menu.  The food was delicious.


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After dinner, we head back to mid-town where we go to the Supper Club.  The Supper Club is a throw back to the 40's - it is like a dinner cabaret.  We came for the second sitting - after dinner.  They put on quite a good show - a live band and an MC.  Many of the people there went up to the dance floor - and some were very good.  We also took our turns on the dance floor.  Carl and Ro were great, but Lars just could not keep up with Jacqui - he has two left feet when it comes to dancing!


Queechee, Vermont, 5-12 August, 2001

We had a wonderful one week family trip to Vermont - it was just a shame that Kevin and his family were not there (but we were all able to get together in London in late September for Sienna's christening).  We drove up in two cars on Sunday and arrived at the condo in the middle of the afternoon.  We then did some shopping, stocking up for the week.


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In was wonderful to be in the New England countryside - it is beautiful with all the forests and the lack of congestion, pollution and noise.  We did not do too much while we were there, other than spend the mornings down at the lake (a bit small and disappointing, but the children loved it), go running, play tennis and eat.  Carl and Lars went out and played one round of golf - they have a great golf course.  It was one of the better ones that we have played on.  The holes were challenging and also very well kept.  We played over a wide gully twice - lost a few balls there.  The tennis court was not so well maintained - there were cracks running through the course.  So there were some strange bounces.


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On Monday evening, Carl, Ro, Lars and Jacqui went downtown and had dinner at Simon Pierce.  This cool place has a glass blowing factory and shop, pottery making and a great restaurant overlooking the river and the dam.  We were there to celebrate Carl and Ro's anniversary - the grandparents were kind enough to stay at home and baby sit (many thanks!!!).


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We had to wait a short while for out table, but it was well worth it.  We sat outside on the balcony right over the waterfall.  It was a great setting and the meal matched it.  We also had a few bottles of wine to wash everything down.


On Wednesday Jacqui and Lars head up to Goshen to visit Tom Weber.  We had not seen him since our wedding and we were looking forward to catching up with him  It was a great drive on roads winding through the forests - we drove with the top down.


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Once we arrived at Tom's place, he showed us around.  He is currently fixing up his place.  It is a very nice house on a big plot of land.  Tom lives in the studio above the garage.  We have a light lunch - Tom introduces us to some healthier living.  Then off to the nearby lake for a swim.  We drive as far as we can go, and then we have to walk for about 20 minutes to get to the lake.  It is wonderful that they do not extend the road all the way to the lake - it keeps the noise and crowds down.


It is a beautiful lake with a stone beach and surrounded by dense trees.  Tome had found a small, secluded spot and he is disappointed to see that other people seem to have also found it.  It is hot in the sun and we jump in for a swim.  It is cold, but nice.  We just try not to stick our feet to deep down in the water where it is even colder.


Once back at Tom's place, we wash up and then prepare a few drinks.  Tom has a bottle of champagne that he is kind enough to open.  Then it is on to the margaritas - we soon found out how wicked they are.  Tom makes up a second batch and puts it in a pickle jar.  We grab some glasses and head out.  First stop is to pick up Tom's sister - we stop at her place to have a few sips - then head on to Christophe's on the Green for dinner.


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We have a great meal.  The waiter is a good laugh (he also knows Tom's sister form school) and we have a couple of bottles of wine.  While the food was good, I am not sure if we would have noticed the difference by now.


We get back to Tom's place around midnight and stay up for another couple of hours catching up.  We go through our photos form Africa and Tom plays his guitar.  Tom also digs out a video that he had made when he was back in Singapore and we had a good laugh about the old days.


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The next morning (the hangover was actually not too bad), we join Tom outside while he is doing some yoga and he teaches us a few exercises.  We decide to go on a tour of Middlebury and then head out to lake Champlain.  We have strapped the canoe on the roof and after a quick picnic lunch we put the canoe in the water.


This turns out to be quite a trip - the wind had picked up and the waves are quite high (at least for small canoe).  We make it through without too much trouble - a little water spills and gets Jacqui a bit wet.  We pull up on some rocks and go for a swim in the lake.  To get back to the car we have to once again face the waves, and make it through without a hitch.


Once back at Tom's place, we wash up, pack our bags and then head back to Queechee.  It was good to catch up with Tom and we hope it will not be so long until the next time we meet up.


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On Saturday we decide to be the good tourists and go and visit some of the local sights.  We head off to the nearby deep gorge that forms a gash through the hills.  We take a short walk through the woods - just about all the kids can handle - and then head off for some lunch and shopping.


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Our trip comes to an end on Sunday.  This will be a big travel day.  We drive from Vermont down to Valhalla, where we wash up and pack our bags.  Then a taxi to JFK airport and our 24 hour flight back to Singapore.  We spend a few days in Singapore and then head back up to Kuala Lumpur.


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