Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cartier, Gucci

Optometrist in Dadeland Mall. Of course, all the glamor girls are here to lend credence to their merchandise. Well, not in person, but in spirit.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Inventive Incentives

The economy is so bad these days! How bad is it? Miami is flooded with vacant office buildings. The landlords are desperate and they are slashing prices in hope to get some renters. Offers vary from free rentals for a few months, to reduced rental rates, to shorter and easier lease terms. Many are resorting to inventive gimmicks such as free truck rental for moving as can be seen here. If this lasts, which it may, the owners of these income properties may go bankrupt or face foreclosure just like everyone else. Welcome to the club!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Under the Miami Sun

These showy sunflowers may have attracted a curious and interested buyer. The vendor certainly hopes so.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cut Flowers

Street vendors are usually found selling various wares at Maimi's more busy street intersections. These people work for hourly wages. It's a tough job mingling among traffic under the hot sun (or thunder storms.) I am not sure if a license is required, but I am sure sale tax is not collected. This is a snapshot of a young man selling flowers seen from my rear view mirror.

Friday, June 26, 2009

In Your Face

This sign is on the side of a huge delivery truck beloging to a long time Miami grocery store: The Winn Dixie "Quick Check." That explains their logo with the letters "W" and "D" with the yellow "check" mark. Winn Dixie claims to be the place for beef and their slogan on the truck is "USDA choice - Winn Dixie certified - Prestige Beef." One thing is sure: this truck is huge and their logo is really "ïn your face" when you are near it. Price of beef in Miami is also as huge as this truck so it's good for cholesterol control.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


The sign of the time in America is seen all over Miami in two words: Bankruptcy and Foreclosure! All the attorneys are coming out in force. They blanket the town with advertisements: on benches like this, on bus, on TV, radio, newspapers ... With the economy shedding jobs everywhere at an alarming rate, essential bills cannot be paid. How does one pay attorney fees then? Another mystery!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nameless in Miami

Perhaps Tog can tell us what this flowering tree is. It is in the Cloisters in Coconut Grove.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Miami Highway

The Palmetto Expressway in Miami at mid afternoon looks like a scene from "The Fast and the Furious" hot cars movie. This is close to the Miami International airport, going south and a big thunderstorm is coming our way. Another one?

Monday, June 22, 2009


This year, these longan trees are truly loaded. There are fruits all around the three trees that are crowded together in this view and the birds start to line up early mornings atop and begin to pick on the fruits although they won't really be ready for another 2 weeks. Shoo! Please wait a little while longer... The fruits will be much sweeter and better. In commercial groves, these fruits would be bagged for protection from unwelcome birds, bats and marauders... and human too, I am sure.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Aglaia Odorata

On this first day of summer, Miami is HOT, HUMID and full of mosquitoes! I can't stay outdoor because I do not like to spray myself with the awful chemical that is supposed to repel the mosquitoes. But this bush (no, it's now a legitimate "tree") is thriving. It is pushing out in all directions and flowers profusely at the tip of every branch right now. This is the first time ever that it is doing so spectacularly. Read more about it here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Man At Work

In this merciless economy where people are losing jobs left and right and in the middle too... it's nice to still have a job. This lone man is working this Saturday marking the street for the big machines to come dig up the asphalt to lay the water pipes beginning Monday. Watch out... Here come the dust and noise in this area.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Please Don't Eat Me!

The flowers of the "Golden Shower" tree, up close! This is the national flower of Thailand and is used in its Royal Flora Ratchaphruek flower festival, named after the tree. In Ayurvedic medicine, Golden Shower tree is known as aragvadha ("disease killer"). Its fruit pulp is used as mild laxative, against fevers, arthritis, vatavyadhi (nervous system diseases), all kinds of rakta-pitta (bleeding, such as hematemesis or hemorrhages), as well as cardiac conditions and stomach problems such as acid reflux. The root is considered a very strong purgative, and self-medication or any use without medical supervision is strongly advised against in Ayurvedic texts. I think the statement above (obviously not from me and plagiarized from elsewhere) is a shameless self plug for some Ayurvedic practitioners, don't you think? Please do not eat any part of this tree and blame me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Are We There Yet?

It took a while, but this new house on the block is almost done. I am venturing a wild guess: over budget and behind schedule. That is the norm in constructions around Miami. But this house is coming along nicely. Today, the landscaping has begun. The rental drill is used to plant the coconut trees in front of the house and the workers are leaving the scene as it is getting late...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


It's difficult to resist the temptation showing this tree during the peak of its flowering days so here it is again. This time, it's yellow everywhere as you can see this scene with the nice Ford Mustang convertible parked under the Cassia fistula tree's shade. My favorite color, indeed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Your Ca$h Not Good!

In Miami, I-95 North has this interesting 95 Express lane. Once you get in it, you can't get out without going through an electronic toll gate that DOES NOT take your cash. If you razzle dazzle through without having a way to pay, the automatic violation enforcement system will catch you and you are stuck with a toll violation with fine. This express lane is a single lane only and I will be interested to be a witness when a car is disabled in the middle of it. All traffic will be blocked! Now, that's ingenious design! If you are puzzled, know that drivers need to buy a SunPass sticker and place it on the dashboard so it can be detected. Our world is really going high tech, don't you think? Our devices are watching YOU!

Monday, June 15, 2009

AA Arena

Here is an Easterly view of Miami downtown centered on the circular building that is the American Airlines arena, home of the National Basketball Association Miami Heat basketball team. You can't see them well, but right behind the arena are two Miami landmarks: the Miami Freedom Tower, built in 1925 that serves as a memorial to Cuban immigration to the US; and the Miami Dade county court house, built in 1925-1928. With a bit of imagination, you can see the tips of these two buildings over the top of the arena. The court house is on the left.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wet and Humid

It is, yet, another wet and humid afternoon in Miami. But we are still under a water restriction of use order here. We need the water level of lake Okeechobee way up North in the state of Florida to get a few more inches higher to be safe from drought. Thankfully, the plants here do not really need more watering at this time. Then why do we need to have a water conservation order? That's another mystery to me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bay Harbor Islands

This toll gate (US $1.00 each way) on Miami's NE 123 street (SR 922) leads to Bay Harbor Islands. The street then dead ends on Miami Beach's famed Collins Avenue along the sandy beaches. To the immediate north of here is where you find the Bal Harbour Shops, an upscale open-air shopping mall located in Bal Harbor, which is considered to be the most exclusive shopping destination in the Southern United States. The mall is still one of the few remaining family-owned malls in the nation and boasts one of the most exclusive luxury collections in the United States. Come to think, I am amazed that the toll is only one dollar. It should really be more to match with the luxury beyond. Am I complaining? No!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Smarte Carte

If you have seen the movie The Terminal with Tom Hanks, you probably may have noticed these luggage carts. . Hanks' character Viktor uses the change left in Smarte Carte machines to purchase food when he was stuck at the airport. This is seen at the Miami International Airport when a worker is returning the carts to their distribution locations at various terminals ready for rental.

Smarte Carte, Inc. is an American based corporation that provides passenger services such as self-serve luggage carts, electronic lockers, commercial strollers, massage chairs, and more... Emerging from bankruptcy in 2006, they were purchased for $370 million by Macquarie Bank of Australia.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


This could be a mini oil pipeline in the making... but it is not for oil. This is a new city water service that is being provided for this unincorporated area of South Miami Dade county, replacing its old fashioned well water and pump. In the very near future, work will begin to bury these pipes underground. It will be noisy, dusty for quite some time. All the household in this neighborhood will become new customers of the city water service to get chlorinated water with suspended mineral particles and their water will be charged by the gallon. It is theorized that the city water is better than the well water. I am not quite convinced that is the case.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Watson Island

Parrot Jungle used to be in South Miami but it has been moved to become the current Jungle Island off I-395 here. Miami downtown is seen nicely from this perspective. The new Miami Children's Museum is also found here, which becomes part of a nice tourist attraction to include the very nice Japanese Garden "Ichimura," the Island Gardens, the Aviation Center, a few very old Miami clubs dated back to the 40s and a public boat ramp.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Full Sun

If this blooms, it must be hurricane season in Miami. There is no doubt about that. This vine is doing substantially better when it was moved to a full sun position. It is so happy now and it shows appreciation by putting out a lot more vigorous growth and blooms. It's the "Telosma cordata" vine.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Cloisters

I found a way to get inside this plush gated villas called "The Cloisters" and look around. Here is a peak at a typical home as seen from the Clubhouse. I think I would say this is some kind of neo-Mediterranean with a tint of Roman style architecture. To get to the clubhouse, you got to climb some steep stair steps... and there is no elevator. I guess they didn't have them in the time of the Romans and this is supposed to be a realistic reproduction. Imagine you have some challenges in mobility...The small swimming pool does remind me of the ancient roman baths. Even if I could afford it, I don't think I'll live here but if you do, you'll be a stone throw from the heart of Coconut Grove, which is very nice indeed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Brunch

I was at the CheeseCake Factory at the Dadeland Mall today and was quite surprised to see a big crowd of consumers. What depression? What bad economy? The Sunday brunch here was not one of the best for my taste... but you can't win them all. I have had better omelette elsewhere. Don't let the beautiful blue sky fool you. This is about noon and we had another big thunder storm later today at 5pm. Of course!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stormy Weather

This sounds like a broken record: afternoon thunder storms... Again! Here is a look at a small strip mall on Sunset Drive near 97th Avenue in SW Miami. The Thai restaurant used to be the excellent Thai Orchids. Ownership has changed a few times and I have not visited it since. The former owners have now moved on to the orchid business.

I think all the water from the sky has done something to the network and most if not all of my blogs cannot show the photos, video or music! Hopefully that will be resolved soon, else this blog will be renamed to Miami NOT Every Day Photo.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Storm Over Two Trees

Off the Dolphin Expressway (836) just South of the Miami International Airport is this Doubletree hotel now owned by Hilton (of the Paris Hilton fame.) It is said that they have "Sweet Dreams" rooms equipped with jumbo hypo-allergenic down pillows to pamper you to the max. That's what their ads say but I have read some pretty low marks in reviews. Stay at your own peril. In case you wonder, the threatening sky is a habit around Miami these days. Today had a mighty big afternoon thunder storm and it rained very hard so driving around was BAD!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

White Cat

This morning I was trying to pick up some Okrong mangoes on the ground and saw that this orchid is in bloom. I only had the time to take a hurry shot and ran for cover because the lady mosquitoes were taking me for their breakfast. That was really bad! That's what the rain does to Miami: Miserable, wet, humid, blooms everywhere and mosquitoes like there is no tomorrow. How do the mosquitoes start their cycles? Who laid their eggs the first time ever? How do the girl skeeters converge to a warm human body so quickly? A mystery to me, but this white Cat is beautiful, don't you think? It grows here as close to being in a jungle as can be: no one is paying any attention to it, except when it blooms like today.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Heart Bleeds

Bleeding Heart vine (Clerodendrum thomsoniae,) belongs to the family Verbenaceae. It is also known as the glory bower which is an attractive bushy, tropical looking twining vine. There are over 400 species of Bleeding Hearts, including climbers, shrubs, herbaceous plants and trees. Bleeding Heart Vine flowers are mostly from warm climates and are summer flowers. These vine bloom profusely with rich crimson corollas peeking from white, balloon-like calyxes. Here is one that grows on its own in my yard.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I could have told you that this photo is taken from a tree in my backyard, and you would have believed me. But that is not the case at all. This is a photo of a wall calendar from a Miami fruit distributor that I visit quite often to buy fresh fruit. They do sell this fruit here, but it is so expensive... and they are not picked with their branches intact so the fruits tend to rot rather quickly and may be full of bugs The rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum,) is a tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae, and that is also the name of the fruit the size of a hen's small egg of this tree. It is native to Indonesia and Southeast Asia. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the Lychee, Longan, and Mamoncillo. It is believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago. Rambutan in Indonesian, Filipino and Malay literally means hairy, undoubtedly due to the 'hair' that covers this fruit. In Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, it is known as mamón chino. I used to love this fruit as a kid, but not anymore. The last time I bought a kilogram of this, I only ate 2 fruits. They are kind of bland without much flavor.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Feet, Anyone?

Chicken feet are exactly what they sound like: the feet of chicken. When detached from the chicken, chicken feet are considered a culinary delicacy in some regions of the world, most notably in China and South Africa. Chicken feet have also played a role in the cuisines of Eastern Europe and the American South, where people often come up with creative ways to use offal, ensuring that every part of the animal is utilized to its fullest potential. Chicken feet are but a series of small bones, tendons and skin. They do not have very much muscle, and they are also extremely high in collagen, so they tend to cook down into a gelatinous mass, with the tendons and skin adding a chewy texture. The high collagen, incidentally, makes chicken feet great for skin, hair, and nails, if consumed in large quantities.

Most recipes for chicken feet involve slowly stewing them to extract their flavor and to tenderize them. Consumers eat the feet whole, discarding the small bones along the way; learning to eat chicken feet can take some time, as it is difficult to eat them without accidentally swallowing the bones. Spitting out bones in a dainty fashion is also difficult to do, especially if you crack them in your teeth to extract the marrow first. Eeewwhhhh! Disgusting discussion so far... Bear with me...

In China, chicken feet are commonly on the menu at many dim sum restaurants as “phoenix talons,” and the menu may also include duck feet, web and all, of course. Chicken feet are also sold as street food, often deep fried in other parts of Asia. Many old-fashioned cooks swear by chicken feet as an ingredient in soup stock, arguing that the chicken feet increase the gelatin content, and make the stock richer and more flavorful. Obtaining chicken feet can be a challenge, depending on where you live. Here in my favorite Publix supermarket, they are available. Oh so yucky and they gross me out, totally! Definitely not my kind of food.