Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just Flora

Testing a new cheap digital camera: FujiFilm FinePix J150W, resampled from the 10 MegaPixel image... It isn't so bad for the last day of February... Where does the time go?

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Burghers of Calais

This papier mache replica of Auguste Rodin's famous monument in 1884 is seen inside the Art Theater of Miami Dade College Kendall campus. It shows the six men facing their impending death. The six "Burghers of Calais" offered their own lives to prevent the slaughter of the people of Calais in 1347 by England's Edward the Third.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Too Tall

WLTV is a Univision owned and operated television station serving Spanish-speaking viewers in South Florida, channel 23, also known as Univision 23. The station is located in Doral, where Univision's production facilities are also located. The transmitter is located in Miami Gardens. This morning, I was behind this mobile broadcasting system for a while, be on the ready to brake or swerve to avoid the falling satellite transponder. You see, I think this truck is too tall, and the antenna barely clears the tree canopies or comes mighty close to hitting some traffic lights. If the operator EVER forgets to stow the antenna before driving this truck off, that will be a catastrophe in the making. I know! It happened to me once before, with a $30K VSAT dish that hit a tree branch! Ouch! This dish is a cheaper version, but it still is an expensive piece of equipment.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Strange Flower

This plant bears quite strange flowers. Its name is Freycinetia multiflora (thanks, Tog) and it is one of 65 species of dioecious, climbing or scrambling shrubs of the family Pandanaceae. This scrambling Pandanus is native from the Philippines and it does very well in Miami. The damage seen on its leaves is from the recent cold nights. It'll live.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Veitchia arecina

Miami has palm trees everywhere. These two photos give you a close up look at one species: the Veitchia arecina. This palm is very easy to grow from seed and some plants can reach 100 feet. Its common name is Montgomery palm or Sunshine palm. It is also known as Veitchia montgomeryana. The first photo shows its inflorescent flowers in white filaments.

The next photo shows its fruits, yellowish green turning orange then red when mature. This is not on the same tree as above, but on a neighboring tree.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Italian Sun

This is a very nice Italian restaurant on Sunset Drive in the heart of South Miami, near the Sunset Place. Many excellent eatery places are clustered in this neighborhood and you can go broke very fast if you want to sample them all. Trattoria Sole is one half of two. The other one is its sister, Trattoria Luna, a bit further South on US-1. Luna is truly my favorite, and the service there is great.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Miami Art

Red Road's traffic leading to the South Miami Art Festival this weekend. On the right is the Sunset Place. Sunset Drive is at the next intersection where the street is barricaded and the art displays start. The blue sky is washed out because the photo is taken "contre soleil." The next shot shows you the real Miami sky of today.

Here is a typical display space for each artist exhibitioner. The cross street is Red Road (SW 57th Avenue.) I know how much work putting up the booths entails, and it's not free so hopefully for the artists, they can make some money to at least stay afloat in this grueling economy.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rotary Art Festival

I am quite confused with all that is going on in Miami. The pace is frantic! There was just last week an art festival in Coconut Grove and now, there is another one in South Miami, my neck of the woods. Usually, South Miami holds its art festival in November... but I understand today's is the Rotary Club of South Miami's fund raising effort. Proceeds from the show go to Rotary scholarships as well as international and local community service projects. I went there to take a few photos. This boy seems to be curious about the paintings that look to me as some nice scenes from the Florida Keys. There was quite a large crowd and the traffic was pretty bad.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ochna mysterii

I have this Ochna for many years. This is the one I love the most. This plant is very small and is extremely slow growing. Its beautiful but ephemeral flowers are smaller than the other Ochna species, of sizes only between half to 7/8th of an inch. The most unique feature of this species is that the flowers are pendant facing downward, similar in habit to that of the deliciously strongly fragrant Wrightia religiosa which have even smaller and more delicate white flowers. I really want to know this plant's real name. Meanwhile, I call it my Ochna mysterii. Nobody knows yet the answer to the mystery I face... Such a big world, so many names and only one fits!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

6258 Red Road

The University of Miami is a member of University Credit Union which was established in 1947 as the University of Miami Credit Union to serve UM's faculty, staff and alumni. The name was changed in 1982 and its service was expanded to include other regional universities. This is one of its many locations: 6250 Red Road, in South Miami. Why do I bother to tell you this? This exact location was my former address: 6258 Red Road. This used to be a small set of apartments and many of us students paid rent to live exactly here! The university is just across the street. I have many fond memories of this spot. I had a 1963 Mustang fast back (similar to the one driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt, and mine was burgundy red) that was stolen right off the street, when it was parked where you see the American flag. The police found my car's body 4 days later in Coconut Grove on cinder blocks. Everything else was stripped away. Later, I parked my second muscle car, a 1969 Pontiac GTO "The Judge" at the same spot, and some mean person shot a bibi gun through its windshield! The apartments were sold and this building replaced my former address. On the other side of the wall behind this building was an avocado tree that gave us 8" giant fruits for many years. That tree may still be there. To the left, on the South side of Red Road is a huge property that is still there, with all its fruit trees that we came to steal the fruits every summer: mango, lychee, tamarin... That was the good old time when there were no worries in the world! Yes, they stole Mustangs, which are notoriously hot, even today! I should have bought a Pinto, but that old wonderful and muscular Mustang was a good deal for only $680! What do you want? I was a penniless student! Still penniless, but no longer student now!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Noise Reflector

The Snapper Creek Expressway (Florida State Road 878) is a 2.65-mile-long spur from the Florida State Road 874 (SR 874) to US-1, serving South Miami and Kendall, Florida. It is signed east-west as a toll road but unlike the other highways maintained by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, the Snapper Creek Expressway has no tolls on it. Good for me because I use it very often. No major improvements have been made to this freeway since it was completed in 1980 but now it is getting a new long high wall being built at this moment, probably to shield the neighboring residence from highway noise. Noise, yes, but pollution? I doubt it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Miami, State of Florida

A typical mat set you can find in a number of local casual restaurants, depicting some of the good things in life you can enjoy in the State of Florida, and of course, in Miami.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Money Sink

There are so many boats in Miami that the boat storage facilities must be making lots of money. If you own a boat here, it is considered a money sink, just like a swimming pool in your backyard, or a salt water tank in your living room. Money flowing out one way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I came to this familiar place for lunch, a bit disappointed with my now former favorite "Bayside Hut." It now has a newer look, fully air-conditioned (too cold) and its new service is by all uniformed men! What happened to the casual lazy Sunday afternoon atmosphere? I miss the always smiling casual female servers... and especially the older prices. I got a sticker shock looking at the prices in the new menu! A lost paradise!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cute Jaguar

I like this very cute "Jaguar" overlooking the always busy traffic on US-1 here at the intersection with SW 27th Avenue. As you can see on the billboard, there is an annual 3-day Arts Festival beginning today in Coconut Grove. The traffic jam is fairly bad and I am relieved it is now behind my car. The ad calls attention to a "ceviche spoon bar and latam grill." Grill I know but what's a ceviche spoon bar and latam? Interesting.... Got to take a look, but after the festival... I avoid going to the Grove during any festival there because of the bad traffic and parking situation. The dark blue streak you see is not in the Miami sky, but from my car's window. What's that??? Didn't know it's there!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Deep Thought

Here is a student lost in deep scholarly work on a hot and sunny day outdoor. Homework, anyone?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Baroque Luncheon

I was at a luncheon today when we were treated with a surprise performance by the Miami Bach Society. I wish I knew the names of the pieces they played, but it was quite good Baroque period music. That went very well with the food that tasted quite Baroque to me as well. You can't win them all!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No Mickey Mouse

This is a bloom (only one?) from my Ochna integerrima. It blooms in February as usual, but it misses the new lunar year by more than a couple of weeks. We can't blame the plants because they do not know about calendars, but only season. There is a widespread misconception about the Ochna species as they are erroneously all called "Mickey Mouse" plants. The integerrima as shown here DOES NOT turn red and make black seeds that make them look like the ears of Mickey Mouse. Ochna serrulata and kirkii do that! Also, it is sometime reported that Ochna blooms are fragrant. Nothing is further to the truth than this. None of the Ochna flowers are fragrant. But they are quite beautiful to look at.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

For The Birds

Hopefully you can see the blooms on this longan tree. The flowers are on each branch and they are way up high. It will be almost impossible to reach these fruits in June - July so they are for the birds. I am not sure the squirrels can get to them. This tree came from seeds fallen on the ground several years ago and I now have several trees like this crowding together. They are not considered "cultivated" meaning grafted so the quality of their fruits can be quite variable, but the birds love them all the same. Especially the black crows, they know when the fruits are ready.

Longan Blooms

Monday, February 9, 2009

Illegal Prolongation

This is a shot of the 24 theater AMC movie complex at the Sunset Place. Let me tell you a well known secret here: Although it's very illegal, many people buy one ticket and overstay their visit to see more than one movie! Can you imagine that? The high rise on the right is a residential complex of upscale condominiums and apartments. I can't imagine who would buy these to have their expensive homes intermingled with an outdoor mall full of screaming teenagers during the weekends. Not me!


Sunday, February 8, 2009


To the left of this nice courtyard type in Sunset Place, you will find the two lizard fellows featured in my blog of yesterday . This area was recently renovated and is now a nice resting place for tired visitors of this mall. Immediately to the right WAS the former Cheeseburger In Paradise that closed shop. One of the real estate listing reads: 6,491 SF. Great opportunity to be at The Shops at Sunset Place. Former "Cheeseburger in Paradise" restaurant with a freestanding bar located at one of the entrances to the mall." This economy is truly merciless!

Newly Remodeled

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Don't Touch My Egg

Among the many egg laying (or oviparous, as opposed to viviparous or live-bearing animals) animals, only birds are stricly oviparous. The lizards, which belong to the family of reptile, can be both oviparous or viviparous. I am back today to the Sunset place in South Miami to shoot pictures. Lucky me, there is no security guards around to tell me to stop. If you like futuristic creatures, you may like these two fierce looking lizards defending their eggs. I am fearless to venture a guess that these may be artistic depiction of perhaps Gila Monsters, Frilled Lizards, Flying Dragons or Komodo Dragons. Do you think that these two may be strictly vegetarian Galapagos Land Iguanas?

Vegetarian Oviparians

Friday, February 6, 2009

Smoking Hot Green Peppers

These are migrant workers. Today they are working on the tiny but ultra hot green peppers (Capsicum annuum) that may rate above 75,000 Scoville Units. That's hot stuff!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Look of Love

On a cold day like today, I have the choice between a downed traffic light with cops directing traffic, or my BEAUTIFUL Angraecum. It's a "no brainer!" So, "The Look of Love" it is, to echo a neighboring blog. The song accompanying this photo is performed by Dusty Springfield, one of my favorite singers. This rendition lasts 3:42 minutes, ending with a saxophone with a soulful finishing touch. This is track 15 of "Cafe Del Mar Volume Six" CD, Record Label: MCA Records, Originally Released 21 Aug 2001. Click on the "Play" button to start playing.

Dusty Springfield

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Miami Zenith

This is what the sky looks at 11:45AM today. My camera was pointed directly to the zenith. The entire sky has this deep blue without anything in it but crisp air. There were just a few puffs of small clouds closer to the horizon. You know it's going to be cold tonight! Get the homeless, the plants and the cats inside!

Deep Space Blue

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Warm Coconuts

We are awaiting a cold front that is supposed to lower our temperature to the high thirties (degree F) on Thursday night. I took this photo today to keep reminding myself that "we are in the sub-tropic." It's too cold for me in a couple of days. I will be interested to know what that will do to the mangoes and the longans. Can the forecast be wrong? I sure hope so!

It's Warm Here

Monday, February 2, 2009

No Littering

One thing I like about living in Miami, especially in South Miami, is how the city stays clean: Many many trash cans everywhere. It is true that you can always find a trash can nearby. There is no more excuses to litter. It's so simple and even economical. Great idea!

Convenient Trash

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Left, Right, Left, Right...

Duck your head. Do not let the branches hit you when you follow these stepping stones! If you could zoom into the longan tree branches, you would have seen that each one carries a full load of blooms that will pull them to the ground in the summer when the longans will be fully developed.

Under the Branches