Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Little Bird on A Wire

This morning, I saw this little bird perching on the steel wire here. Do birds have friends and family? How long do birds live? What is this bird thinking? Does it know that today is the last day of August and tomorrow is a new month? Does it care? All good questions, don't you think?

Human Billboard

Monday, August 30, 2010


The International House of Pancakes, also known as IHOP, is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods. It is owned by DineEquity, with 99% of the restaurants run by independent franchisees. While IHOP's focus is on breakfast foods such as pancakes, waffles, French toast and omelettes, it also offers a menu of lunch and dinner items.

This chain has almost 1,500 restaurants in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Not to be confused with the International House of Prayer of Kansas City where people's main activities are to fast and to pray. Interestingly, the prayer place has a web site that is ihop.org! For the Pancake people, you guessed it, it's ihop.com! I am tempted to get the domain name iHop.net just to be in tune with all the iPads, iPhones, iThis and iThat! What would an iHop do if not to sell pancakes or to pray? I wonder!

Human Billboard

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Human Billboard?

Miami has plenty of what we call "street hawkers" who work at all major intersections to collect cash for different causes/reasons. I was puzzled to see the back of this man's shirt today and learned that the Homeless Voice organization has these vendors who work full time collecting money for them wear this kind of shirts. The "vendors" may be former homeless or drug addict persons and they are now working for some income. They get to keep 60% of what they collect (about US $40 - 50 a day.) The rest goes to the Homeless Voice organization. They say the money goes to support their homeless shelters. It is a big controversial here because of the ads you see on the back of the shirts of the street hawkers. They carry advertising slogans. This one is obviously for a law outfit seeking business from people hurt in accidents. I don't know about you, but that tactic stops me cold from parting with my cash.

Human Billboard

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mammoth Mango

September is almost here... and the mangoes are getting BIG! Here is a couple, the larger one is 4 and a half pounds. Last year's record was higher and someone had a 5.7 pounds Keitt mango so I can't say we are holding the best record in size for a Keitt. But this is pretty big, don't you think?

Mammtoth Mango

Friday, August 27, 2010

Palmetto Expansion

The construction on the Palmetto expressway around Miller Road exit goes like gang buster and does not seem to slow down. This is another view of the new flyover interchange. This creates a lot of dust and traffic congestion. Miami is going high tech and most if not all toll highways go cashless and demand payment using the SunPass system. Legend says the "Big Brother" takes a photo of your license plate and sends you the bill if it doesn't sense the beep from your windshield. Does this mean I got to get a SunPass sticker for my car? Rats! Really? What if I go through really fast? Nah! Not a good idea!

New Interchange

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Had Enough?

Too much of anything is not any good. This year, a majority of the longans went to waste. There are just too much of it. Hopefully these trees will take it easy for a couple of years to have a break and some good rest. Enough already!

Enough ALready

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Holy Pets

In this small mall off US-1 and SW 67th Avenue you can find my favorite sandwich shop Jo Anna's Marketplace. If you look for other business, you can find a Holistic Animal Clinic. Imagine that... acupuncture and gold bead implants for your beloved pets.... Brrr... I'm glad I'm not a pet. How can a pet say... Please don't stick that in me!

Holy Pets

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Off Brand

Independently owned Tom Thumb convenience stores sometimes operate gasoline pumps. The gasoline prices usually are cheaper than those sold at big name oil companies stations. A not very well known fact is that the gasoline found at various gas stations are usually delivered by the same distribution network... so the gasoline are the same regardless of the name on the pumps. So... you may pay inflated price for your gas if you go to the big name pumps instead of places like this Tom Thumb store.

Tom Thumb

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blvd of the America

Miami is a city of sharp contrast. You can see extreme opulence and the darkest of poverty while moving around, and sometimes you do not have to go too far. Here is a poor section on NW 12th Avenue at the cross street of 20th street, aka the Boulevard of the America. The imposing concrete structure under which a woman setting up her micro business is the Miami metro rail system.

Miami's Poor

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Palms

The Palms at Town & Country is located on a 75 - acre site at 8268 Mills Drive (about SW 122nd Avenue and Kendall Drive) in Kendall which was originally built in 1984. The property was acquired through foreclosure in 1988. That goes to show the retailing business is not for the faint of heart. Somehow, these malls manage to chug along and people keep spending their way into more debt. Got to keep up is the motto, I guess.

More Shopping

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Some went away quietly... Some still remain... like this one... for how long?

Farm Store

Friday, August 20, 2010


This is the huge waiting area of Jackson Memorial Hospital at 1611 NW 12th Avenue; and this is inside their huge Diagnostic Treatment Center (DTC.) I was spying on this man in his hi-tech moment with the iPad on his lap and a cell phone on his left ear. I bet you a dollar that he is using an iPhone 4. Can't make out what the drink he has on his right. Bet you it's an "5-hour energy" drink. Only in America!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wasn't Good Wasn't Bad

I am tired of paying high prices for lunch and dinner at restaurants (and am certainly flat broke, which is the real reason,) so here's my home made lunch today. I'll call it "Lanera" to compare with this. These things taste pretty much the same... like s..t! But you've got to eat something. Instead of the apple, I use longans (off the tree this morning.) I put the huge guava there just to impress you. Didn't have room for that with all this stuffing. Can't believe I ate the whole thing! Wasn't good, wasn't bad, like kd Lang said in one of her song.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


A triathlon is a multi-sport endurance event consisting of swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances. Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed "transitions" between the individual swim, bike, and run components.

Triathlon races vary in distance. The medium in difficulty is called "Olympic distance" (1.5 km swim, 40 km ride, 10 km run,) but the Ultra Distance (3.8 km swim, 180 km ride, and a marathon: 42.2 km run) is a killer. They don't call that Ironman triathlon for nothing.

This store is specialized and sells equipment to the enthusiasts of this sport. I can tell you that once fully equipped for all three events, your wallet will be feather light in weight.

Swim Bike Run

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


This is not my dinner tonight but it belongs to someone else. Quite tempting for me to just walk away with half of it to see the reaction of the owner when she gets back. Will she be mad at me? Hhhmmmm... Better not try.

Simple Dinner

Monday, August 16, 2010

Go Canes!

Gator in Canes country? We eat gator meat here! In case you do not live in the US... college football is big! College football is well known for arch rivalry in the state of Florida. The three biggies are: The University of Miami: the Hurricanes (We're #1!); the University of Florida: the Gators; and Florida State University: the Seminoles. We don't like each other too much. So, technically, it is an invasion to drive around Miami with a "Gators" license plate. Why do I tell you this now? Foot ball season is here! Go Canes!

Sunday Ride

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Thrill Ride

Sunday morning. Could this be a ride of a life time to the church? In any case, the man was eager to impress... somebody... by revving his engine to the max and weaved in and out of traffic with thundering noise at break neck speed. Of course, the lady in Sunday attire was holding on for dear life. Get me to the church on time?

Sunday Ride

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Palmetto Expressway

Construction work continues strong on the Palmetto Expressway near Miller Road. A new fly over/interchange was barely finished as seen in the foreground here is followed immediately by another one rising up in parallel. It is amazing how fast they can build these highways starting from nothing. I am truly impressed.

New Interchange

Friday, August 13, 2010

Panda Food

Panda Express, headquartered in Rosemead, California, is a fast casual restaurant chain serving American Chinese cuisine. It operates mainly inside the United States, in casinos, shopping malls, supermarkets, airports, train stations, strip plazas, theme parks, stadiums, college campuses and The Pentagon. It is the largest chain of Chinese fast food restaurants in the United States and has about 1280 restaurants in 37 states and Puerto Rico. What I like here? Orange Chicken, Beijing Beef, Mandarin Chicken. No MSG, please! Here is one such place, Sunset Drive, close to SW 107th Avenue. I still think Panda is a bad name for a Chinese restaurant because these cute animals only eat raw bamboos! Fancy that on the menu of a restaurant.

Panda Food

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Buttons & Bows

In this blog, you saw Miami's ponies a few times before and you may wonder how these animals are fed here in this modern day city. Have no fear, with money, you can buy ANYTHING in Miami, literally. Yes, even that! But for your horses, you would come here at Sunset Feed & Supply on SW 117th Avenue a few blocks South of Sunset drive. Here, you can find: Equestrian Tack & Apparel, Horse Feed & Supplies, Boots & Hats (to ride them ponies,) Western Apparel & Accessories... and more.

Horse Feed

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Never been in here but surprised to learn that this is a restaurant/bowling alley combo. The food is sushi (yuk!) and pizza and burgers. It is also said that it's not expensive and off limits to under 21 year old after 8PM. It's in the Sunset Place, in face of Dan Marino's steak house. Seen from the outside, I always thought this is a furniture store. How wrong!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Across from the Falls shopping complex in Miami is this small strip mall called the Colonial Palms Plaza that has a martial arts system where you can find real life karate kids. Ki-Ai!

Karate Kid

Monday, August 9, 2010

You're Tented

It's lovely, fine and dandy to live in sub-tropical Miami... until you face THIS! Termites! This house is being tented and by the look of the advertising banner... this is not one of the mainstream termite companies. The event is always traumatic... you rent a motel or invade your relatives... you clean out your house of foodstuff... you move all living things out of your house such as cats, dogs, pets, fish etc... Then the house is tented and fumigated with POISON! Thankfully the event only last a day. Afterward, you have to reverse all the actions and move back in. If you think that you will see millions of dead termites in your living room, you are wrong. There is nothing to see. At least I've done this and I have seen nothing. If I were the termite-in-chief, the minute I detect the gas with my special embedded gears, I'll order evacuation of my entire colony for a couple of days to the neighbors via my special tunnels and return when it's all done. The human won't have a clue! May be that's what happens. Who knows!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mua Ngau

A couple of years ago, in January, I told you about an oriental mythology that has an intimate relationship to the beautiful Aglaia odorata. August is a perfect time to revisit this love story again. In China, Qixi Festival, literally "The Night of Sevens," also known as Magpie Festival, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar. This year, it's not today, but it will be on Wednesday, August 18. It also inspired Tanabata (aka. Shichiseki) in Japan, Chilseok in Korea, and in Vietnam as I told it in 2008. It is sometimes called Chinese Valentine's Day.

In late summer, the stars Altair and Vega are high in the night sky, and the Chinese tell the well traveled love story, of which there are many variations, of the cowherd Niulang (Vietnamese "Nguu Lang") and the fairy Zhinu (Vietnamese "Chuc Nu") . The lovestruck couple was punished by the God and separated by the Milky Way. Mean God! Mean God!

Once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge ("the bridge of magpies", Que Qiao) over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon.

In VietNam, the late summer rain (Vietnamese "Mua Ngau") bring flowers to this Aglaia odorata to celebrate the reunion in the heavens. That is why this tree is so happy to spectacularly display these beautiful and fragrant pin size flowers. It knows!

Mua Ngau

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Zoo Miami is famous for its white tigers. This is the rare albino tigers' temple home. The intricate carving on the structure was done a couple of decades ago by my talented artist friend Banjong. You can see a couple of statues (also by Banjong) of Karura (Sanskrit's Garuda,) a mythical bird-man creature of Hindu lore who was later adopted into the Buddhist pantheon as a protector deity. The gold-colored Karura as it is known in Japan has a human body but the wings, face, and beak of an eagle-like bird. The bird-man statues are seen on the left and in the shade near the tree to the right.

White Tiger Temple

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Telosma

To keep my promise, this baby plant, a Telosma cordata baby vine will find its new home in New York. It will leave Miami on Monday for a trip North. I hope it will like the colder weather up there. It turned out to be quite easy to make new plants from the mother vine I have for many years. May be I should make an army of this vine just for the fun of it? Not a good idea because it still is a lot of work, but it was a good learning experience for me.

Baby Telosma

Thursday, August 5, 2010

U Pick

Are you drooling yet? Here is a close look at one of the longan bunches that are ready for eating. There are so much of it this year, I am planning a pick your own fruit party on Saturday. Me? I'll stay in the shade to watch.

U Pick

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Seed Pods

Do you ever wonder how Miami got so many royal poinciana trees? This is how: the seed pods are aplenty on this tree after flowering comes to an end. That's the norm, and all trees behave the same way according to their selfish genes. These two huge trees are in my backyard and they were seeded by the wind (or birds) that carried the seeds from near by trees. Unless they are removed (who would do that?) these trees grow and grow to maturity to bloom and propagate at perpetuity. That's just perfect as far as I'm concerned.

Selfish Gene

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jack Fruit

July in Miami equals jack fruit season. I have shown you the jack fruit trees from many places in Miami. What you see today is a jack fruit on my own tree. It's pitifully tiny when compared to others. This tree definitely needs some feeding. But life is too short to worry about these details. I'll leave it up to mother nature. By the way, Happy BD to someone I know.

My Jack Fruit

Monday, August 2, 2010

Marriott Dadeland

This is one of the bus belonging to the Miami Dadeland Marriott Airport shuttle service that is available upon request free of charge to and from the Miami international airport. Seen in the background is the Dadeland Towers office building. Just last year, this entire building was mostly empty thanks to the business downturn. Not sure if it has any tenants now.

Shuttle Bus

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Text ZOO to 501501

If you visit Miami, make sure you visit "Zoo Miami." That is the brand new name of the former Miami MetroZoo which just celebrated its 30th birthday in July. On July 2nd, Zoo Miami unveiled to showcase its new, brightly colored, beautiful and hi-tech entrance on SW 124th Avenue and 152nd Street.

This new entrance has on top a new panoramic bright screen to display zoo images and messages dispatched to visitors. This shot captures Zoo Miami's wish list for a $5 birthday gift from the general population via a mobile giving campaign. The message reads "Text ZOO to 501501" to donate $5.00 I just did! This campaign supports wildlife conservation awareness at Zoo Miami. With this money, the Zoo will showcase wildlife and plant life from Florida and the Everglades in a new exhibit in 2013.

But right now, the exhibits in this zoo are "spectacular." You won't believe what you can see and learn here. Only in Miami!

Zoo Miami