Saturday, November 16, 2013

Retro Slides: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands -- March, 1991

The Dunes of Maspalomas stretch for miles at the resort of Playa del Ingles.  Not only does it look like a slice of the Sahara, you can even go on a camel ride.  Favored by the English and especially the Germans, the Canaries are an easy getaway and you can be assured of good, warm weather all year round. It's expensive and out of the way for Americans, so I think I might have been the only one there.

The Riu Palace, at the edge of the dunes, is an excellent five star hotel. While living in Europe, I stayed here four times.  The half board, which includes a huge buffet breakfast and very nice dinner, is a very good value, and best of all, it means you don't have to search for meals in town, which from my experience was hit and miss.
On this first trip to the island of Gran Canaria, I took a bus tour around the island.

Playa del Ingles is considerably less glamorous than Honolulu.  The architecture tends toward the utilitarian side. The prices, however, tend to be far more affordable.
Parts of Playa del Ingles are surprisingly hilly.

After this trip in 1991, I returned to Los Angeles to work on Disney's Aladdin.  I never took slides again.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Retro Slides: Kew Gardens in the snow, February 1991

While working in London 1989-1991, I lived directly across the street from Kew Gardens.  When we once had this substantial snowfall, I had the day off so I decided to spend it walking around the gardens hoping a few shots might prove interesting.

A view of my apartment building directly across Kew Road from inside the gardens.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Retro slides: East Berlin, March 1989

What a memorable day this was!  Foreign visitors to East Berlin were generally limited to a one day visa. The easiest tour was by bus. We started at Checkpoint Charlie and traveled down Frederichstrasse, stopping now and then.  At one point we were allowed to shop at one gift shop set up just for tours with very disappointing souvenirs.  Our tourguide was an older man who took great pride in his city.  There was so much propaganda in his schpiel it sounded like dialogue from a 1960s cold war film.
Despite the prideful rhetoric, the once-grand buildings were mostly very run down.  Some even still had visible bullet holes.  Visitors to the same sites today might barely recognize them.
 The day was gloomy and grey, and looked even more so through the bus windows.
 The Brandenburg Gate as seen from the East.  Note the lack of graffiti on the East side of the wall.  What was most surprising about the wall to me was that it was clearly delineated from the air at night.  All of West Berlin was completely outlined in bright lights shining against the wall.

 Thoughout East Berlin there was very little automobile traffic.
 This mid-century cinema was an important cultural center of East Berlin, and is still in use today.

There were so many reminders of the Soviet Union at times I forgot I was supposed to be in Germany.

The tour culminated with a visit to the Pergamon Museum, built specifically for the altar of Pergamon which opened in 1930.  
The Pergamon altar, restored to look as it did in antiquity.