Friday, October 31, 2008

Fright Night

We all need a break so let's celebrate the American traditional Halloween, October 31st every year. The kids go "Trick or Treat" for candies and adults have fun dressing up as monsters to go bonker in all night parties. Here are two party goers posing in their car next to mine. Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Big Blue

Driving around Miami these days, you can get your own "scientific" poll of the US presidential race by tabulating the signs in the front yards. This is the biggest "Blue" sign in town. Trust me, it's the biggest! To be fair and balanced, I'll try my best to find a worthy "Red" retort by tomorrow. Come back to see if I can succeed.

Mother Blue

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sleeping with the Enemy

With only 6 days to go, the US presidential race's shadow is everywhere, especially here in Miami/Florida. This is one of the biggest battle ground between the Red Elephant and the Blue Donkey. Equally in Americans' minds are the election and the deep worries about the economy tanking, the Miami Herald newspaper eloquently said this in its front page today. When the husband roots for the Red Elephant, what is the Blue Donkey wife to do? Especially when both have just lost their jobs? Can we vote for a "Purple Dragon?"

Purple Dragon

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mother Load

How does one move big earth mover equipment from one construction site to another? Here's how.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Twinkle Little Stars

Brassavola Little Stars (B nodosa x B cordata) is a primary hybrid (which means for you non-orchid readers a cross between two original species) of the nodosa and cordata species of Brassavola. I got this from tog a few months ago and just dumped it inside this green plastic basket. You can see how easily this orchid grows and flowers: no requirement whatsoever, just my ticket. I used to have several Brassavola nodosa plants, known as the "Lady of the Night" orchids. I love the scent of this orchid at nights: Out of this world. I am not sure if the Little Stars hybrid smell as good. I'll find out in a couple days.

Little Stars

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pro Audio

This is the Miami warehouse selling professional audio equipment and Peavey musical instruments (guitars, amplifiers, mixers etc...) and public address systems for outdoor concerts. This warehouse is typical of the old time Miami when buildings are predominantly flat. Nowadays, new high rises are the norm.

Pro Audio

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lunch Break

Police officers need time off for lunch too, and this is the proof. This is a very popular sport grill on Sunset Drive in South Miami. Chicken wings from here are to kill for. A ritual here on weekends is football parties. The ads say US $8.00 for Miller and $9.50 for Heineken beer pitcher. I can't tell which is a better deal because I do not drink beer at all. I vote for wine.

Sport Grill

Friday, October 24, 2008

In the Blue Corner

Yesterday, you had a glimpse of the American political "Red" team. Here is its counterpart, the "Blue" team. This sign is on the lawn of a house not far from the one blogged yesterday. I hope that this competition does not turn ugly like the legendary battle between the "McCoy" and "Hatfield" families in the old wild West days. Come to think, it did turn ugly and the news showed people driving around Miami in SUV to rip the adversarial signs up and take them away.

The Blue Team

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In the Red Corner

The general US election that elects the next US president is in 12 days. The whole country is excited and the competition is fierce. I get "RoboCalls" all day long from both sides who bad mouth each other and that is very annoying. It's a good thing I don't answer the phone. For those of you who do not know about the political system of the US, there are basically two teams, the Republicans (symbolized by an elephant and it likes the color Red,) and the Democrats (with the symbol of a donkey and its favorite color is Blue.) Others claim there is more such as the Independents, but they don't really count. When the rubber meets the road, citizens pick either the Red or Blue color. That's it! This household in Miami supports the "Red" team. For the life of me, I can't understand why the banner is in the "Blue" color. They should know better. Tomorrow, you will see the other side of the political coin. Come back here to see the "Blue" team in action.

The Red Team

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Red vs Blue

Here is a sample absentee ballot that US citizens living in Miami receive in the mail (if they ask) as it is an example of the official ballot for Miami Dade County. This is a big deal because this year election on November 4th will decide who the next US president will be: McCain (Red) or Obama (Blue.) Place your bet! I voted and sent my ballot in today.

Voting Time

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


There is a lot of road work in Miami these days despite all the gloom and doom talks about the economy downturn. Nobody has any money but roads and infrastructure do get deteriorated. What can you do? I am glad they are still able to fix things up.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Rat!

Halloween, an American tradition, is to celebrate scary and gloulish things on the night of October 31st. As that date approaches, symbols of Halloween are everywhere in town. Here is the biggest rat I have ever seen in my life! Ben's look is downright scary! Do you notice all the teeth? These are at the front door of a local dentist. No wonder!

Giant Rodent

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Face of Loneliness

It takes about US $5 to pay for a meager lunch at a fast food place in Miami. This one always plays temporary refuge to occasional visitors who are obviously down and out. This man radiates loneliness and destitution as he finishes his solitary lunch and on the way out with a shoulder bag that seems to contain everything he possesses. It's a sad scene.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Entrana, no Filet Mignon

This little local restaurant, La Nueva Argentina, on Sunset Drive at 101 Avenue is very good and not too expensive, the right place to have lunch in this merciless economy. I am told the food here is authentic Argentinian: entrana, papitas, ensalada, cerveza, churrasco, parrilla, chorizo... The kitchen is behind the counter seen in this photo. My lunch here was excellent.

La Nueva Argentina

Friday, October 17, 2008

Out Of My Way!

This confirms my strong opinion about the skill level of drivers in the city of Miami: Quite low! Actually, sometimes the fault is attributed to drivers' aggressiveness. The cell phones do not help either. This accident at a busy intersection clogged traffic for a while when the only way to get through is to squeeze past the right side of this SUV.

Fender Bender

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I return to the roof top garage today for a new inventory of the new cars stored here. The situation seems to be stagnant compared to the last time I was here about a month ago. The entire roof top is full of brand new Cadillac from a giant car dealer in Miami: Williamson. This row has CTS models with sticker prices of around US $45K each. Lots of money stuck here under the blue sky.

$45K Babies

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Men At Work

If you sometime wonder how traffic lights in Miami are maintained, here's how. Electric companies have similar equipment to maintain and repair their electrical network. Basically, it's hard and hazardous work, the price for any civilization.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Carts & Carts

Grocery Shopping carts are herded like cattle and brought back from the parking to be used carrying grocery items. Many homeless people in Miami "borrow" these carts as their personal storage for all their belongings. The police cracks down on that practice because the stores do not like losing money replacing their carts.

Grocery Shopping Carts

Monday, October 13, 2008

Magic Wand

Here is another piece of land in South Miami poised to be metamorphosed into a new structure, most likely a new office building or condominium. It is always amazing to see small parcel of land like this one transformed into a huge building. The architects are truly magicians and they can work magic with these tiny lots of land. Bad economy or not, here they come: Abracadabra!

New Construction

Sunday, October 12, 2008


A very nice benefit we have living in Miami is that the government really takes good care of the city's streets. Rarely encountered pot holes are very quickly filled and streets resurfaced at regular intervals. This is SW 72nd Avenue getting its Eastern half resurfaced with asphalt soon over the wire mesh and drainage sub-layer that was recently laid.

Road Work

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Lunch at a different spot in town brought me for the first time to this Chuck Wagon on Bird Road in South Miami, just West of the Palmetto Expressway. It's a very unpretentious diner from the old days and it looks like it is run by a Mom-and-Pop operation The food was good and down to earth.

Friday, October 10, 2008


An Automated External Defibrillator or AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. This sign is placed at every location this device is available as it is here inside a South Miami hospital.

AEDs are designed to be simple to use for the layman, and the use of AEDs is taught in many first aid, first responder and basic life support (BLS) level CPR classes. It is argued that AEDs are better than CPR (mouth to mouth resuscitation... YUK!)

Well, I think the US financial sysem can use this right now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


This is one way to get quick and easy supplementary income: tow away cars that park illegally. Remember my earlier blog warning about the "line of death?" That was no joke! This is serious money and it takes big "bucks" to get a towed away car out of storage because the cost gets larger every day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Army Strong

The US armed forces have career officers and volunteers who enlist to serve in exchange for a free college education after service and other benefits. Annual recruitment occur periodically at college and university campuses. This is one such event and it's the US Army's turn. The registration table is always next to an attention grabbing device to attract the youngsters. In this case, it is a machine to test how strong you are, by punching a ball hung like a punching ball used for boxers. This fellow is fierce and this is his second punch. I am glad I am not at the receiving end.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Today is the second day of the week long Disability Awareness event at this college and this jazz band performs for a free audience as a token of support. The US is the leading country in the world promoting means to make the lives of people with disability a bit more easy. Sure, the US has all kinds of huge problems for the world to see, but I do like this aspect of its quality.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Organic, Really!!!

Here is how "fresh" vegetable are sold in a typical grocery supermarket in Miami. They are supposed to be fresh, but they are refrigerated on the shelf just in case they cannot be sold timely. Organically grown produce are in and they cost more. Not for me, no organic, please. The less the gimmicks, the better life is.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blue Tooth

Testing out the merchandise, a typical American youth is making rock star dreams with a Sony PlayStation 3 game machine and a Guitar Hero. I think this guitar may be connected wireless via Blue Tooth. Please do not ask me what that is because I don't know. All I know is when I walk around in this electronic jungle today, my Blue Tooth headphone got all kinds of interference and does not work well.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wine Colored

On an all day grey and rainy day like today, this flowering hedge gives
some cheers to brighten your mood. It does mine.

Friday, October 3, 2008


This is a shot inside the South Motors BMW automobile dealership at 160 Street on US1. Their showroom is packed with brand new cars for sale. Even in this wildly uncertain economy in the US (and the world,) I see plenty of people buying new cars here today. While credit is still available, I guess...

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Anywhere you go in Miami, you can find dead or dying pine trees. It seems like there is no way to stop this phenomenon. There are many causes that contribute to the demise of these trees: root rot, fungal disease, southern pine beetles, hurricane die off and many other natural causes... The 2004 storm's winds rocked the native Florida pines causing invisible damage to roots and tissues under the bark was blamed for the death of many pine trees here.

Tree Gone

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Line of Death

Don't even THINK of parking here! Your car will vanish without a trace and you will need to bring all the cash you have to bail it out. In this city, yellow lines are the lines in the sand. Beware! We mean business!

Don't even think of parking here