Monday, December 20, 2010


I was recently in Bahrain for a meeting regarding an ABS plant in Saudi Arabia. Bahrain is a 2 hour drive from Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia so it is a convenient location for our colleagues. Americans can get a visa-on-arrival so it makes a good location for short notice meetings.

That is Abdullah on the right, Khalid next to me and Robin and Ahmed further to the left.

Bahrain is an island (actually several) in the Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf on the western side of the gulf) connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway.

Close up of Khalid and me.

Bahrain is a pretty open country compared to others in the Middle East. Women can vote, drive, and dress as they like. Alcohol is served in western oriented restaurants - but not at this one.

The outside of the restaurant.

Bahrain was a British protectorate for a number of years. The infrastructure (roads, signs, etc.) seem to have similarities to Singapore and Malaysia. Bahrain did switch to the correct side (American side) of the road back in the 1960s.

As a testament to Bahrain's openness, here is a shot of the Christmas tree in the lobby of the hotel. Most of the holiday music in the restaurant was secular but I did hear Oh Holy Night and a few others. People are free to worship as they please. Not sure about whether or not Muslims are allowed to convert or not.

There was even a real gingerbread house there. We were staying at the Crowne Plaza - part of the Holiday Inn group.

My flight left at 10:00 PM to return. We had a couple of hours to kill after the meeting finished. Took a taxi to the City Center Mall. Huge place - this picure is maybe 1/6 of it. All the designer brands and many chains you are familiar with. I think that picture on the left is the king and the crown prince below.

Speaking of chains - can you figure this one out?
Click on the picture. Notice the women sitting down for coffee and how they are dressed.

English is widely spoken. Arabic is the official language but with so many expatriates (a huge number from South Asia) English seems to be a common denominator.

I took these pictures out the taxi window on the way back to hotel.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trip to Beijing and Tianjin

Spent another couple of weeks in China on another project. Here is the China Central Television Building that burned on New Year Day (Chinese New Year). It was caused by a fireworks accident.

This scene is of an older neighborhood near the main business district. These guys are enjoying a plate of noodles for dinner.

I literally just turned around 180 deg and took this picture of the new World Trade Center. The neighborhood is changing rapidly.

Went to the flea market again.

Bought this slide rule. Sold it on eBay for $91.

This picture is from Ancient Culture Street in downtown Tianjin. Some sort of fashion shoot going on.

This is a night scene from downtown Tianjin along the riverfront.

These are some of my Spanish workmates posing along the Hai He river in Tianjin.

This is the hotel where we stayed. The Marriott Renaissance Tianjin Lakeview.

Here is the lake view from the 11th floor. That is downtown Tianjin in the background.

We are back in Beijing now. Went to dinner here one night. Pretty good Lebanese food.

Complete with belly dancers.

Audience participation is encouraged.

This picture is in the lounge at the hotel we stayed in - Kerry Centre Hotel. They brought this band (Big City Beat) in from Australia to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the club.

Pretty rough duty in Beijing. Somehow we made it through.

Family Pictures

Took some family pictures over the last couple of days.

Ed and Nancy.

Ed, Amy, Issac and Allison

I had to do some work on the previous picture.

The ladies.

Allison is into the whole picture thing. She brought along a special outfit. Posing comes naturally to her at age 11.

Here are 4 generations.

Mike really liked Allison's pose. He says this is a big hit on Facebook. Twelve likes on his new profile picture.

 Ed and Emily hanging out while the turkey cooks.

Isaac hanging out, too. This isn't trick photography - he is taller than Dad - almost 6 feet at age 14.

Here is the cook frying the turkey.

A picture of Mike at Bayou Lacombe NWR.

The only bird we saw there


Here are some pictures of Emily from October.

I'm still experimenting on techniques. Not sure this background works very well.

Here Grandma is reading to Emily.

Lunch time

These pictures are from Thanksgiving.

 I think I like the black backdrop best.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fort Bravo, Spanish Coast and the Mar Menor

See the following post for background. On Sunday, Dave and I took another road trip. We headed to Fort Bravo near Tabernas, Spain.

This tourist attraction was built as the set for a number of Clint Eastwood western movies including "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".

It is sort of tourist trap but we had fun there. They do several skits during the day. Here a couple of actors ride into the scene.

You can ride a horse, etc.

The skits are all in Spanish so a little hard to follow but there is a lot of slapstick. The actors are having fun and encourage a lot of audience participation.

One of the actors saw me, or the kid next to me, raise our cameras. He shouted something and the skit stops, they all pose for a picture - then go back to the skit.

One of the actresses/bar maids was more than willing to pose for pictures. We had a couple of beers before heading outside into the sun.

On the way back we drove through the little town of Sorbas. It is built on the edge of a cliff above the Rio de Aquas. This is the view from the town square.

Yes, we drove down this street. I was glad I rented a compact car.

Here is the view from the end of the street pictured above.

Looking the other way.

Click to enlarge any of the pictures.

We drove along the coast for part of the way back. This house is stuck on the side of the mountain. Here the mountains came right down to the sea. We had a late lunch/dinner in Garrucha.

We stopped to look at the scenery along the road and saw this scene below us. We, too, were wondering if what you hear about nude beaches in Europe is true.

Guys, DO NOT, click on the picture below.

Guys, DO NOT click on this picture!

Hey, I warned you!

On Monday evening we hosted a dinner for our Chinese guests at a restaurant on the Mar Menor.

Click here for more information about the Mar Menor.

A nice evening.

Beautiful scenery.

Like I said.

And finally, sunset over the Mar Menor.