Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's Over

I'm not sure about you, but I am GLAD 2009 is over. Good riddance!

The Duke's Band

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ho Ho Ho

Merry Xmas, everyone who cares to celebrate it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute Frenzy

The day before Xmas 2009, The local BrandSmart store on South Dixie Highway is packed with last minute shoppers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Year A'Coming

Every year, including this one, the celebration for a new year needs to be promoted early. It's business...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Crossing the Miami River

This is no Danube, but this is our Miami river running under NW 17th avenue Southbound. At the distance you can see the Miami downtown skyline and the Doplhin expressway (836 going East-West) rising over the river and the local neighborhood. The Miami river has many local on the water restaurants. When my ship comes in, if ever, I'll go over there to take some photos.

Crossing Miami River

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


This is a miserable morning for commuters. There must be some accident happening somewhere in town. Me? I am having a wonderful day as I am going against the flow, so liberating...

Monday, December 14, 2009


This BlockBuster is "busted!" More jobs down the drain.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Miami in December

It's 3PM today in Miami and it feels like summer. Where is the cool weather? Hello?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Private Health Plans

Here in West Kendall is a new location for the Leon Medical Centers. If you are in the US healthcare these days, you are supposed to make lots of money. This is a new 70,000 square foot facility that now is in addition to the five other locations catered only their members.

Friday, December 11, 2009

P.O. Box

When you send your mail to a US address addressed to a P.O. Box, it gets to one of these rentals boxes in a local post office.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holtz Children’s Hospital

Named for a gift by Fana and Abel Holtz, Holtz Children’s Hospital at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center is one of the largest and most respected children's hospitals in the US. Holtz's Pediatric Transplant Center is one of the largest in the entire nation. It is the only center in Florida capable of performing every type of transplant, and is one of three centers in the country specializing in pediatric multiple-organ transplants. Most nobly, as part of a public hospital dedicated to serving every person in need, Holtz is also South Florida’s number one source of medical care for children without financial resources. Go Holtz!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What U Gonna Do?

This sign spells out what fast food places can be found in the Food Court of this famed Dadeland shopping Mall. I am truly tired of being told NOT to take pictures here so I got a bunch of pictures here today. I don't think there is much they can do about it. What a stupid policy, don't you think? What are they thinking, these single digit IQ policy makers? Call the cops, send this guy to Guantanamo bay? Fi!

This Food Court is slowly being invaded by fast food chains. SubWay and Tony Roma's are new here. Business is going strong today at lunch time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Car Wash

This car wash is on US-1, close to 37th avenue. It used to do very well and long lines form on weekends. It is no longer the case and you can easily see this art work on the wall. I guess people do not want to pay US $20 or more to clean their cars too often. I wonder how long this business can stay open. I am thinking of blogging "dirty cars" in the streets of Miami, to begin with mine. What do you think?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Biting the Dust

Another store closing its doors. I see two reasons for this: the lousy American economy, and the advance technology. Blockbuster stores were doing brisk business renting videos. But I think not too many persons rent today. Here, movies are produced so plentiful on DVDs they are dirt cheap and it does not make much sense renting the old movies. Worse, movies can be watched freely on the internet, and on demand from the comfort of the couch. This is one way jobs disappear in Miami.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Too Slow

This looks like another "crappy" shot, but I am kicking myself for missing the draw bridge in the open position. It's already down when I managed to get my camera. This place is the ramp on NW North River Drive (that's the Miami river,) looping back onto 17th avenue where you see the traffic getting stuck because the draw bridge opens to let the boats through. It's a big nuisance to us automobile drivers, and this "darn" bridge is always in the up position when I get here. NW South River Drive is just across the river and you can blend into the Doplhins East-West expressway to go West toward Miami International airport.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Palmetto Interchange

One thing you can definitely say here in Miami is that they know how to build things: highways, bridges, buildings ... This Palmetto interchange is progressing very nicely. An earlier photo of this is here. This looks to me like it is hurricane proof. There is no way any hurricane can blow this down. Luckily we have no earthquakes so this overpass is here to stay. I still do not know where this leads to, but will try when it's done.

Xmas in Red

Along with the traditional Christmas tree are these bright red poinsettia potted plants. They are everywhere in town at this time of the year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Soul

Caught on the Air Port Expressway today is this very very happy person. Top down in this balmy weather, she is singing her heart out a la "KaraoKeing" with her radio. She paid attention to no one and I was keeping a good distance away from her car, ready to take evasive action if I must.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Snow Bird

It's November-December in Miami. You don't have to look up in the sky to see the snow birds. Here is one from cold, cold, cold Ontario. Driving all the way down here from there? That's a LONG drive.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pure Fun

It seems Coconut Grove is very serious in promoting their community. Their advertisement at this busy intersection is updated quite frequently. Here is their latest. You want fun? You know where to find it: Coconut Grove. That's where!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Trees

Immediately after Thanksgiving, Christmas trees are up for sale. People always buy Christmas trees because that is a real American tradition. It would be very interesting to learn about the growing and cutting down of these trees for this yearly commerce.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US. All stores advertise big sales and open real early to lure bargain hunters to their stores. This year cannot be so good as we are all broke thanks to the tanking economy, but there are still long lines in the stores.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dadeland Village

Today is a beautiful cool day as the cold front has pushed through. This view shows three of the newest buildings in Dadeland village: the blue TownCenter One and the twin yellow office buildings on the right that began construction in March 2007 and finished in June 2008. These office buildings are pretty much empty at this time due to the poor economy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gloomy Day

Here is how Miami looks in a pretty drab morning of a rainy day. It rained all day today, which is not too often in November. There is a pretty potent cold front coming to Miami, but this one moves too slowly so it will rain again tomorrow. Tomorrow night, the temperature will drop a good 15 - 20 degrees Fahrenheit... So watch out for my Dendrobium crunematum, the "cockroach orchid " that will bloom in about 12 days. May be I'll show its blooms again here then.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Foodie District

Sitting high above traffic on US-1 is this new large billboard advertising for the six eateries in Coral Gables. There are literally hundreds of places where you can eat in downtown Coral Gables/Miracle Mile, but these six must feel this is a good time to have their names recognized by the mass. In the US, advertising sales, a concept I have a hard time to comprehend.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Canes Free

In the older days, highway and street light posts, telephone and electrical power posts came mainly from pressure treated pine trees' trunks. Gradually, they are replaced by concrete poles like these that are transported to their sites. It's quite a job to manufacture, transport and erect these heavy objects. They have a much better chance to stay put under hurricanes that Miami is so prone to have. Speaking of which, none occurred this season that is about to end in about one week. Now, weather experts, you who have predicted a number of canes and so many of them "major" canes this year. What do you say now?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

South by SouthEast

Downtown Miami seen from about 12 miles South by SouthEast, from the Land Shark stadium. Photo taken yesterday during the college football game so the parking was crowded from this angle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blue Devils

There is a Miami Hurricanes (that's the University of Miami's football team) game today at Miami's Land Shark stadium, and that's against the Blue Devils of the Duke University from Durham, Nortth Carolina. Because the Hurricanes has already lost three games this year and therefore has dashed all hopes of championship, only the die hard fans attend the game. We still had a great time today and luckily, the Canes won 34-16.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lonesome Kitten

Here is a sad portrait for you: a lonesome kitten. So skinny, sad and all alone. This stray kitten will need to find food to survive and it won't be easy because there is virtually no litter here and the trash are in controlled containers with lids that are placed out twice weekly for collection.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Main Highway

This is Coconut Grove "downtown," at the end of Main Highway, merging to Grand Avenue straight ahead and McFarlane Road to the right leading to the marina. This is a great place to hang around in this time of the year. The weather is just perfect.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Speed Breaker

Miami has many speed breakers like this one. Regular intersections are remodeled and circles are built with quite narrow driveways that motorists are forced to slow down to get through them to not breaking a wheel or two of their cars. I think that is an expense well spent. Besides, these have very attractive landscape as bonus to the city.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brave Commuter

Here is what I think a very brave Miamian commuter, riding on his tiny motor scooter. In about 20 minutes, it will get dark, as we are now rushing through the year's remaining days. Rush hour traffic is very busy here on Sunset Drive near 97th Avenue. When it gets dark, I know I won't see his scooter very well and he may get run over by the crazy drivers of Miami.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Smart 4 2

1 liter, 3 cylinders Smart car from Smart Center of Coral Gables. This is the Smart ForTwo, perhaps the smallest car in America. French made in Hambach, France, in the Lorraine region, it comes in coupe and cabriolet. These cars are not painted, but they are powder coated! Believe it or not, the exterior surface is made with Trespa, a material 80% of which comes from fast growing European timber. Really? I can't imagine this Smart car colliding with an American monster like the HumVee.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Curb Cuts

This scene is quite unusual but it illustrates a point about life in Miami, that may or may not be representative of other states of the US: a wheel chair moving about in the streets. Here, disabled individuals who need to use wheel chairs have their lives simplified a bit thanks to a uniform law requiring facilitating movement of wheel chairs by use of curb cuts. Steps are removed and replaced by small access ramps everywhere in the city so wheel chairs can navigate around. This man is pushing an elderly woman in this wheel chair crossing a busy intersection near Dadeland mall. Seeing a wheel chair in this fashion is quite rare and it is also quite dangerous, giving the way some drivers behave in this city.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

XMas A Coming

We are in mid November, and this place is gearing up for XMas. Year in and year out,
that never fails. In a couple of weeks, immediately after the American ThanksGiving holiday on the last Thursday of November, Christmas trees will be up for sale here, near the K-Mart on US-1 at 124 street.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chic Boutique

This Chic Children's Boutique is one of many specialty stores in South Miami. I think the only way these small individual stores can survive is that they carry special items that the large department store chains do not have. This cozy little shop fits that bill. It's on Sunset Drive just East of US-1.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Kid in Town

This used to be the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fast food place. It has closed and this new fast food (again!) store just came into being. Another pizza place to compete in the already large crowd selling this very popular American junk food. This location is near the corner of Red Road (SW 57th Avenue) and US-1.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Easy Rider

Miami weather is so nice, especially at this time of the year. November is my favorite time in Miami. It must be grand to ride around town on a motorcycle, but I think this young person cannot be too comfortable. This is US-1 North bound near SW 27th Avenue, paralleling Miami's metro rail.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Medical Arts

People get sick regardless of how the economy fares. So hospital needs to expand to care for the ailing population and to make money, not necessarily in that order. Here is a nice modern new building belonging to the mammoth Baptist Health in Miami at the corner of Sunset Drive and SW 64th street.

Monday, November 9, 2009


A large colony of ducks and ibis hang around this very pleasant open area near the Baptist hospital on Kendall Drive to have frequent free meals, especially on weekends.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Am the Cutter

If you wonder how the construction workers cut open the concrete or asphalt streets to lay cables and pipes, this is one tool that they use. The tips of this tool must be very hard and powerful to muscle their way through the tough material.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Baked by the Miami Sun

The LandShark stadium now replaces the Miami's former Orange Bowl stadium that was demolished recently. This is now the shared home of major Miami's sport teams, including University of Miami's Hurricanes football team. Today is the football game between the Miami Hurricanes and the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Fans tailgate (for those of you not familiar with American sport traditions, tailgating is the parties that sport fans organize before and after games. It's a big deal as you can see here fans enjoying BBQs and games before the noon time football game today) outside before the game here. Cooking the food themselves outside save the fans a big chunk of loose changes because everything costs a pretty penny inside the stadium. I was baked under the Miami sun today for more than 3 hours but didn't mind because we won big.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Overpass

A new overpass interchange in the making near the Palmetto expressway. This overpass flies above Miller Road and I am not sure where this is going to. Obviously, the money comes from the stimulus to help the US economy limping along as unemployment rate soars to 10.2% I think that is an underestimate. It feels and is much worse.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Little Caesars

Indulge me! I am in a fast food mood. This is Little Caesars pizza. This store on Miller Road (SW 56th street) close to 87th Avenue has a special large pizza for ONLY $5.00 (plus tax, of course.) These pizzas are light on the pepperoni and too salty. Each must have an ocean of salt in it. Not so good! But what does one expect for a mere $5.00 lunch in the US of America?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Here is a rather newer addition to the Miami fast food selection. This is in the Target/BestBuy metrorail Dadeland station shopping center near Kendall Drive. This chicken a la Colombia style is less than so so for me. Too dry and it ain't cheap.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No New York

You look away, turn back and barely recognize the Miami's sky line. I rarely have a look at Miami downtown from this angle, viewed from the Miami Jackson hospital complex. The tallest court house building of the 50's is now buried among the newer buildings that grow taller and taller as the years pass by. There is a limit on how high buildings can grow here due to hurricane risks so we will never look like New York. Good for us.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Grown Up

My labor paid back handsomely. Remember I told you that my guavas can grow to become HUGE? Here is the proof, 2 months after letting the fruits enjoy the Miami warm climate. They are this big and ready to eat today. Delicious fruits. I love this!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Waterfront Party

Gateway to a wonderful party for the kids at the Coconut Grove bay side. This is next to Monty's.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Maintenance work is being done to this single-person racing sailboat in Coconut Grove. You can see by the keel that you need some water for this sail boat not to be caught stranded on a sand bar. There are many such sand bars in Biscayne Bay. Beware!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Life Is Good

This person says "life is good." It may be so if you were a lawyer specialized in home foreclosure in Miami. You'd be making lots of money, on other people's misery. On the other hand, he or she may simply be in love. So "life is good," indeed. What do you think?