Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sailing Around

What can be better than to say goodbye to March sailing around in Biscayne Bay? If you were doing just that, this is a view you would have seen.
Coconut Grove

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't Talk to me About Palms.. Yet...

Here is a return visit to the Montgomery Botanical Center. There are palms and palms everywhere you look. I do not know enough about palms so I can't tell you much... May be... If you come back in say 5 years... I probably will know a lot more.
Don't Know Palms

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No Rides For Me

This year, the Miami Dade County Youth Fair opened a bit later than usual. It is now an annual pilgrim for me to get here to look around. Here is today's Miami sunset over the fair ground. Did I say "to look around" ? Yes, I am not crazy to set foot on any of the rides. Are you kidding me??? No way!
No Rides

Monday, March 28, 2011

Classic Caddy

What do you know... Another classic car in the parking lot of Miami. This is a classic Cadillac de Ville convertible. I can't be sure, but I think this is 1957. Correct me if I'm wrong, please...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

5K Run

I was up real early today, at 6AM to come here helping runners register for their 5K run. The track surrounds the campus of Gulliver prep school on Kendall Drive near SW 67th Avenue. Great track and here are the runners just about passing out at the end of their 5K run. Some run. Those who can't run, walk. Me? I watched.
Watching 5K

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Boat Shuttle

This is a view of Biscayne Bay from the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. You can see sail boats anchored to rental buoys marked by the white spherical floats. A boat shuttle carries the boat owners to/from their boats. To request a ride back to shore, an air horn is blasted and hopefully the shuttle boat captain can hear it. That shuttle boat is seen here unloading its passengers to the left of the photo.
Boat Shuttle

Friday, March 25, 2011

Go Figure

I am very puzzled! This location had a very nice structure that was the now former Burger King fast food joint. They demolished it! Then they replaced it with this new but very ugly structure that is the new Burger King. Inside, it's smaller, less functional and the bathroom fixture is already broken! I can't figure this thing out! They must have money to burn.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wanna Be Watermelon

Here is the same jack fruit tree that I showed you last year. It's starting to fruit again. This tree, and many others have the tendency to grow its fruits close to, or right on the ground. I think they are saying they'd rather be a watermelon, don't you think?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Love Stephanie

Well, I think this man must really love Stephanie. Although it's not trivial, if he ever changes his mind, or she does hers, he can replace this with a new name. It sure will be easier than changing a tattoo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


This is to show you that longan trees can grow to be very large, if left untrimmed for years... It looks like there will be lots of longans again this year... That's three years in a row, a record.
Ceiba speciosa

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Want You

I have blogged the silk floss tree here... and here... without realizing that I live near one that has matured much longer. This is how this one looks today, huge! But please do not confuse this tree with the Baobab, although they are in the same family, practically kissing cousins. Now that I have seen it nearby, I want to grow one in my backyard. That means I need to find a baby floss silk tree... and I know just where to get one. Stay tuned!
Ceiba speciosa

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bel Air 1957

The 1957 Bel Air is among the most recognizable American cars of all time; well-maintained examples, especially Sport Coupes and Convertibles are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Here is a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Door Convertible in great shape and well groomed in transit. I am sure the proud owner of this vehicle has consulted the weather stations to make sure that this baby does not get caught in one of Miami's thundershowers.
Bel Air

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Outdoor Bar-B-Que

I ran into this huge BBQ setup today. Actually, there are two of these larger than life cylinder grills that were smoking with yummy smelling ribs. Haven't seen this anywhere before, I inquired to learn that this is "The Mustard Seed, Inc." "Where Friends Meet For Great Food." A meal here costs a mere US $7. Today, this enterprise belonging to a mister Tyrone Johnson is catering to the crowd expected to come to the world's largest sale of Palms and Cycads hosted at the Montgomery Botanical Center. As a bonus to this free admission event of today and tomorrow, a guided tour of the botanical center is given for a mere US $5 donation, which is a great bargain to be had. Fighting against all temptations, I did not have the rib, and settled for a corn on the cob sprinkled with salt and black pepper. Oh so good!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Big Yellow

As you can see, every year, I can't help but to show you again and again a tree like this one. This is in the parking lot of the Home Depot store on Kendall drive near SW 127th Avenue. It's one of the bigger tree you can find in Miami, not the best one, but what it lacks in beauty, it makes it up in volume.
Golden Tree

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Night

This has now become a yearly tradition in Miami. Coral Gables, every year, on a day like today, which is St. Patrick's Day, closes streets around the downtown area (creating a traffic mess,) to host the yearly beer drinking, open air concert, food consuming, overall happy night for a lot of people. This is the food concession next to where I stood selling beer as a volunteer. If you come, it is universally understood that you cannot be a cheap skate. Almost everything costs US $8. Beer, fish and chips, chicken tender etc... Some grunted and hissed and complained, but they always shelled out 8 tickets (that's eight dollars) to get a freshly drawn beer: Guinness, Harp, Smithswick's or half and half; or a hot fried meal in a paper container. I was so busy collecting tickets and pouring beer I only had time to take one photo. Sorry not to have some shots of the beautiful people with Leprechaun outfits, but you can imagine what they might have look like, everyone with a beer cup in hand.
Green Night

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Charcoal Grilling Opening

There is another change in the eating scene in South Miami. This is on Sunset Drive, near the corner of SW 97th Avenue. This used to be my pal Banjong's excellent Thai restaurant named "Thai Orchid." He sold that business many years ago and seeded his now thriving real orchid business "Banjong Orchids" with the money that he gained there. The restaurant remained a Thai food restaurant for a while, struggling, until now. This location is now taken over by La Fogata which is supposed to be a Mexican charcoal grilling kind of food. As I said, I have a hard time to keep up with all these changes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


In Miami, if not in other places of the US as well, you can see a new structure that springs up in new highways that looks like an obelisk. That is a new way to support the large signs posted on expressways. They are also designed to support the new systems of toll-by-plate. Here is a new one on SW 104th street holding the direction to expressway 874 going North. If it has to extend to the other side, another obelisk is erected and the orange cylinders are connected to reach it as far as needed.

Monday, March 14, 2011


In Miami, ANYWHERE you go, you see that EVERYONE is manipulating a cell phone of some sort. It's purely amazing. It is no wonder you see this new business.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thorns, Spines and Prickles

In botanical morphology, thorns, spines, and prickles are hard structures with sharp, or at least pointed, ends. Thorns are modified branches or stems. Spines are modified leaves, stipules, or parts of leaves. Prickles are more comparable to hairs. The Book of Genesis recounts the creation of thorns as one of the punishments for the sin of Adam and Eve. One of the most enduring cultural images is the Crown of Thorns described in the Bible as having been placed on the head of Jesus before his crucifixion.

Meet Euphorbia milii (Crown-of-thorns or Christ Plant) which is a woody, succulent species of Euphorbia native to Madagascar. The species name commemorates Baron Milius, once governor of RĂ©union, who introduced the species to France in 1821. It is suspected that the species was introduced to the Middle East in ancient times, and legend associates it with the crown of thorns mentioned above. I have a couple of these guys in my yard and I wouldn't touch them even if my life depends on it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Plymouth Congregational Church

I was fearless today and drove to the Grove in a spur of the moment. Big mistake! As predicted a couple of days ago, the streets down here are jammed to the max! This is around 3PM, and there is really no way to get in. The main arteries leading to South Bayshore Drive are blocked and traffic are turned away to make room for the Colombian parade from noon to 11 pm. After the parade, there is a concert in Peacock Park. So... I gave up again just like last year. To not waste a trip for nothing, I decided to follow up on a promise I made last year. This is the famous Plymouth Congregational Church where Barbie had the wedding of her short-lived marriage.
Miami Art District

Friday, March 11, 2011

Seed Pods A'Plenty

If you visit Miami in the Summer, you will see many, many, many royal poinciana trees in bloom. They are mostly red, thus earning the name "flamboyant" tree. But they come in all shades from orange to dark red. Of course, my favorite ones are the rarer yellow variance. This is a royal poinciana, just about to grow new leaves to prepare for the color show in June. This shot may give you a clue as to how we have so many of this tree species in Miami. They produce an enormous amount of seed pods. They propagate so easily and can grow from nothing to a large tree in only a few years. I know, I have four such trees in my backyard when I had my back turned away and they sneaked in without warning.
Miami Art District

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Grove in March

If you see yellow here, it must be March. And sure enough, we are already in March, and it's time for the town to turn yellow. This is again downtown Coconut Grove. In two days, this street will be jammed solid because of the planned Colombian festival here in the Grove. I am debating to see whether I am courageous enough to venture back here next Saturday... Not so sure...
Grove in March

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


This is Miami's Historical Overtown, Dunbar Elementary School sitting on NW 20th street and 5th avenue. You can see the painting on the wall signifying you are in the Art District of Miami. Ahead is NW 2nd avenue leading Northbound to the trendy Wynwood Kitchen and Bar that caters to the artists and the discriminating tourists.
Miami Art District

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Miracle of Life

This Dendrobium lays dormant all year round, looking like sad twigs with no sign of life. Without much warning these beautiful fragrant pink flowers open up to brighten the world around them for a few days... Then they are gone for another year... to return again and again without fail. Such is the miracle of life.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Your PC on the Blink

If I remember correctly, this service used to cost more than what it says today. Now, this is an interesting proposition: you pay US $7 to receive a diagnostic of what ails your computer. What do you think? Would you consider yourself smart to take this risk? I mean offer?
PC on the blink

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Triple X Bloom

It is quite amazing when you ponder about how things work around us. To say the least, it's mysterious and incomprehensible. Take the mango trees... Who is to say when and how they need to do something? Yet, by unison, all the mango trees in Miami are now in bloom. This does not mean we will have a bumper crop... it will all depend on the rain amount, the temperature fluctuations and the cold fronts, or lack of them. All Greek to me! This shot is from a spacious and quiet South Miami area where houses are big and land they sit on even bigger. If I were the owner of this house, the triple X will be gone in a minute!
Mango Fest

Saturday, March 5, 2011


What did I tell you? Miami's drivers are really bad! So although I was stopped at a traffic light, minding my own business, I got my arsekicked today at about 1:45PM Eastern Standard Time. Well, I should be more polite to correct my harsh words with "I was rear-ended" today! Rear-ended? Sounds humiliating, but such is life and you take what it hands to you with grace, if you can. The first lame excuse that person gave me was "I didn't see your car!" Of course, you @#$%^!, you didn't! The real excuse was that he dropped something on the floor and his foot slipped! I bet you a dollar he dropped his cell phone! Now this no doubt will bring me tons of grief to deal with: the insurance industry first, then the body shop bandits are next in line. Didn't I just say something about Commerce Lane yesterday? How prophetic was that? I predict I will be on foot for at least... let's say 10 days to have the entire rear bumper replaced. My guess is that will cost about a small fortune US $4K or more. I also will predict that the color won't match and I will end up with a two tone colored car! Ain't life grand?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Todd's The Man

This Todd guy is not shy. He is claiming that he has the best sub on earth. In South Miami, Commerce Lane is a very charming small street that is just North of Sunset Drive, between SW 68th and 70th streets. This is where you can get your car back in shape after you have dinged and dented here and there. Then there is Todd. I've got to try his sub one of these days... but... looking at his shop, I am not so sure, especially that he has an offering of making copies to supplement his income. But you never can tell. I like the way he portrays his earth on the door. His South America is mirror image of the true shape, his Africa looks like India and his Europe looks like it was still with the shape from the mesozoic age. Like I said, you never can tell and this place may have the best sub on earth. Only seven bucks. It would be better if it were 4, then I would definitely come soon.
Todd's Sub

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Montgomery Botanical Center

A nonprofit botanic garden established in 1959 and specializing in palms and cycads, Montgomery Botanical Center keeps living specimens from wild plant populations worldwide. The scientific collections are available for study in Montgomery's 120-acre botanical garden. Montgomery Botanical Center is home for various botanical research projects. It conserves rare species of palms, cycads and other rare plants; and educates the community through workshops, lectures, publications, and tours of its scientific plant collections. I had a rare privilege of touring this center today and was thoroughly impressed with the site. Here is my favorite view inside this great place fit for a meditation retreat.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How They Do It

If you wondered how they change the light bulbs on the sky high street lights, here's how.
How They Do It

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Full Bloom

No doubt about this... This is my favorite part of town for me... Right in my neighborhood. This is the time of the year when flowering trees and bushes are competing to show off their colors... yellow... red... orange... white... purple... You name it, we have it.
Full Bloom