Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Crazy Weather in South Florida

The weather here is unlike anything I've ever experienced. Back home in Vancouver weather changes are slow & steady. But here it seems that most anything can happen anytime. Today, though it was about 75 F today, there was hail and a tornado, just a bit north of here near Ft. Lauderdale. For more info click here.

Some Photos from the Last Day of February

I've long said that you need to view old people and little kids in exactly the same way: "Give them projects or they'll tire you out!" Well, though I'll never consider my mom "old", the fact is that with her we did a LOT of stuff since leaving Vancouver on Feb. 6th. And now that both she and my friend, Chris, are gone, my mind & body have collapsed in unison. I was sooooooooooo exhausted today. But I did take a walk, to my [usual] Brickell Key, but today I also ventured downtown. Here are some images from my journey:

This is a Blue Heron that may be the same one I've seen on Brickell Key before.

This is the First Presbyterian Church of Miami. Inside, it isn't that ornate but I do like exterior shapes & colours.

This reminded me of a scene from CSI Miami. This draw bridge, on US-1, opened up to let a yacht get out to the ocean.

Here's a shot looking back south, showing the financial district in the background.

This fascinating statue sits on this bridge. I have yet to learn of its significance. The ornately decorated column reminded me of totem poles from the Pacific Northwest.

I'm generally not too impressed with downtown Miami. It's mostly quite seedy, a reminder of more prosperity in times past. I'm guessing that Miami faced the same fate as many American cities: The wealthier residents flocked to the suburbs. Many new buildings are now being built downtown but it'll take years for any positive changes to occur.

This is the rectory of a magnificent Catholic church downtown. I plan to go back and take some photos of the elegant interior.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Early Evening Shots

There was a nice sunset in Miami this evening. I captured these 2 photos:


Do you remember that famous line from the Wizard of Oz, "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto!"? Miami is constantly full of new surprises and I'm clearly not in Vancouver anymore. Today I spotted this family of Iguanas suntanning themselves beside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key:

Dolphin in the Wild

I was walking around Brickell Key when I spotted a woman looking out into the channel. I turned to the water and saw what it was she was looking at. This dolphin seemed to be on his own. It was absolutely amazing to see such a magnificent creature so close up!

Miami Cruise Ship Terminal

There were a number of cruise ships docked in Miami today. This is actually a compilation of 7 different photos:

A Little Reminder of Back Home

I saw this flag flying prominently in the wind, very close to where I'm staying. What's very strange is that though I adore the U.S. and Americans, I feel extra proud to be a Canadian when I'm not living my day-to-day life back home. I'm not entirely sure why that is.

Construction, Construction Everywhere!

I have never seen so many building cranes in one place as I have here in Miami this past month. The amount of construction is absolutely incredible. My friend, Chris, says that much of it is financed by foreign investors, who were all hoping to get rich with the U.S. housing boom. But that clearly has subsided so who knows how much of this new stuff they'll be able to sell or rent once it's complete. So many of these buildings will be coming online nearly all at once.

Indian Food in Miami Beach

Last night we had Indian Food over in Miami Beach. The restaurant is called "Guru". My friend, Chris, didn't like it very much but I thought it was quite good, as did our other guest. We had a really nice waiter who has relatives in Toronto. He plans to visit them next year and then drive across Canada to Vancouver. Long trek!

The Wonderful Architecture of Miami

If you happen to ever watch CSI Miami, you've scene countless glimpses of the glorious architecture around this city. I am lucky enough to live in an area that is full of vibrant colours and shapes and endless interesting designs. Here's a small sampling:

Miami Flowers

I've gotten into the habit of going for a walk every day around nearby Brickell Key. Here are some flowers in full bloom there:

Just a Typical Sedan in Miami :-)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Expect The Unexpected

This title has now become the unofficial theme of my mom's trip. After missing our flight in Chicago because we couldn't get a taxi to pick us up, I thought that no other delays would befall us. Well, I was wrong. When leaving our parking garage the outgoing gate was stuck and we, and a bunch of other cars, had to circumnavigate out the ingoing entrance. Still, we had left 4 hours early so had lots of time. I thus got my mom to West Palm Beach Airport 2 hours ahead of time. We had a bite to eat and she went through security around 5:20pm, an hour before her departure.

It took me about 2 hours to get back to Miami. Upon my return I decided to check my mom's flight status. At first my brain wouldn't accept what I was seeing: Her flight to Houston was delayed by an hour, getting her in too late to catch her connecting flight back home to Vancouver. :-(

Of course I freaked out, worrying if she had the wherewithal to deal with getting a hotel and such. So I called Continental and asked if they could take some extra steps to help her.

It turned out that all my worries were for naught. About a dozen passengers missed their connecting flights because of the late departure from West Palm Beach. This provided a comradery of sorts for my mom and perhaps some of the others took her under their wing. Anyhow, she checked herself into the "Woolley Inn" for just $55 and was doing fine when I chatted with her around 11:30pm. She had no access to her toiletries or a change of clothes because they weren't able to retrieve her suitcase but she's more of a trooper than perhaps I give her credit for.

What's interesting about all of this is that they were told on the plane that the delay was because of a bunch of planes stacked up in Houston. When they got there they asked about this and were told that everything was operating normally. So once again, an airline has got caught in a bold faced lie.

She'll [hopefully] be on this flight today:

Continental Flight 389



City: Houston, TX (IAH - Intercontinental)
Gate: C-18
Check-in Terminal: Terminal E
Scheduled Time: 9:30 a.m.
Estimated Time: 9:30 a.m.
Scheduled Date: Sat., Feb. 24, 2007

City: Vancouver, BC Canada (YVR)
Terminal: International Terminal
Scheduled Time: 12:33 p.m.
Estimated Time: 12:33 p.m.
Scheduled Date: Sat., Feb. 24, 2007

P.S. I'm tracking her flight here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mom's Last Day in Paradise

My mom's heading back to Vancouver today, having being away since Feb. 6th. She's had a really good birthday celebration but now seems ready to go home. I took this photo just before 7am. The island is Key Biscayne.

A wonderful trip-ending greeting was provided by CKNW's Philip Till. Around 8:25am PST (11:25am EST) he sent out greetings to Clara Werner in Miami, Florida and wished her a safe trip home. We heard this via the 'NW website. Not sure how he heard about her departure. :-)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Vizcaya Museum

Just a little south of where we're staying in Brickell is a true Miami gem. It's the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, located at 3251 South Miami Avenue, just a little past the entrance to Key Biscayne. The centerpiece is the mansion, which was completed in 1916 for wealthy industrialist James Deering, who was vice president of the International Harvester Company. He lived in Chicago during the summer but spent the winter months at Vizcaya. It's an absolutely magnificent place to visit.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Animals of South Florida

I'm way behind in posting much of anything from down here, let alone photos. Rest assured that I've been taking some great ones. Here's a recent sampling of some furry and not so furry creatures!