My father worked as an engineer in Saudi Arabia in the 70's and 80's. The company was ARAMCO, the Arabian American Oil Company. Now the owndership has transferred to the Saudis and so it is known as Saudi Aramco. Any child that went to school over there is known as an ARAMCO Brat.

I went from 1st to 9th grade in the ARAMCO schools. After we graduated 9th grade we all went to boarding schools. I was lucky in that I got to live in the three main American compounds there: Ras Tanura, Abqaiq, and Dhahran.

Every odd number year (2009) we hold a Brat reunion over Memorial Day weekend. I've been to five so far - two in Houston, Tucson, Chandler, and now Los Angeles. Any Brat may attend and so that means we have people from the class of 1950 or so up to the present. The gatherings are large and festive. We take over a hotel and party for four days straight. There is very little sleep and anyone who is unfortunate to have booked a room in the same hotel while we are there is very, very sorry. We've been known to consume every ounce of liquor in a hotel and the parties go on all through the night til dawn and later.

Because I lived in the three districts I have volunteered to rep for the class of 1980. This particular year I saw mostly Ras Tanura brats. My roommate for the weekend was Rihab, who I had not seen since 4th grade! Same time for not seeing Roula as well.

Most brats just hang out at the pool all day since this is what we usually did back in Saudi as kids. We catch up, see how people look today, meet spouses and children. There are bowling and golf tournaments, auctions, raffles, banquets, a suq (marketplace), class pictures, and a recreated Teen Canteen (hangout). Nothing but fun and exhaustion.

So now we just wait for the announcement of 2011's reunion!

Yesterday my Meetup group participated in the first Hunt the Grid scavenger hunt. It was sponsored by New Belgium beers, the Bicycle Kitchen, and the Midtown Grid.

I would say there were about 35 teams that could be 2, 3, or 4 people each. We were a group of four. They had four sets of clues that had about seven clues per set. We rode all over down town collecting items from different midtown businesses.

We had a great time but have some recommendations for next year. After all, the first year is the year you work out logistics and iron out kinks.

First, they need to have beverage/water stations at the end of each clue set. Running around town was hot and we were dying for something to drink.

Second, the clue sets should all be within a six block or so area. We were getting clue sets that had one clue all the way at the Crocker and another clue on 21st St.

Third, they need to give more time. They gave us an hour and a half and everyone we talked to only got through three clue sets.

Lastly, the end needs to be more organized. You had to go back to the Bicycle Kitchen and they served beer and refreshments. But it was so disorganized at the end and took so long to tally that most people just left and forgot all about finding out how they did and getting the prizes. We have no clue where we ranked. Did we win anything? Dunno.

I look forward to participating again next year. It was held on Second Saturday, so afterward we strolled the streets and had dinner at Aioli's. Come join the fun next year.