Tuesday, July 31, 2007

La Dolce Vita

Looking due West is the skyline of Brickell Avenue, a high rent Miami office district. This view is from an established restaurant, the Rusty Pelican that has been here for many decades. It has its own private beach (although in the bay side.) The sail boats are anchored to allow their owners coming ashore to dine here, to enjoy watching daily great sunset and the Miami downtown lit up nightly. The bridge to the left is the same tall William M. Powell bridge blogged on Tuesday, June 26th this year.

Dining With A View

Monday, July 30, 2007

Faces of Volunteers

A couple of volunteers participated in a dinner given to thank all volunteers who donated their valuable time to help a Miami Heat's basket balll star Alonzo Mourning raise awareness and help countless disadvantaged and at risk kids in neglected communities. Thank you for your time and for your smiles. Learn about this Miami charitable effort with lots of hearts here.


Sunday, July 29, 2007


Yeah rite! In Miami, there is a modern shopping mall called "The Sunset Place" that is very popular with teen agers. Today, I finally remember to bring my camera. To my surprise, after taking this shot, I was yelled at by a friendly security guard, saying that photos are not allowed! Say what? This is quite ridiculous because with zillion of cell phone cameras, I have no idea how they can enforce this laughable rule. In any case, here is one of the many shots I have... If they can easily notice my camera, I have button size surveillance cameras I can bring just for the fun of it... This mall is not doing too well because it's open air! Do you know how hot it is in the sun here? Many stores come and go. Even a huge Imax closed shop recently. The equally huge Victoria's Secret also closed its doors. The AMC 24 theater seems to do OK and the teens come to watch movies with their dates. No photos? Phooey!

No Photos Allowed

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Water Music

At the home of a local music teacher, everything in her house has to do with music. Here is what greets her students at the front door: Frogs on lily pads in concert.

Ribbit, ribbit#, ribbitb

Friday, July 27, 2007

Masked Ducks

Here is a couple of habitants living off the canal you saw yesterday. I think they are both looking at me as I disturbed their nap taking this photo. Which one is the Mr.? Which one is the Mrs.? Can't tell.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Canal & UFO

Florida has thousands of miles of canals, and their water control structures, are carved into Florida's landscape, especially in the southeastern parts of the state. Canals are artificial waterways that modify existing rivers or streams, or are dug into wetlands or uplands for navigation, drainage and flood control, irrigation, access, and recreation. Florida canals range from a few feet to hundreds of feet wide and from a few feet to as deep as 35 feet.

This is a typical canal, in a typical middle class neighborhood of Miami. There are hundreds (or more) just like this one crisscrossing the Miami landscape. I am surprised to see how it looks so serene and beautiful in this photo. In real life, it looks, well, canally. If you look at this photo in close up, please do not ask me what you see in the blue sky. It looks like some kind of UFO, but it could be a flying duck. In truth, I have no idea what it is, and I can assure to you that my camera's lens is always clean.

Flying duck?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Giant Crane

This is one way they put windows on modern buildings. This crane is huge and its base is as big as a tank! The structure in the foreground is the garage of the new building. This obstruction to daily traffic is getting to be annoying, and dusty, to say the least.

Window Dressing

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stormy Weather

If you wonder what the Miami sky looks like on a stormy late afternoon, wonder no more. This is what it looks like. Sometimes, the ceiling is so low you may think you can jump up to touch the black clouds.

Black Clouds

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bananas Included

Price reduced... is very commonly seen on for sale signs around Miami's homes these days. The seller's housing market is in a doldrum, to say it politely. If you revisit my Friday, March 30th blog this year, I predicted that beautiful house could be sold very quickly! I was wrong! It is still looking for a buyer. I talked to the owner today, she said the price has been slashed, and potential buyers still cannot afford it, and they want it even cheaper. I was thinking it could be argued that this beautiful banana grove on the edge of the house is a good incentive for the buyer. Let's throw it in as a bonus. She offered the bunch to me when it ripens. I may come by in a few days to pick a few off the bunch, making it a bit cheaper to help the sale.

Bananas Included

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Giant Drill

On a stormy Miami Sunday afternoon, this monstrous drill is poised to start drilling into concrete and the limestone substrate in this area and break ground for another monster office/condo complex. Its name is Town Center One. This is only the start of a multiple phase project in this Miami-Dadeland area. The traffic in this area (my office area) will be horrendous for several years starting NOW.

I'm Ready!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Traffic Tease

This is a new ad promoting the Coconut Grove area in Miami. I see this billboard for the first time today, mimicking traffic sign and teasing the notorious week day traffic jam on US1 which is the main through fare traversing Miami in the North-South direction. Indeed, Coconut Grove is a mere half a mile to the East offering the good night party life. Why sit and fume in traffic to/from down town/work place?

Turn Right

Friday, July 20, 2007

Space Key

Today's blog is my trusted laptop keyboard. Actually, it's about my SPACE BAR. It's dead! You can never appreciate trivial things in your lives until something disappears from your life! Try to type a document on a keyboard without a space bar! It's insane! How does one make a blog then? With great pain, that's how! And that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I need to fix this keyboard immediately or I'll go insane, typing text like this using a virtual keyboard on the screen to insert a blank space for each word! Enough typing already. That's all, folks!

Virtual Keyboard

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Little Lion

Here is a neighborhood cat in the grass. Not sure what he was looking at because there was nothing but grass to the left of my camera. No buildings, no flowers, just a Miami cat in the grass today.

Little Lion

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Closed for the Day

To give you a sense of how small the pygmy water lily blooms are, here is another shot of the same that opened yesterday. It is about 5pm in Miami, and they are now closed (but they will open again tomorrow.) An American quarter (25 cents) coin is placed on the leaf between the two closed flowers. The quarter is 7/8 of an inch (23 millimeter for you metric people.) The water in the large ceramic container is warm to the touch. It's amazing what a tropical sun can do with its intense heat all day.

Restful State

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tiny Gems

One advantage of living in Miami is that you can grow a large variety of tropical flowering plants and fruit trees. Pygmy waterlilies are similar to their traditional and larger counterparts, but almost exclusively grown in tubs or on the margins of shelves in the garden pond. They are truly tiny waterlilies, and their blossoms are no more than 2-4 inches in diameter.

I am very happy to see that my dwarf water lily is blooming. Meet my Nymphaea Pygmaea ‘Alba.' The flowers open in the morning and close in the afternoon to open again the next day. They really do! These flowers are about 2.5 inches in diameter, tiny little gems.

Dwarf Lilies

Monday, July 16, 2007

Easy Living

This looks like a nice place to live. It is adjacent to Peacock park (in the foreground) in Coconut Grove. The huge terrace overlooks the ocean and people living here have a terrific view of Dinner Key. It is also an ideal place to watch the Miami tropical sunset and star gazing at night.

Coconut Grove

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mardi Gras

Fat Tuesday (a poor translation for Mardi Gras,) a sister concept of New Orleans Original Daiquiris, began in 1984 with the opening of the first retail unit in Atlanta, Georgia. Fat Tuesday units generally have fun food items to complement the featured frozen specialty drinks. The Fat Tuesday concept has grown into a national phenomenon with over 20 retail units in nine states servicing such markets as Key West, Phoenix, Austin, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and Miami

The drink menu is substantial...

• 190 Octane® • Banana Banshee
• Blue Bayou • Crawgator
• DeKuyper Peachtree Bellini • Hiram Walker Amaretto & Pineapple
• Hurricane • Jim Beam Mardi Gras Mash
• Jungle Juice • Long Island Tea
• Margarita • Mudslide
• Pina Colada • Ruff Stuff
• Rum Runner • Sex on the Beach
• Skyy Cosmopolitan • Strawberry Daiquiri
• Triple Bypass® • Tropical Itch
• White Russian

There are 7 Fat Tuesday stores in Florida, and this one is in Coconut Grove. The daiquiri that is my favorite is to the immediate left of the hostess: Mango! Only in Miami! Oh so good!


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Summer Blockbusters

Every summer, the entertainment industry MUST come out with new movies that they hope will become blockbusters that rake in the money. Here is the line up for this summer at a typical Miami movie theater. Right now, the blockbuster movie is "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." I can't tell because I fell asleep during more than half of the movie. I should have seen "Ratatouille" instead. I am sure I would like it much better. Unfortunately, I must go see Harry!

Summer Flicks

Friday, July 13, 2007


To prove that Miami is not all glitz and glamor, here is a look at Overtown, long neglected by government and community alike. It is located just northwest of downtown Miami. Overtown is bounded by NW 5th Street to the South, NW 20th Street to the North; NW 1st Avenue to the East, and NW 7th Avenue to the West.

Overtown, Miami was once a thriving center for Greater Miami’s Black community, remains the city of Miami's poorest neighborhood.

* Fifty-five percent of people live in poverty.
* Sixty-two percent of households are headed by unmarried women.
* Only 10 percent of households are owner-occupied.

(Statistics from the year 2003.)

Here is a brighter look at an old building with its mural decorated by a local artist at the heart of Overtown.

Poor Miami

Thursday, July 12, 2007


This is what I saw today in Dinner Key (Coconut Grove.) These two "pretty good" looking sail boats just lay here wasting away. The red one obviously has taken in water and sits on the grassy bottom which is only a foot deep. I don't know what the story behind this is, but these two boats won't stay this way for long. In this condition, people would come to strip everything usable off them to leave just the carcass. It goes to prove that Miami is "filthy" rich, abandoning expensive play things like these.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Giant Soccer Match

In the hot afternoon of a weekday, kids apparently from an elementary school are having a field trip to Peacock park in Coconut Grove. They are playing "giant soccer." The kids are allowed to kick or pick up the giant ball to score. It must have been in the mid 90's degree Fahrenheit and I was only able to walk in this park for about 5 minutes then had to rush into the air conditioned comfort of my car, shirt soaking wet! Notice the grass to see how high it is. That's because of all the rain we have been having in Miami.

Soccer under the Hot Sun

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Although a bit premature, I can't wait to talk about the 'Keitt' mango (Mangifera Indica.) Keitt is one of the world’s most outstanding mangoes and it grows great in Miami. Excellent eating quality, disease resistance, productivity, and ripening time are some of the features of this four to five pound Goliath. This fiberless fruit has a sweet firm flesh that is abundant and delicious. The fruit ripens from August to October so this is the only mango left after all the other varieties are long gone for the season. Last year, record shows that a Colleen Porter of Kailua Kona, Hawaii, reported a Guinness Book of World Records for her largest mango ever produced. Her mango weighed in at 5 pounds 7 ounces, and its size was the size of an adult human head! Hers was a Keitt mango. I can't wait until these fruits ripen, sometime in August-September. They look small now, but they have two months to grow much larger. Delicious and I am salivating!

King of Fruits

Monday, July 9, 2007

Tiny Shoes

I was forced to go into a department store this morning to the shoes department. I hate shopping malls, but here is a rare look (for me) at a kids shoe display. All shapes and colors and I think these are for girls. There's no place like home... There's no place like home... is what the Red Shoe reminds me of.

Red Shoe

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Today I visited an old friend who owns an orchid nursery in SOUTH Miami, way South, but still Miami. His place is huge and full of orchid flowers. But what is interesting is this shot: his Vanda seedling about ready for sale. He told me these are award winning mericlones (you can Google this word to see what it means) and each plant this size fetches about US $75. We are looking at a LOT of money here. They are flowering size, and when the flowers come out, their price should about double or triple, depending on the quality of the flowers.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Near Completion

Here is another peek at the progress of a new office building on the way to completion soon. This is from a more distant and different angle from the ones I have shown before. The new windows are being fitted. The building on the left is also quite new. There are lots of new constructions in Miami amid speculations that the building boom is going bust. I hope office rents will drop, but they keep going up for the time being.

Near Completion

Friday, July 6, 2007

Biscayne Bay

Here is a Friday afternoon shot at quiet Biscayne Bay. The kayaks are being readied to launch, no doubt. At the horizon is Cape Florida where there is a historic light house at its tip. The high rise silhouettes belong to upscale Key Biscayne.

Quiet Beach

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Afternoon Deluge

As clockwork during this time, thunderstorms gather and deliver daily in the afternoons. This is how some area of Miami look today. If you need to do something outdoor, do it in the morning or you will get wet. I hear no more reminders regarding water ration. However, to really help the drought, the storms should occur in the lake Okeechobee area and not down here in Miami. Lake Okeechobee, located in central Forida, is the "liquid heart" of South Florida. It is the second largest freshwater lake within the US, second only to lake Michigan.

Daily Thunderstorm

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Day

Today is Independence Day in the US. It's a holiday for most people, but NOT for you if you work for money making corporations (non governmental, that is what I meant to say,) in which case you are working today selling merchandise. Most stores are open to sell to the holiday shopping crowd, but picnic is traditional on this day.

Here is a historic lime stone pavilion in a beautiful and restful park in Miami: Matheson Hammock park. People come here to launch boats, enjoy the beach or exercise running, walking or bicycling. This pavilion can be rented for large picnic parties, just like the one that is taking place here today celebrating US Independence Day. Many fireworks will start across the city when the skies go dark at about 9pm.

Lime stone picnic area

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, king of Thebes, who tragically died in a drama by Sophocles bore the same name as this Miamian vine: Antigonon Leptopus, which is a robust vine creeping to tremendous distances. It has beautiful heart shaped pink flowers but can overpower and smother nearby native plants. I have been looking for a white-flowered species but so far have not found one in Miami yet.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Psidium Guajava

This is a guava tree (Psidium Guajava,) and this one is one of the better variety bearing huge fruits with white flesh and very few seeds. It is well seek after. The guava is a tropical fruit tree of the Myrtaceae family and it grows very well in Miami. The big problem with this fruit tree here is one of pest management. Its major enemy is the Caribbean fruit fly (Anastrepha Suspensa.) Left alone, none of the fruits can be eaten because by the time they mature, every fruit on the tree is full of worms.

I tried all sorts of control to no avail. The only way to protect these fruits is to individually wrap each one in a well aerated clear plastic bag with tiny "breathing" holes. Very labor intensive, but well worth it. This one will mature in August, and it will fill the entire bag.


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Red Things

The theme of the month is "Red." Some say it's easy. Not really! I am surrounded by an ocean of red poinciana trees, but I need to refrain from showing you any more of those...I thought about spilling a few drops of blood. But that sounds too drastic... Red ants? Too small and they move too fast... I don't want to wait until the sun sets to have some red horizon... So here it is, my DVD rental return envelope... If you could read the bar code, you could tell what movie is inside it... I should get a free rental for this unsolicited worldwide advertisement! Wishful thinking!

Pure Red