Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The mango is native to the Indian subcontinent from where it spread all over the world. It is one of the most cultivated fruits of the tropical world and it is definitely my kind of fruit. This is the beginning of my yearly mango feast... and I am making rounds to survey the bounty. The usual problem is that the majority of the mango trees is unidentified and it is very difficult to put a name to the fruit with any certainty. But they are all good to me. I ate one from this tree today but can't guess its name. It's delicious.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
To my surprise, this tree now bears two fruits. In my blog on November 11 of last year, I thought the flowers would soon turn into fruits, but it has taken that long. The fruits from this guanabana tree (Annona muricata) are called soursop due to their slightly acidic taste when ripe. This fruit tastes best when its flesh is sweetened with condensed milk or made into a chilled sorbet.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Dinner Key is a marina complex in Coconut Grove along the shore of Biscayne Bay. This was originally an island, but it was connected to the mainland in 1914 by filling in the open ocean water space. The name "dinner key" says that the island was a popular place to stop for dinner while traveling by boat between the mouth of the Miami River and Snapper Creek which is south of Miami. You can see in this photo a rare rusty boat among luxurious yachts across the marina. This looks like a shrimping boat... The fresh shrimp that live here are quite delicious, if you can catch them, that is. You can come here in the afternoon to buy fish... but hush... that's illegal for boat captains to sell their fish from this marina!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Look what I saw in this parking lot: a strange vehicle that could be from another world! This may be an UFO (unidentified flying object) disguised as an automobile that I wouldn't be surprised. I saw the owner/driver who gave me a big and proud smile when he walked away from this car. All I see is the name Chevrolet in the open engine hatch. There is no other markings of any sort other than that on the entire car's body. This man must either be a very powerful man or insane because he drives around in this car without any license plate or identification marks. I would like to see the face of the police officer when he encounters this car during his patrol around the neighborhood.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
It is a fabulous day in Miami today. No rain! This is a view of the Sonesta Bayfront hotel in Coconut Grove, early in the morning... quite early, about 8AM. There is a large number of people out in the streets for exercise, jogging, walking and bicycle riding. This view is seen from the Peacock park next to the convention center at Biscayne bay's edge. You can see that Miami's royal poinciana trees are announcing the arrival of summer with their annual display of flowers. Do you know that we are only 5 days from the official hurricanes season? OMG!
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
If you have wondered what happened to my blog... I've kind of being caught between a rock and a hard place so things have been backed up... and the daily rain and thunderstorms have not helped much. But have no fear, things will find a way to even out their wrinkles, which includes this blog. Life goes on and I had to be in the Baptist hospital in Kendall Drive late tonight. This is one of their many, many bathrooms for the visitors to their emergency center. This is in such stark contrast to the other places that I have visited overseas in other countries. So clean, so free and so plentiful. That is one of the many perks that one can have to live and sometimes suffer in many other ways life in the US of America.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Miami has been under a daily dose of rain on and off non stop. But the sky clears up quite quickly and the blue sky returns to cheer you up momentarily, like today. Aren't those coconut trees magnificent? I found one nut that fell to the ground and would really like to get all the ones that are way up there. But alas, I can't climb that high! I wonder what Darwin would have said about why these trees grow so tall? My guess is that the nuts are safe to mature and ensure their lineage to last for generations. If they are not so tall, guys like me will cannibalize all their fruits of labor. Good for the Cocos nucifera.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Next to US Memorial day which is celebrated on the last Monday of the month of May, Mother's day, observed on the second Sunday of May is the busiest day for cemeteries. It's the US Mother's day today. Many major street intersections of Miami have flower vendors and Caballero Rivero Woodlawn cemetery at SW 117th Avenue and 116th Street is experiencing a traffic jam. Fresh cut flowers are everywhere for the remembrance of the women who found their last resting places here. Do you know that Père Lachaise in the 20th arrondissement of the city of Paris, France, is reputed to be the world's most visited cemetery? That place attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. When was the last time you have been inside a cemetery? It's an experience not to miss in life.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
It's Saturday on busy streets of Miami and what do you expect? Crazy guys like this one in his convertible hot rod. This guy was so far the worst that roams Miami's crazy street scenes that I've seen. Within minutes, he weaved through the four lanes of US-1, changing his cell phone from left to right to left to right hands while waving/shaking his other hand frantically. He must be either very mad or excited or both. You can bet I stayed as far away from him as possible. In this pose, he has the phone on his right hand across his face. Do you see his left hand? What is holding his steering wheel? Call the cops! Call highway patrol!
Friday, May 11, 2012
Tonight, I came to a Patriotic program performed by the third and fourth graders of the Florida Christian School in South Miami. The kids are 9 - 10 year old and they gave a flawless performance tonight that lasted a little bit over an hour. It is impressive to see how poised kids of this age can be. The musical numbers traced the history of America through the US civil war. They aced the obligatory performance of "Yankee Doodle Dandy." These kids do have talent. There was a bit of overdoing in the program with a sermon-like speech by the master of ceremony, but you should expect that from the name of the school. Time well spent and I came to watch 9 year-old Gabo perform. His speech was a perfect A+.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Dadeland Mall of South Miami is being renovated by addition of a two-story building to house new restaurants overlooking Kendall Drive here. The new lower level will house retailers. The largest Limited/Express store which occupied this space is now gone and the new development will begin operation in the spring of 2013. It is amazing to see large and expensive buildings go up and then mercilessly demolished only a couple of years later. The US of America is truly a society of quick changes and throw aways without much of a second thought.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Summer is not too far away for Miami, and it is already getting very hot. The rains of the past few days have spawned many mosquitoes. They are not too bad yet, but there is no doubt it will get worse. The royal poincianas are preparing to put out the seasonal display as you can see it in this magnificent old tree. A summertime prelude.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Here is William again showing off! You were introduced to William before. That was then, this is now. Now he is showing off the Audi R8 V10 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro, Audi’s mid-engine supercar with a fabric roof. Talking about a guy with a passion with cars and can afford them! In this car, the drive goes to all four wheels and Audi will debit your bank account £111,995 for the manual or £117,700 for the R-tronic automated manual. This car looks kind of ugly, if you asked me. Hhmmm... UK's 120K pounds! How many is that in US $? Too many!
Sunday, May 6, 2012
I needed some exotic spices so I had to venture to this exotic place named Lucky. It is a Chinese grocery store on Bird Road and SW 84th Avenue. I hate to go to these places because I can never find what I want, and I can't ask because I can't speak the kind of language they speak here! And even if I can speak the right language, I don't know the name of the thing I need. So lost and so frustrated! So I gave up on my search for the unknown and unspeakable spices. Guess where I ended up getting food! To add insult to injury, I thought I know how to write the word "Lucky" in Chinese. When outside looking at the store front, I can't find the word "Lucky" I know here. What's wrong with me, I wonder!
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Tired of fast food on weekends so I went to the Captain Tavern fish market today for a new taste. I found it in these strange looking fish that I never tried before. That is what I was looking for so Epinephelus drummondhayi it is for dinner tonight. Commonly called the calico grouper, kitty mitchell and speckled hind, these fish are the strawberry groupers. Their natural habitats are open seas, shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, coral reefs and they are found in Bermuda and the US ocean waters. The name speckled hind speaks well of the spots that cover their reddish-brown entire bodies. Still fresh in my mind about what I said in my blog yesterday, may be I shouldn't have had these for dinner, but I did. They really do not taste like grouper, but rather like snapper. I would classify them as fat snappers. I think these fish may be on the endangered species list, and do hope that they are legal. Too late!
Friday, May 4, 2012
Look at this very attractive cone of this Cycas micronesica. This is the time of cone production for this species of cycad which is found in Micronesia , the Marianas Group and the western Caroline Islands. As it is often the case, many things that look and feel beautiful can be deadly, and this can be deadly. The seeds of this cone are commonly thought, through a neurotoxin contained within them, to be linked with the human degenerative Lytico-Bodig disease, which is similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.) Cycad seeds are a big part of the Chamorro lifestyle. The seeds from this species were ground to make a flour called "fadang", and the flour was then used to make tortillas and dumplings. Knowing the seeds are very toxic, the flour was cleaned several times before preparation for food. Unfortunately, the inhabitants of these islands also ate bats that, unbeknownst to them, fed on these seeds and the toxins were accumulated in the fat tissue with increased potency! Once the research came out, the practice of eating these seeds ceased in Guam in the 1960s! I am not sure whether eating bats continued The moral of this? Don't eat things that look pretty or don't eat things that eat things that look pretty! .
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Do you sometimes wonder why Miami has so many royal poinciana trees? That is because they propagate so easily naturally. Their long seed pods disperse seeds all around and after the first rains (and we had lots of rain lately) the seeds germinate like this. Left untouched, these baby trees grow up very fast to become mature trees in just a few short years. The royal poincianas are just beginning to flower and o do I love it!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
You have seen this tree before here. It's the really tropical Spindle palm (Hyophorbe verschaffeltii) that can't stand cold weather... just like me... I show you this tree again so you can see that it is used for the commemoration of a departed person. It is a practice often seen in parks and arboretum. When I die, please don't do that because when the tree dies, which it will, I would have to die a second time. Not a good deal!