Saturday, January 31, 2009

Miami Downtown

This is a view of Miami downtown on an early Saturday afternoon. Going North on I-95, this is about 8th street SW, the exit just before reaching the heart of Miami. You can still see construction going on. Hopefully they are not projects being stuck because money has run out.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Subpar Drivers

Would you now agree with me that Miami's drivers are horrible? This is a big intersection with FOUR WAY Stop signs; and this car's driver has managed to get into what appeared to be a big collision. They probably learned to drive by correspondence. Amazing!

Horrible Drivers

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ton Ho Chai

Once in a while, I venture to the deep Miami South to this fruit and vegetable packer just for a spy. Today's trip was well worth the long drive as I learned something rather new for me: Ton Ho Chai! Fancy that! I had no idea what that is, but it looks edible, but not for me! Ton Ho Chai is a Chinese leaf vegetable, the taste of which is slightly bitter. It is supposedly good stir fried. So, if you are interested, get yourself a fancy-named dish with instructions from here:

Minced Pork Ton Ho Chai (Lab Mu Pad Puk Ho Chai)

Pork minced stir fried (Lab mu) with Ton Ho Chai, If you can't get hold of Ton Ho Chai, come to Miami; or use Pak Choi, or Chinese cabbage. Please do not ask me what Pak Choi is because I do not know at this time.


100 gms Ton Ho Chai
100 gms Pork Mince
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Flaked Chillies
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce (now, this is not really Chinese or Thai... interesting...)
1 Tablespoon Toasted Rice Pounded
1 Tablespoon Oil
1 Teaspoon Sugar


1. This recipe couldn't be simpler, clean and chop the leaves.
2. Heat oil in a pan, fry the pork mince until it's part cooked.
3. Add lemon juice, flaked chillies, fish sauce, toasted rice and sugar and continue frying until the pork is cooked through.
4. Add the leaves and fry for 30 seconds just to warm them through.

Don't let the look of this dish fool you. This contains lots of salt and carbohydrate!!!

Say What

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Koi, or more specifically Nishikigoi, literally "brocaded carp", are ornamental domesticated varieties of the common carp Cyprinus carpio. The word "Koi" comes from Japanese, simply meaning "carp." It includes both the dull gray fish and the brightly colored varieties. A homophone of koi means "love, affection" and Koi are therefore symbols of love and friendship in Japan: a good example is the short story Koi-san by Mukoda Kuniko.

The common carp is widely believed to have originated from the Caspian Sea. Carp with color mutations were found in China. However, the earliest records of carp with distinct colors kept for selective breeding, true Nishikigoi, have been found in Japan. Koi have many different colors. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream.

The common carp is a hardy fish, and koi retain that durability. Koi are cold-water fish, but benefit from being kept in the 15-25 degrees C (59-77 degrees F) range and do not react well to long cold winter temperatures. Their immune system 'turns off' below 10 degrees C. Koi ponds have a meter or more of depth in areas of the world that become warm during the summer. In areas that have harsh winters, ponds that are a minimum of 1.5 meters (4 1/2 feet) are most common. Obviously, this pond found outdoor of an "All You Can Eat" buffet does not know of the fish requirements! It is too shallow. Luckily, cold nights in Miami are relatively rare. If I were these fish, I would want to migrate. It's too shallow!

Deeper, Please

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Brown Grass

My yard is not the only one that looks bad in Miami. Here is the proof. This soccer field is green in the summer, but it looks like a field of wheat now. At the distance, the same grass is cut regularly because that is where the soccer games are played beginning March, April.

Aqua, Please

Monday, January 26, 2009


Segway is a fancy and exotic name for what is called the Human Transporter! This gadget made its appearance in the market place since 2001. Its price tag of US $ 5,000.00 is a serious deterrent to its sale, considering that an excellent bicycle can be bought for less than about US $300! So, what's the big deal with the Segway? You don't have to do much to move around! It's motorized. Because it is considered a motorized vehicle, the law can get complicated fast. This Public Safety Officer is riding this Segway around this college campus and he is posing for my photo. Some laws in the US say it is considered as a pedestrian, and can enjoy privileges afforded pedestrians, but it is not so in many cities, where more strict regulations of its use are required, including stiff fines when laws are violated.

So, how do you operate one, you ask? Lean forward to move the Segway forward. Lean backward to travel backwards on the Segway. Turn the steering grip to the right or left to turn the Segway while travelling. Shift weight to the center to stop. Step off the Segway one foot at a time and power off when finish ride.

Easy said than done. I'll stay out of his way!

You can get fat using this device. I like the bike much better. You can go and stop much faster, and you can burn tons of calories while bicycling.

Exercise, Not

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy New Year

In case you do not know, this is the first day of the lunar New Year of the Ox. So, this rose is for you. I spotted this beauty this morning, all alone in a corner of the garden. Happy New Year!

Rose for You

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cold Grass

In case you have not seen this up close, this is what our grass looks like today. Not too thrilled! It does look quite sad because of the two cold nights, but do not worry, it will recover in no time and will force me to spend tons of money to have it trimmed oh so often! When the rain comes in April, May, it will again look like this. All the debris comes from my oak trees, dead leaves, dead branches etc...

Winter Grass

Friday, January 23, 2009

Western Perspective

This is Miami's Dadeland Village seen from a Western perspective, from the Baptist hospital on Kendall Drive. The blue glass building second on the left is the Town CenterOne new office building. What will this look like 10 years from now? Will all the empty slots be filled in with new high rises? There is still quite a bit of vegetation in the foreground from this vantage. Will it be gone?

Dadeland Village

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cold Blue Sky and White Clouds

It was COLD the last two days, but today has vastly improved. Hopefully the quick and potent but short cold spell did not damage our fruit groves, and more importantly, the fruit trees in bloom in our backyards. Whenever it's cold here, the sky always is gorgeous like it is today. The cloud pattern is suggestive of our mighty hurricanes, but it's a long way until June. Tog may be able to tell where this photo is taken if he looks at the street lamp. You can see the effect of two nights of very cold temperature (in the low 40's degree Fahrenheit, and that's COLD for us) from the look of the palm tree on the left and the large tree on the right. Not very happy campers, I'd say!

Blue and Cold

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Superb Superbum

This orchid has begun to open. Since this is such an exciting plant, I want to elaborate a bit more... just for the fun of it. This beautiful and rare orchid species is native from the Seychelles, Comoros, E. Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands. Beside the common names of "The Magnificent Angraecum" and "The Ivory-Colored Angraecum," this species has many other names the most famous of which is " Star of Bethlehem Orchid."

A different but very famous orchid of this species was discovered in East Madagascar by French botanist Aubert Du Petit-Thouars (1758-1831:) The Angraecum sesquipedale. The Angraecum generic name is derived from the Malaysian "Anggrek", which in the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago is used as a general term for epiphytes featuring thick roots. The English vernacular names "Comet Orchid," "Christmas Star" or "The Star of Bethlehem Orchid" also allude to the star-shaped flowers and the long spur. The French commonly name it: "l'Étoile de Madagascar."

This photo shows one bloom of my Angraecum eburneum subsp. superbum, which is its official scientific name. This illustrates the reason it has acquired the "Star of Bethlehem Orchid" name. You can learn about Angraecum orchids here, and a beautiful specimen of this superbum is found here .

Eberneum superbum

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

USA's historical day

Technically, this is NOT a Miami Every Day Photo, because the event happens in Washington, D.C. Justifiably, it can be used because the photo is taken right here in Miami. This is the TV screen showing the live telecast of the inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th US President. It is a day long event today. This is a very big historical event because Obama is the first ever elected black president of the US. After the oath administering ceremony and lunch at the US Capitol, the new US president and his wife, Michelle Obama, the new US First Lady travelled the 1.7 mile to their new home, the White House. Traditionally, the new President takes a walk outside his protective limo to let the crowd see him up close. The Secret Service truly hates this moment as it represents a grave danger to the new President. This is about 4:30PM Miami time when they stepped out to be exposed. His limo is seen not far away at the top of the photo. The new presidential limo is essentially a rolling tank with windows: Secret Service agents dubbed it "the Beast." At the bottom is the Google map of their route. They are on Pennsylvania Avenue, about half way to the White House. The three BIG guys nearby who look like characters from the movie Matrix are obviously protective agents. You don't want to mess with them!

A New Era

Monday, January 19, 2009

Caramba Carambola

Caramba! This carambola tree is loaded at this time. The star fruits (or "Khe" in Vietnamese) of this tree are very sweet. I think they make better salad if they are a bit more tart. These fruits are selling very expensively at the local Publix supermarkets, if you can find them. Here, they just fall and decay on the grass.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Red Puff

The Red Powderpuff plant, Calliandra haematocephala, is a great looking bold bloomer. These "puff" blooms show off all spring, summer, into the fall until now... in fact all year round... on this carefree shrub.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Marked Up

These colorful imported planting pots command hefty prices. I think they come from Mexico and perhaps other countries of South America. At these prices, they tend to stay on the shelves a long time. Who do they think we are? Millionaires?


Friday, January 16, 2009

Batting Cage

Baseball is a serious sport in the US. I never understood this game and never will. It's just too complicated for me although friends have tried hard to educate me over the years. I like rugby better. This is a baseball batting cage. All I know is players train in here hit a hard ball with a hard stick. I guess the guy hitting the ball tries hard to hit the guy throwing the ball, so they do not have real humans but an automatic "pitching" device to throw the ball for training purpose. Of course, I am kidding... in the real game, there is no pitching device, and there is a real guy throwing the real hard ball. The guy throwing the ball must be tired of living... You won't catch me playing or watching this game. Another sport I do not understand is golf. I'll blog that one of these days.

Baseball Cage

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New House on the Block

Six months have elapsed and the old house is replaced by a new one though not quite finished. This is no mansion, but it is a lot bigger than the one it is replacing.

Newer and Bigger

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Twisting and Turning

Here is my faithful Angraecum superbum. Unless I move this plant, it always blooms in January - February with fragrant blooms to last several months. This plant does not need any care, but it does not want to be disturbed. Twice I had to move it, and each time it refused to bloom for several years, just to express its displeasure. I am always fascinated to watch each flower taking turn to twist and turn so that the long spur is oriented vertically before they open one by one. At the tip of each spur is the fragrant nectar made for the "Predicta" moth that is equipped with a long prosbiscus destined to pollinate this orchid. I do not think these moths live here in Miami, so these flowers have been waiting all these years, in vain. They are so patient, but I doubt they will ever be visited by this moth. This orchid is over forty year old.

Angraecum superbum

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Squirrel Is No Chameleon

This is my pet squirrel (I think it is, but not sure) playing hide and seek with his/her mate. These squirrels sure have a great life. They play all day, and eat. Free food is plentiful around so there is no real urgent need to look for a job. This one is hiding and is flat on this oak tree's branch way up high. It is in this position for a very long time, and it may be taking a nap that I would not be too surprised. Squirrel sure is no chameleon because I still see it easily, perked ears and all.

Hide and Seek

Monday, January 12, 2009


The Pomeranian (often known as a Pom) is a breed of dog of the Spitz type, named for the Pomerania region in Central Europe (which today is part of modern eastern Germany and northern Poland) and classed as a toy dog breed because of its small size. As determined by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale the Pomeranian is part of the German Spitz breed, and in many countries, they are known as the Zwergspitz (`Dwarf` Spitz), or Toy German Spitz.

Historically, the Pomeranian has been fancied by many famous Europeans. Michelangelo had a little Pom that sat on a silk pillow and watched him while he painted the Sistine Chapel. Martin Luther, the great church leader had one of these little dogs that he mentioned often in his work. Mozart had a Pomeranian that he dedicated an Aria to and Chopin composed the "Valse des Petits Chiens" for his girlfriend's Pom. Mozart is my favorite genius so I need to find his Pom aria and perhaps blog it here one day. I asked the owner of this Pom and I have his permission to show the Pom's face here.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tiny Surf and Turf

Went to a dinner tonight and this is what I had: Very good Mini Surf and Turf. After the dinner, I was still hungry. Good for my diet! But not for my pocket book!

Small Portion

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Low Maintenance

In Miami, at least until recently, the overwhelming majority of buildings has low profile. Older buildings are at most a few stories high. The maintenence of these buildings is quite easy as it is done here. For the new modern high rise being built nowadays, the job won't be so trivial.


Friday, January 9, 2009


Twice, in 2007 and 2008, I have told you about my absolute favorite Zill mango. 'Zill' is a Haden seedling propagated in Lake Worth , Florida in 1940. The fruits, smaller than Hadens, are born in clusters and have a tendancy to ripen all at the same ime. The flesh is firm, juicy, and has a very pleasant aroma. The flavor is sweet having just a hint of pineapple. The fruits ripen from June to early July. Here it is "in heat." I'll show you this tree with hanging mangoes in May - June of this year, unless the squirrels and birds get them all (or my neighbors) before I can have a chance to get a nice photo.

Haden seedling

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Goliath of Healthcare

This is Miami's Baptist Health's hospital on Kendall Drive. Baptist Health is a mammoth conglomerate that provides excellent health care here and for many other locations. Every time I look, there is a new building being added. The growth does not seem to slow down even in this tough economy.

Baptist Hospital

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Green Papaya

It's hard to ignore the papaya if you live in Miami. They are everywhere, all year round! Here in May, June and now in January. If you are curious to learn how these green papayas can be magically turned into delicious salad, check out this clip, and this one too.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Storks in Flight

This little plant is flowering this time. I could not yet find its name as of today so it has to remain nameless for now. The small "cotton" white delicate flowers are about 1 inch long and the "wing" span is about 3/4 of an inch. They look just like flying storks.


Monday, January 5, 2009


C. Percivaliana "Summit" FCC-AOS is a Cattleya orchid species. It exists in several variants and this is an award winning one named "Summit." This plant came from tog's yard. There are other variants such as Jewell, Primanera, Graue... There is one of the alba form as well, the Alba Grandiflora. But this one won the highest award given an orchid: FCC-AOS means First Class Certificate from the American Orchid Society. Next in line are AM (Award of Merit) and HCC (Highly Commended Certificate.) That is similar to grades given in school: A, B and C. There is no "F" grade for orchid that I know of. This plant is on its "automatic" mode in my yard for years with absolutely no attention whatsoever paid to it, except a watering once in a blue moon, like today, but it blooms like this every year without fail.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

All You Can Add

Back to testing the burgers at Betty's Best again, just to make sure... The decoration of this place has not changed a bit since the old days of Fuddrucker. The self service condiment is still there for all the catchup, cheese, mayo and sauerkraut you can eat. Sauerkraut and mushroom on the burger are so yummy! Of course, on the other side and not seen in this photo, you find the tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles and more...


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Defying Gravity

My friend the squirrel, in a very playful mode, is showing off that he (or she? Who knows?) has no concern for gravity. These fellows move around so fast in the trees it's hard to follow them by eye. A squirrel is one of the many small or medium-sized rodents in the family Sciuridae, referring to the family's genera Sciurus and Tamiasciurus, which are tree squirrels with large bushy tails, indigenous to Asia, the Americas and Europe. These live in the trees in my yard. Similar genera are found in Africa. The Sciuridae family also include flying squirrels, as well as ground squirrels such as the chipmunks, prairie dogs, and woodchucks.

My Friend

Friday, January 2, 2009


Many of my Longana euphoria trees are "with child" starting about now. This has been eagerly anticipated after three long unproductive years! I have tried to learn the fruiting pattern of these longan trees, and have concluded that in this sub-tropical climate, it is critically dependent on the cold fronts sweeping through Miami in November and December. This time, they were just right. The result is spectacular: each and every branch of all the trees are loaded with new growth, the spherical looking germination among the new leaves will become the longan fruits. These fruits are named euphoria for good cause. Wait until you eat a large load of them to feel the effect. The fruits are ready during June - July of this year.

The Beginning

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Begin 2009 with a Bang

Instead of laboring to decide which is my best photo of last year, I have a better idea. This is the first of the New Year 2009. Each year, on January 1st, I go to this "Moose Milk" party. Of course, "Moose Milk" is served as the main feature. Ask me what that is. After only a few glasses of this "Moose Milk", the person handling the camera pushed the video recording instead of snap shot button so this turned out to be a low resolution photo. But I like it.

Moose Milk