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Darren's Page

 

Welcome to my page!

This is where I share some of my personal observations and opinions of some of the places we visit.

Also, farther down the page, you can see some of my photos from our travels.


Currently, for your reading pleasure, I present to you:

Driving in Greece

Your Greek Restroom Experience...a "Hole" New Adventure

Taking for Granted Our Local Treasures

2010 Northwestern European Trip

Please keep an eye out for new stuff as I post it.

 

Darren's Photo Gallery

Bonaire
Greece
Around Home
Cozumel
Belize
Southwestern RV Road Trip
Australia
Foresthill Dog Sled Races

 

Bonaire


This is a cactus fence on Bonaire. (Ouch!!!)
It seemed to be pretty common on the island. You would think that, being in the Caribbean, it would be tropical. But, due to it's location off of the coast of Venezuela, it's actually a desert island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Captain Don (left) and Frank Fennell (right).

Captain Don established the first dive resort on Bonaire, Captain Don's Habitat, and had all of the reefs around the island made into a marine sanctuary. Click on this link to go to Captain Don's Habitat

Frank Fennell is a well-known underwater photographer and Captain Don's good friend.

 

 


This is a photo of me, taken by Frank Fennell, demonstrating one of his underwater camera outfits. His company, Epoque USA, sells "Rugged & Durable Underwater Photo and Video Equipment at Affordable Prices" - quote from Epoque USA website. Click on this link to go to Epoque USA,

 

 

 

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Greece


On our last trip to Greece, I kept noticing all of the American fast-food franchises popping up around Athens. I decided to start taking pictures of these for another article. Here are a couple of them.

You can decide for yourself if this is a good thing or a not-so-good thing...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 


I was strolling around the Plaka (the old section of Athens at the base of the Acropolis) taking pictures of various things, and I snapped a shot of this girl walking down the street. I don't know who she is, but I do know she's HOT!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Octopus, anyone? A fresh catch hanging on the line at a taverna in Plomari on Lesvos. If you've never eaten octopus, it's really quite good, depending on how it's prepared (of course). I particularly like the grilled octopus, as opposed to the cold octopus in a red sauce.

 

 

 

 




Around the table left to right: George (Helen's cousin Dimitra's son), Helen's cousin Illias, his wife Julia, Helen and her cousin Dimitra. We all got together for some pizza at Dimitra's restaurant, Martano Pizza in Mytilene. I swear, they make some of the best pizza I've ever had.

 

 

 

 



It kinda looks like the Scooby van, but it's actually the Lesvos Scuba van. I took this after a day of diving off of Petra. George Filios (not pictured here), the owner of Lesvos Scuba is a great guy with a fantastic staff. You can find more info about Lesvos Scuba on our partners page or visit their web site at http://www.lesvoscuba.gr/.

 

 

 

 


This is the Poseidon Taverna in Molyvos. A really nice place to sit and relax on their patio and enjoy some good food, while doing some people watching or just enjoying the scenery. The owners are very friendly and may even come have an ouzo with you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Helen and I, along with her cousin Illias (pictured here) and his wife Julia, took a side trip to this little, hard to find, farm that produces all organic products. It's called the Mylelia and has a 305 year old water-wheel driven flour mill. The flour they make from the wheat they grow is used to make pasta and other baked goods. They also have their own olive press, pictured here with Illias, that they use to produce their own olive oil. They have a little shop on site from which they sell their products. It's quite an amazing place. Their products are starting to show up in high-end gift baskets. Some of the import items we buy come from here. If you would like to see their website, click on this link Mylelia. It's all in Greek, of course, but you can still look at some of their pictures.

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Around Home

 


I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago and shot these photos of the Blue Angels practicing for Fleet Week. They were very impressive.

Here they were flying over Pier 39.

 

 

 

 

 



This is a definite "right place at the right time" shot. Four of the Blue Angels, sideways in diamond formation, right in between Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid. I think the Flag in the lower right adds another patriotic element.

 

 

 

 

 




The Blue Angels, low and in diamond formation, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. The people on that boat were getting quite a show!

 

 

 

 

 




Helen and I had some friends from Belgium, Leo and Denise, stay with us for a few weeks on their first trip to America. We took them all over Northern California and showed them the sights! Here is a picture of Leo driving a speedboat we rented on Lake Tahoe.

 

 

 

 

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Cozumel

 


This is the view Helen and I had from our room at the Palace Resort. Those cruise ships are huge!
This picture was taken shortly before a tragic accident with a woman going overboard out of Cancun.

 

 

 

 

 

 


A view of the resort with everybody chillin' in and around the pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



A little game of catch with a football in the pool...

 

 

 

 

 

 


and some volleyball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of the girls that work at the Palace Resort, showing me some "gang-sign".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Some of the guests taking part in a "towel folding" class at the Palace. I don't think the one in front is really a girl...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Here's Helen with a parrot on her head, holding an iguana.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 



If you're in Cozumel, you really need to visit this place. It's Bob Marley's Reggae Beach Bar. It's really a cool place right on the beach on the southern tip of the island. It was wiped out in hurricane Wilma in 2005, but has been totally rebuilt and looks like it's been there for 20 years! I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for you...

 

 

 

 



Inside of the Bob Marley gift shop across the street from the bar, Helen left our mark...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In the Cozumel airport, while we were waiting for our departing flight, I saw this crab walking back and forth along the doorway like it wanted to come in. It kept us (or at least me) entertained while we waited for the plane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Belize

I recently took a diving trip to Belize and stayed aboard the Belize Aggressor 3 for a week. It was actually quite nice, although the weather could have been better. We had some pretty high winds, rain and some rough seas that prevented us from making a dive into the famous "Blue Hole". Oh well, that gives me an excuse to return.

 

 

This is outside the Belize Airport. It's a Harrier Jump Jet left over from the British Royal Navy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A view of my cabin for the week aboard the Aggressor. I'm really glad I had it to myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small fishing shack on a little island off of the reef. Talk about solitude!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A picture of the reef looking up at the bow of the Aggressor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little angelfish I caught hiding out in the coral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took this shot on my last dive of the trip. It was raining as I was coming to the surface and I wanted to see what the drops looked like when they hit the water from below.

I was suprised to see that the droplets actually penetrated the surface of the water and held their shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we docked, I had a chance to wander around a bit and took this lighthouse shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have ever been to Belize and went through the airport, you probably saw this character, Jet. He owns the only bar in the airport, and also serves about the only hot food available - hot dogs. He does quite a booming business. He's in his 70's, about 4 feet tall and the women love him. He has bunches of photos of tourist women and him with his face buried in their boobs (because he's so short).

 

 

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Southwestern RV Road Trip

Helen and I rented an RV for a few weeks and took a road trip. We traveled down to Southern California, through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, visiting relatives and friends along the way.

 

On the road! Interstate 40 East. The start of our journey out of California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting everything hooked up. "Well, Clark, that there's what you call an R-V" (Cousin Eddy - Christmas Vacation). Not all of the places we stayed were this nice...really. Some places we stayed made me depressed just walking through them.

This picture completely conjures up images of Robin Williams in the movie "RV". I figured since we were driving a rolling billboard anyway, I might as well slap on my own KG Imagery door magnets. Why not...I obviously have no shame. If the shell of the RV hadn't have been made of fiberglass it would have had my magnets all over it!

As far as the waste-management part of the deal went, though, it really wasn't all that bad. If you consider doing something like this yourself, just bring plenty of disposable rubber gloves and you'll be fine.

 

Helen was driving, so I had time to kill. A picture of Helen and me in the sideview mirror. Not that I was bored or anything...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A really picturesque ranch turned into a park in Sedona, Arizona.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took a trip to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. I was actually very impressed. This is a space suit displayed hanging from the ceiling in the main museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the building where the Saturn Five rocket is housed. It was scheduled to be Apollo 18, but was cancelled due to the lack of funding and waning interest in the space program. It sat in this field for about 30 years, exposed to the elements and deteriorating away. They finally realized what a piece of history they were leaving to just rot, and built this huge building around it. Then, they restored it to its original grandure. It's currently the largest rocket in the world.

 

 

Inside the Saturn Five building, the first thing you see are the 5 massive main engines. It still amazes me that people are able to build such things. It's even more amazing when you remember that this was built over 40 years ago!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Houston, we have a problem..."

This is inside the actual Mission Control for all of the Apollo missions. If you look close, you can see four little television monitors. The reason for four? There were only four television stations at that time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buster finally got good enough driving the RV, (we would practice in empty parking lots at night) that I let him drive the last leg in Texas. Here he is parking in Helen's god-sister's driveway in Fort Worth. Good dog! You get an extra biscuit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A cool cactus at our last campsite in the Mojave before we left for home in the morning...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...and this is what awaited us when we came home! It had snowed before we left on our journey and it did it again just before we arrived home. Oh well, what are you gonna do, eh? We still had a really great time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Australia

Helen and I recently took a trip to Australia to visit some of her cousins. i must say that flying across the International Dateline is always an experience. We took off from San Francisco at around 6:00 PM on a Monday and arrived in Sydney at 7:00 AM Wednesday morning, even though it was a direct 15 hour flight. On our way home, we left Sydney about 1:00 PM Sunday afternoon and arrived back in San Francisco at 11:00 AM...Sunday. We were back in the U.S. two hours before we took off from Australia.

 

This strange looking bird is called an Ibis. It's the national bird of Australia and is, of course, protected. You can see them walking around everywhere. This one was in a park in downtown Sydney.


 

 

 

 

 

Helen, standing at the obligatory photo-op place in front of the opera house. Until I actually walked around the opera house, I thought it was just one building. As it turns out it's actually three seperate buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the famous Bondi Beach...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a night shot of Sydney from our hotel room balcony. Sydney has a population of about 4.2 million. The whole of Australia has around 22 million. California has 25 million!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A surfer girl taking a break at Manly Beach. The weather was terrible and it was actually quite chilly.

The story I heard about how Manly Beach got its name was that, when the first British "discovered" it, they saw the Aborigines standing on the beach and thought they looked quite "manly". Go figure...

 

 

 

 

 

This is Luna Park, built in 1930, across the river from the Sydney Opera House. I don't know about you but this is one of the creepiest looking clown faces ever. I would actually like some feedback on this. If you think clowns are creepy, too, please e-mail me at info@kgimagery.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a close-up of the creepy clown entrance to the park.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if you thought it was creepy in the daylight...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took a trip to a wildlife sanctuary. Here is a koala bear taking a little nap...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a pissed-off Tasmanian Devil...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a curious kangaroo. I know this is technically a really bad picture but I thought he (or she) was really funny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice any similarities to a certain American fast food chain???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took a trip to the Jenolan Caves. They were really quite impressive...however, if you have a small baby, it's not a very good idea to bring them along. Caves can be quite echoy and the sound of a screaming baby can get to be a bit annoying. Also, do you know how hard it is to take pictures inside of a cave using no flash?

 

 

 

 

 

 

This a shot of the Q building (the really tall one in the middle) taken from Surfer's Paradise beach on the Gold Coast. The Q building is one of the tallest, if not THE tallest, residential buildings in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, finally, here is a picture taken from the restaurant / observation floor of the Q building looking down the Gold Coast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Foresthill Dog Sled Races

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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