Monday, April 30, 2012

Rain Drops

It's still raining! Good for the ducks... not for me! Forecast says this is the end of the rain... so hopefully they are right! Still Wet

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Too Much Rain!

It has been raining all week this week... Drip... drip... drip...very depressing. And I am blue because three of my computers crashed! So you thought I gave up on you? Not a chance! This tree seems to love being wet and it looks better in the rain than when it's hot under the sun... so here it is, your Bursera simarupa, commonly known as the gumbo-limbo and Copperwood. It is a tree species in the family Burseraceae, native to tropical regions of the Americas from the southern Florida through Mexico and the Caribbean to Brazil and Venezuela. A gumbo in rainy days. Gumbo

Thursday, April 26, 2012


April-May means that the frangipani is in bloom. Its scientific name is Plumeria rubra with common names: Frangipani and Temple Tree (because it can usually be seen at temple sites in Asia.) I really like the scent of these flowers which is there all the time. You pick a flower, and the scent is right there... very unlike the elusive scent from its relative, the Alstonia scholaris. Yes, both are in the same family of Apocynaceae. You can guess judging from the similarity in the structure of their leaves and the form of their flowers. But I value the scent of A. scholaris far better... simply because it is much harder to come by. Frangipani

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Still Homeless

Here is the same man that haunts this area of South Miami. Still homeless and all alone. How sad! Still Alone

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Miami's Parrots

Here is a small party of South Miami's rogue green and vocal wild parrots. Tonight, they decided to pay a vocal visit to the local burger King joint across from the Datran center. They were very loud and jolly. I was very mindful not to be directly under their flight paths so they cannot drop anything on me. Didn't know they can park themselves on a wall like this. True lizard-like they are. Parrots

Monday, April 23, 2012

Miami Beach From Above

This is the bird eye's view of glorious Miami Beach from a Cessna. The water body to the left is Biscayne Bay and to the right is of course the big blue Atlantic ocean. The big green space is the La Gorce Golf court. Its tip is at 63rd street of Miami Beach. Along the famous Collins Avenue running the North-South axis of Miami Beach, you can see the Blue and Green Diamond towers condo at the lower corner of the photo. They are on the south side of the Wyndham Miami Beach Resort and the Grand Beach hotel. Don't you wish you were here? Miami Beach

Sunday, April 22, 2012


This is a very nostalgic view for me because I spent many a days, weeks, months, years enjoying this view when I was at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) when two hour lunch looking at this view was the norm. This is adjacent to the Miami Seaquarium. This body of water is called the "Bear Cut" and the bridge over it is the last segment of the Rickenbacker Causeway that becomes Crandon Boulevard (SR 913) at the Crandon Park Marina to the right where you can buy still jumping fresh fish from chartered boats returning from fishing in the Gulf Stream. The bird you see is the double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) which is the most numerous and widespread North American cormorant. This bird is a fierce competitor for fishermen because it mainly eats fish and hunts by swimming and diving. Its feathers, like those of all cormorants, are not waterproof and it must spend time drying them out after spending time in the water. I think this one is still wet from its latest dive for a meal. Cormorant

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Man-made Islands

On the way to Miami Beach via the Venetian Causeway (NE 15th Street) you drive on a narrow causeway traversing several man-made Venetian islands. The islands and non-bridge portions of the causeway were created by materials which came from the dredging of the bay. The homes on these islands are truly dream homes. The Venetian causeway takes you to the heart of Miami Beach and it is my favorite drive to get there, on a day like today. Venetian Causeway

Friday, April 20, 2012

Balls Everywhere

This is the scene of a tennis lesson. The teacher/coach is in the process of collecting all the stray tennis balls for the next round of practice. He has literally a ton of brand new tennis balls contained in a basket with wheel that he carries around. The balls are served to the young tennis star wannabe one at a time in a breakneck rate. The balls fly and land everywhere like what you see here... then the cycle repeats. They don't call this sport for nothing. I get tired just looking at this session. Not for me! Then I got a few drops of water from the dark rain cloud you see overhead, but the rain lasted only a few minutes today. TGIF! Tennis Balls

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oncidium sphacelatum

In Miami, orchids grow easily, but this species of Oncidium is the easiest to grow. It grows on anything and blooms every year without any requirements whatsoever. All you need is to have a few bulbs to start. They don't even need to have any roots on them. Throw them anywhere that has sun shine, and that's it. Come back in a year or two and you have something like in this photo. This is tog's O. sphacelatum under his tall palm tree. If you look closely, you can see the beautiful flowers of a vine coming down from above. Not to be left out, let me remind you that I showed you my own O. sphacelatum on March 14th, 2007. I think mine is better and that you will agree to that assertion. Oncidium

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cuban Cuisine

Exactly 2 years ago yesterday, I showed you a photo of this precise spot where Sgt. Pepper's Café was doing business. No more! It's gone now and replaced by this new restaurant venture... deadly indeed! A new Cuban cuisine place, El Sitio, is now here. I think this is the second (Wrong! This is the third... It's name is El Sitio III, there is another one in Miami Beach, on Washington Avenue, between 5th and 11th streets) and smaller site for this restaurant namesake. There is another larger El Sitio in Coconut Grove. You may recognize the Golden tree "Tabebuia Chrysantha" in this shot. Two years ago, there were two of them. Take a close look at this tree for the amazing shape of its trunk. Cuban

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Field Trip

I was visiting at the Montgomery Botanical Center and we were invaded by a large group of kids. They are 10 - 12 year old kids from the nearby elite Gulliver Academy and their field trip here is to learn about nature. Unbeknownst to them, they were in luck because they stumbled on a visiting professor from no less than Harvard U. They got an earful of natural things... palm trees, cycads, seeds and how things grow and protected and treasured. We had a fun morning with these kids and their questions were not for the faint of heart. Harvard Professor

Monday, April 16, 2012

Get Off My Rear End

I was driving on a busy commuting morning today and I was very nervous watching the guy in the car behind me. He was very animatedly yelling on his cell phone and he was just about to hit me in my rear end... or gave me the clear impression that he would do that very soon. Driving in Miami is so stressful. Every driver is on the cell phone. I think they should pass the law to heavily fine these nut cases and the county budget will surely be in the black. Slow Down, Will Ya!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I finally gave in, actually, crumbled in and went inside the Yogurt bar today. As I told you I really want to taste the coconut flavor, so I did. But I also tasted its cousin, the MANGO! That's the yellow swirl on top of the white coconut. Guilt took over and I only got a tiny little serving, sprinkled with only specs of nuts and shreds of coconut. Delicious! But, look at the spoon, it says Yogurtland! Is this the same franchise, or are they competitors? What's going on here? One would expect the spoon to say Yogurt Bar too, don't you agree? Yogurt

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Roaring Panthers

Florida International University (FIU) is an American public research university in Greater Miami, Florida, in the United States, with its main campus in University Park in Miami-Dade County. Here I am, early on a Saturday morning in its Ernest R. Graham University Center. This large building has many commercial business, including a bookstore to cater to the needs of the students. What you see is the university's emblem featuring "Roary The Panther" which is the school's mascot. FIU's official colors are Blue and Gold. I like Orange and Green better, of course that's my alma mater UM's colors. Go Canes! FIU

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

It's Friday, again. Except it's the 13th, so it can be a very bad day. I stayed away from black cats, ladders and persons named Jason and Krueger so I am still OK. Here at Miami Dade College, the students have a vote going on. I am not sure what is the issue that requires a vote count, but that must be important. As everyone knows, making a decision is hard work that consumes a lot of energy... so the all knowing, all powerful leaders are thoughtful and free cotton candy is given to reclaim all the glucose that the students used up when they voted. I must report here that some of the students in line have not voted! Should I point them out? Friday

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Miami from the Bay

This is today's view of Brickell Avenue/Miami downtown sky line as seen from Biscayne Bay. The tall bridge is the Rickenbacker Causeway leading eastward to Key Biscayne's cape Florida to the right. Tall sailboats go under the bridge to head toward Miami Beach, then Fisher island and escape to the Atlantic ocean. If you zoom in, you can see the eastern half of the old draw bridge. I used to curse the tall sailboats because they were the reason we poor motorists got stuck in the hot Miami sun to go to Key Biscayne when the draw bridge was raised... Do you see the dolphins in this photo? This must be their mating time... and this must be the place they prefer. Miami from the Bay

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Orchids in Clay Pots

Back to Banjong Orchids... just to show you the new clay pots that he is using as hanging containers for sale with the orchids. These are very large and you would need to hang very large specimens on them. The roots have plenty of room to roam and these pots will outlast the red wood baskets that were the preference of years passed. I think that the various elaborate designs of the holes are silly because the orchids will eventually cover the entire pot that will vanish from view very quickly. Would I tell Banjong that? Nah! He'll kick me out of his place... or worse, he will never give me any free orchids again! Beautiful designs, especially the different hole shapes! Best of the best! Kiss.. kiss... Clay Pots

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Baptist West Kendall

This is the brand new Baptist hospital that began operation very recently. In its relentless expansion, this newest addition was located on Kendall drive, all the way to the western end abutting Krome avenue which is SW 177th Avenue. I will get in there one of these days just to look around. It sure looks huge from afar. New Baptist

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mobile Produce

Miami has a lot of local people who make a living gathering produce in trucks and resell fruits, vegetable and sometimes refreshments at impromptu stops. This seller was setting shop at the far West end of Kendall drive where vast farm land is still farm land. The large corn field in the background looks very tempting. I wonder if the local crows will help themselves before harvest time arrives. Mobile Seller

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Are you A Millionaire?

I paid a visit to my pal Banjong at his orchid business down on Krome Avenue and 216th street in the deep South Miami Dade today. As usual, his orchids are in bloom profusely everywhere. I love his personal vanda and ascocenda hybrids that he and his wife cultured from seeds that are fragrant. In this shot, you can see the new clay pots that he designed as epiphyte orchid containers. The vandas love these for their home. If you have a few millions US dollars and would like to own a thriving orchid business, this place is for sale. Banjong Orchids

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Coco Ma No Frio

It's a hot Saturday afternoon preluding a fast approaching summer in Miami. I took a long ride to the farm land area along a North-South narrow road that is Krome Avenue (Southwest 177th Avenue) that runs through the heart of South Dade farms. All kinds of produce are grown right here and many fresh fruits and vegetable businesses are open for business along this road. I am thirsty for a fresh coconut (which is my favorite summer drink) so I stopped here because of the big sign that says "Coco Frio." Unfortunately, the coconut that man chopped open for me was not "frio" in any shape and form. So again, I got a disappointed small, bland, warm two dollar drink from a sub par old nut! What is the matter with business these days? Coco No Frio

Friday, April 6, 2012

Another beautiful day for sailing. This is Biscayne Bay. The island that is the horizon is Key Biscayne. You can see the golden coupole of the Miami Seaquarium just under the boom of the main sail. Cape Florida is to the far right beyond which is the big Atlantic ocean and the powerful Western boundary current, the Gulf Stream is just a stone throw away. Biscayne Bay

Thursday, April 5, 2012


This jackfruit tree is very productive. It again is bearing new fruits, not as many as last year, but there are quite a few that look in very good shape at this time. Hopefully they will not begin to rot like they did last year, and I will be able to get one or two to show you how to deal with the heavy sap contained within. Jackfruit

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Art Exams

Art students of Miami Dade College's Kendall campus are very active. You can see them outdoors every day drawing, sketching, coloring. Today must be a mid term exam and they use every concrete blank spaces they find as canvas for their creations using color chalks. Instructors walk among them with note pads to jot down remarks and notes. I'd give the green blond Dracula with sharp fangs an A+. Chalk Artists

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Real Miami Dolphins

I was invited to go sailing in Biscayne Bay today... So I said why not? I'm easy! We came off from Coconut Grove with no particular place to go with a 23 foot sail boat skippered by two of my able sailor friends. Of course, they abused me big time and told me to pull this line, push that rod, tag this way, tag that way, pull more, release some etc... and I followed their orders without fail. Today's afternoon was hot, plenty of sunshine and calm sea with only a slight breeze but this is a good racing sail boat so we had no problems moving about. We were very lucky to spot a school of dolphins and approached them. Dolphins are very playful, and they stayed with our boat until we decided that it's time to say good bye. I tried very hard but could not get any shots better than this. There is no good way to know where and when they would surface but you can see at least four fins from the dolphins breaking the ocean surface. This view is SouthWest, looking back toward Coconut Grove. The two buildings with triangular shaped tops are the twin towers of the ritzy Ritz-Carlton luxurious hotel in the Grove. The Rickenbacker Causeway bridge is behind us. If you want to know where on earth this spot is, put 25.731833,-80.193667 in the search box of this URL. All and all, I had a sun tanned afternoon. No, not sun tanned, sun burned because I do not like to be greased up with lotion. Biscayne Bay

Monday, April 2, 2012

Abe's Gone

This is a museum caliber statue of Abe Lincoln. It was at its home in Miami for a long time, not my home, mind you! No longer. Abe has been relocated to a museum in New York where it really does belong together with other valuable artifacts of the US civil war.
Abe's Gone

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My New Ferrari

Hey, look! This is my new Ferrari. I just got it special delivered this morning. It's brand new, a 2012 Ferrari California. You may know about all the noise of the US $656 Millions Mega Millions lottery jackpot, right? Well, you should not believe all the news from the paparazzi about where the winning tickets were sold. What do they know? It is reported that a winning ticket was purchased at a 7-11 store in Milford, Maryland; a second one was sold in Kansas; and the third one was sold in Red Bud, Illinois. Bunk! The real winning ticket was sold in a 7-11 store in Miami, and I bought that ticket for US $1.00. If you want positive proof, I can tell you that the winning numbers are: 2, 4, 23, 38, 46, and Megaball 23; and I have it right here in my pocket.

So, with my new mega bucks and their associated power, I special ordered this car and demanded it to ship to arrive this morning, just in time for the first day of April. By the way, Happy April's 1st! Want a test drive?
Ferrari California