The Daily Observer

A blog of urban issues, travel to obscure places, amateur photography, and blatant self-promotion.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Florida Vacation Log: Day 4

Downtown Miami is the place to be. This giant urban jungle (and it's continuous progress; something is always being built or torn down) amazed me. With a first-rate art gallery, showing mostly modern art (my favourite) and a beautiful library (not to mention the new concert hall and opera hall complex, creatively called the "Performing Arts Centre"), this modern metropolis is bustling with activity. I ate at an authentic downtown Cuban restaurant and ordered a sandwich called the "Cuban". No veggies in this sandwich!

Downtown Miami with only one car on the road: This is an unnatural phenomenon

The main exhibit at the Miami Art Museum was an exhibition of the urban change in Miami. It portrayed the excitement and heralded caution. It showed new ideas. The most powerful piece was a whole wall covered in phoros of beautiful buildings. Written underneath these buildings are the memories of what he did there. The viewer then learns that all of the buildings have been demolished.The connection was reset

The museum in the cultural complex was alright; nothing much to speak of.

The library, on the other hand, was impressive. Designed in the style of the old Carnegie Libraries from the (turn-of-the-century 1900s) but with modern materials. It was welcoming and comfortable. The colours were warm and there was all sorts of public art. On the second floor (in which there was a circular "balcony" hole so that one could look down at the first floor) there was an exhibit on the history of innovation in books.

There were four inches of rain today. Thunder and lightning continued into the night.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Florida Vacation Log: Day 3

I went to the Ocean Reef Club (situated in the Florida Keys) today and tested the boat. Weather is so local here: as we were driving there we endured a torrent of rain for a mile. Then the rain disappeared as soon as it had started.

The water was a bit too rough and the clouds were too threatening (and someone had stolen our gasoline) to go anywhere far, so I had to satisfy myself with practice-snorkelling (all the coral within a few miles of the dock is dead) and having a nice lunch on the boat.

I discovered a discusting custom at this place: instead of walking to the washroom (it's not that far away), people use the hoses on the dock to "wash" themselves, and urinate while doing so. I made sure I put on sandals before stepping on the dock.

Grey Florida days can be gloomy and imposing

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Florida Vacation Log: Day 1

After waking up at 11:00 am, I went for a bike ride. Bad idea. The sun is hottest when it is highest in the sky. I passed a Bhuddist Temple and went in to cool off. Apparently the neighborhood has a large Thai population. There were some magnificent gold lions ferociously guarding the temple, but I forgot my camera, so I have no picture of them. Cooling off after the hot and draining bike ride was made possible by a refreshing, clear pond.

A lovely pond in which to swim

Florida's water table is very high; the pond is basically a hole in the ground that groundwater seeps into. I ate supper at a resaurant called "Captain's". My Uncle reccomended the yellow-tail. It came juicy, flavourful, breaded, and with a decent salad. There was no vinegar in sight. How can I eat breaded fish without vinegar!?

I had some time to explore the orchard and take some pictures:

There are lots of avacado trees here...

...and flowery foliage...

...and weather fish...

...and nice comfy places to relax!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Florida Vacation Log: Day 0

The story starts as many travel stories do:
Airline tells us to arrive at the wrong time... trying to fall asleep on airport chairs... smuggling an illegal pastrami sandwich accross the border... flying the Northwest Airlines economy plane (their motto should be "Bring your own fun")... arriving in a foreign country...

Anyway, I'm staying at the house of my great Aunt and Uncle. They have an grove (don't let them hear you call it an "orchard") outside of Homestead.

A tree growing in the grove

When pineapples are orange and fall over, they're ripe

They showed me around and I got to try the "miracle fruit", which is a small creamy, and by all accounts wierd. Anyway, it numbs the tastebuds that sense sourness, so after eating a miracle fruit, one can proceed to enjoy an entire lemon. I'm suffering from major jet lag and lack of sleep so that's all for now.

Miracle Fruit (not my photo)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Goin' to Florida!

I will be in Florida - and thus away from any computer - for the next ten days. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures, and fill you in with my insights when I come back. Homestead is where I will be staying; just 35 miles southwest of Florida. The lack of computer access is not what worries me, however. It is the lack of CBC that might eventually drive me a bit nuts.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More Cook's Creek Pictures

An old log cabin homestead, with plaster on the outside

St. Micheal the Archangel slaying a dragon

Chandelier inside a church

Some barn

Monday, July 03, 2006

Visit to Cook's Creek

This weekend, I went to visit Cook's Creek, small town in Eastern Manitoba. There is a strong Ukranian and Polish Catholic community here, and I got a chance to visit the Churches there, as well as some old artifacts lying around. Here are some photos. More to come...