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  home in paradise | bin laden | monsoon wife
american institute for foreign study | secrets of ancient egypt

Detailed Description of the Series:

These programs were produced and photographed by international award-winning video producer, Marlin Darrah. Ten years in the making, Darrah traveled to more than 100 countries on all seven continents, videotaping extraordinary scenes of the world's people, festivals and celebrations, great historical sites, religious and holy places, ancient and mysterious ruins, and stunning nature scenes and wildlife.

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Program 1: The Caribbean (64 minutes)

Although very close in distance to America, The Caribbean is worlds away in pace, lifestyle and beauty. This program takes you to some of the most strikingly beautiful and alluring places in the region; a carnival of savory images of the region's best beaches, enchanting tropical forests, colonial towns and cities, lively people and cultures, and of course a crash course in the fantastic music and dancing of the islands.

(3:35 minute segment from DVD 1 on "The Caribbean")

Here's an irresistible Caribbean sampler plate featuring...

Bahamas: cruise ship and shopping capital of the region;

Puerto Rico: the quintessential tropical-colonial town of old San Juan - perfectly restored and seriously romantic;

US Virgin Islands (St.Thomas/St. John): a tropical part of the USA, crowded with tourists, but impossibly beautiful;

Aruba: an almost waterless island with a stunning coastline attracting hedonistic visitors;

Cuba: long off-limits to Americans, Cuba and Havana especially is the most tragically beautiful place in the Caribbean.

Barbados: a graceful and stunning island of civility and leisure.

Trinidad: feeling hot, hot, hot - with one of the best Carnivals in the world, this island, with its bold and spicy stew of peoples and cultures challenges the outsider to drop his mask and inhibitions and just be cool, be hot, be alive.

Lastly, we visit the desert island of Curacao, very close to South America, with Dutch colonial architecture, fantastic beaches, plenty of cruise ships, and a unique sun-bleached, island way of life.

Program 2: Central & South America (68 minutes)

In this program you'll witness the beauty and glory of many of this huge region's natural forests, wildlife, mountains, coastlines, cities, villages, and great monuments of ancient civilizations. Many of the people of this region, especially those of Indian descent, have colorful and exciting cultural festivities and markets - the stuff of which photographers dream. In this show, we depict many of the most exotic sights and sounds from:

Guatemala: the Indian villages and towns of Chichicastenango, Solola and Antigua;

Belize: the Mayan ruins at Tikal, the stunningly beautiful barrier reef and coral atolls, and the raffish town called Belize City ;

Costa Rica: for its size, Costa Rica contains more protected national parks, reserves, fauna and flora than any other country;

Panama: the great canal and the beautiful San Blas Islands, inhabited by the colorful Cuna Indians; Colombia: the wonderful old colonial city of Cartagena, where the movie "Romancing the Stone" was filmed;

Peru: the majestic beauty of the Andes Mountains, the World Heritage city of Cuzco, the Indian villages and markets of the Urubamba, and the incredible Incan sites of Machu Picchu, Tambo Machay and others)

Brazil: stunning Rio de Janeiro, and the beaches and old colonial city of Salvador da Bahia. Included is a special segment on the great Amazon Rainforest, with its unmatched array of wildlife and tropical flora.

Venezuela, with the "Lost World" region of mountains and Angel Falls (the world's tallest), rainforests, and Caracas, the vibrant capital of the country.

Program 3: South Pacific and Australia (62 minutes)

Few regions of the world are more beautiful and alluring than the South Pacific. The dreamy, palmy cast-away beauty of such islands as Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea, Western Samoa, and Fiji are forever fixed in our imagination. In this program, you'll experience not only the great natural beauty of those South Seas islands, but also the stunning expanse of land known as Australia (with it's lively cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth).

And finally you'll see New Zealand, an island nation with snow-capped mountains, trout-filled rivers, four times as many sheep as people, national parks with towering geysers, and an indigenous people called the Maori.

New Zealand's North and South Islands are also profiled, as we show the best of that nation's places and people: the hot springs and towering geysers of Rotorua, trout-filled rivers, the city of Auckland, the great Southern Alps mountains, and the beautiful rolling countryside, home to 50 million sheep.

And finally, an exploration of the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, with its incredibly unique, fascinating and almost stone-age cultural groups, like the Dani, Asmat, and Korowai. You'll see some their mesmerizing and ancient festivals and rituals.

Program 4: Asia (67 minutes)

For many, Asia is the most exciting and wonderful continent on the planet. The diversity of landscapes, fauna and flora, cities and villages, and peoples and cultures in this part of the world are unmatched. We first travel to Japan to experience this country's most stunning features and places: the great temples and shrines, supreme Mt. Fuji, the cultural and religious treasures of the city of Kyoto, and the futuristic architectural stylings and cultural schizophrenia of Tokyo. Then to China to see Beijing's great architectural jewels - the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven; the natural beauty of the Li River Valley with it's famous "gumdrop" mountains; and the hustling and remarkable city of Hong Kong. Vietnam is quickly emerging as a country of tremendous interest for Americans: the markets, temples and river scenes of Saigon, the infamous war-time tunnels at Cu Chi, the fascinating floating markets of the Mekong River, the fantastic rock islands of Halong Bay, and the intrigue of old Hanoi.

Also in this richly textured program are the countries of Thailand and Indonesia. Thailand has some of the most attractive people in the world. Starting in the great city of Bangkok with it's extraordinarily ornate Grand Palace, we continue north to the great Buddhist temples of Chiang Mai. We journey through the beautiful natural and man-made landscapes of the country and the delicate yet massive Buddhist temples. And finally, a dreamy sea kayak trip that threads its way around the stunning and alluring limestone "James Bond" islands of Phangha in southern Thailand.

Thousands of tropical volcanic islands and atolls make up the great country of Indonesia. The island of Bali alone is worth an extensive visit for its unique forms of artistic expression, music, and dance. The most beautiful island in the world, Bali never disappoints. The large island of Java contains fascinating and intricately constructed historical sites, like Borobudur and Prambanan. You'll see the massive volcano, Bromo, still actively steaming and rumbling. This show also features up-close and personal views of the famous Komodo dragons and the orangutans of Borneo – known locally as “The men of the Forest.”

Program 5: India and the Middle East (61 minutes)

For many visitors, India is the most unforgettable country in the world. No other country has more intriguing cultural traditions, religions, festivals, archeological and historical sites. And many of the billion people of India live the extreme drama of their lives out in the open, for all to see. In this program, much of India's glory and strangeness is sampled. A land of extreme beauty and poverty, it impresses the senses like no where else on the planet. This show features the fantastic Moghul palaces and forts in Rajasthan, Delhi, and Agra; the crowded market streets of Old Delhi; the colorful camel fair and desert festival of Pushkar; the great river Ganges and the holy city Varanasi, with the faithful performing colorful rituals and prayers at sunrise on the sacred river; scenes of everyday life and work in India's villages, where 70% of the Indians live; and of course, the Taj Mahal - a piece of perfect, romantically-inspired architecture - a dream in marble.

Egypt: travel through the famous Sahara Desert and the Suez Canal; explore the old market streets of Alexandria and Cairo; experience the sheer grandeur and arrogance of the Pyramids and Ramesses II temples at Luxor and Abu Simbel; ride a felucca in Aswan; cruise down the Nile River, stopping at ancient Pharaohs' glorious temples and monuments, built to remind all who visit that those who built and ruled here where considered themselves gods on earth..

Israel: walk through the great holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, seeing the sacred sites of 3 major religions; and experience the amazing remains of the great Israeli martyrdom site of Masada, overlooking the lonely, haunting Dead Sea.

Turkey: explore incredible Ottoman mosques, Byzantine palatial glories, and the old covered markets and bazaars of Istanbul and Ankara; walk around the ancient Greek and Roman streets, amphitheaters and palaces of Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Perge, and Aspendos, and Troy; see the beauty of biblical Mt. Ararat, amazing Cappadocia, the deep mysterious blue of Lake Van, and the great Turquoise Coast, the Bosphorus, and the Black Sea.

Program 6: Africa (59 minutes)

This continent is famous for its rich diversity of historical and cultural sites, varied natural beauty of landscapes, fascinating cultural groups, and unparalleled wildlife. With so much landscape to explore, the sights and sounds move quickly through this program. First, in Morocco: we visit the world's largest mosque in Casablanca, then travel to the beautiful and severe Atlas Mountains, the camels and tribal traditions of the Sahara people - the Berbers, and the intriguing market streets and bizarre entertainers of Marrakech.

Kenya and the word "safari" are virtually synonymous. This is the home of the exciting wildlife that people from around the world come to see. Travel through Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve, with its lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes and several other species, all close by and easy to photograph. Experience traditional Masai dancing and singing in one of their tribal villages

We make a brief stop in Rwanda to visit Dianne Fossey’s mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Also included in this program is a look at the wonders of the exotic island of Madagascar, just off the coast of SE Africa. The animals - like the famous lemurs and tortoises, the landscapes, and the people are unique in the world.

South Africa is enviably rich with mountains, fertile valleys, glorious beaches and wildlife parks. We also visit the great city of Cape Town - a place of significant cultural and political importance, with great symbols of wealth surrounded by endless townships, and all bordered by some of the most spectacularly rugged and beautiful coastline in the world.

Program 7: Europe (68 minutes).

We begin our journey with the splendors of ancient Greece: the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus, the great amphitheater Epidauros, and the remains of the fortress kingdom of Mycenae. Next, we’ll wander through Greek landscapes of olive orchards, vineyards, and savor the beautiful fishing villages and coastlines of Poros, Hydra, and Kefallonia. And finally a look at the hopelessly romantic and beautiful island of Santorini, possibly the site of Atlantis, almost certainly the most romantic place on earth.

Feast on the voluptuous countryside, serene villages, ornate cathedrals, Epicurean palaces and gondola-laden waterways of Italy, including the great classical and renaissance cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice.

Stroll through the romantic, architecturally rich city of Seville, Spain; and savor Paris's incomparable ambience and style: the Seine River, Notre Dame, the tower Eiffel; Montmarte, the Left Bank, the Louvre and life de café. Also included here are many more of the continent's wonderful and classic places: the villages, castles and spectacular mountain scenery of Germany and Switzerland; and exciting portraits of the great Eastern European city of Budapest, Hungary, and the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval city in Europe, Prague, in the Czech Republic.