Sedona Az. Bronze Sculpture by James N. Muir “Children”

“Fleeing before the storm clouds of war, a little refugee girl, herself still merely a child, gives comfort and reassurance to her own doll-child.”

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Miami, Florida. A Snapshot of Biscayne Blvd from 81st to 6th Street Downtown

To Quote Henry David Thoreau:  “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”

From 81st to 6th (Downtown) is about a 20 minute drive.  We’re here for 3 days.  I wanted to see things which are usually overlooked while driving this route.  Traffic can be quite harrowing so my gaze rarely strays from what lies straight ahead.  This Sunday morning though, I was at my leisure and decided to go and look for unnoticed gems.  I started at 81st and worked my way south towards the Bayside Market at 6th.  It didn’t take long before I came across this dumpster dominated by a group of aggressive pelicans.  I was expecting cats or squirrels.  I got pelicans.

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​Next came three Hotel’s, one of which is a Hotel/Carwash combo, that just say “welcome to Florida”, followed by a misunderstood kind of place named “Wonderland” and a Coppertone Ad that I haven’t seen since I was a teenager.  Memory Lane.

At about 38th street, this caught my eye.  Now where did I leave that damned car?  I know it’s here somewhere!

As I get closer to Downtown, the  homeless begin to increase in numbers significantly.  I parked and decided to walk the rest of the way.  The Gentleman on the left had no less than six watches on his arms,  The young man in the middle seemed to move about constantly from place to place but never took the guitar out of his backpack and the third Gentleman, was missing his legs and just sat there, not speaking, watching the traffic go by.  I wonder what he is thinking…

A tragic side note:  I’m see a man, white in color, mid-twenties with an obvious physical disability, trying to make his way through the crowd from one side of the shopping area to the other.  A group of people are yelling and heckling him.  He is trying to get away from them, his speech garbled, yelling that “it’s not his shirt and that he doesn’t know what it says”.  The “group” failed to let up.  He kept repeating that he had to get to the other side to get his money.  The shirt, black with white letters said “Black Lives Matter”.   He appeared to be part of the local homeless community.  My impression was that someone had offered him money to wear the shirt and run through the large crowd of African-Americans which had gathered there.  The sick Bastard(s) got what they wanted, it was ugly and the young man ran away trying to take the shirt off as he fled.  I never saw him again.  He won’t be hard to spot, he has a noticeable limp and is very thin.  I watched the group return and I didn’t gather they ever found him.  I am thankful for that.

If the recession of 2009 slowed down Florida’s construction industry, it sure doesn’t show here.  New Skyscrapers are being built all over the downtown area.  I have never seen so many individual construction projects happening at one time.  Miami is Booming!  If you possess the skills to do this kind of work, get down here!  Unfortunately, the dichotomy between Miami’s large homeless population and the strong demand for construction labor have me a bit baffled.  I can only assume that many of the homeless suffer from various types of mental and physical illnesses which, unfortunately,  deny them the benefits of employment.

Miami Dade College Museum of Art and Design.  At night, this is a beautiful sight to see.  I had to include this picture!

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And finally, I reach 6th street at the Bayside Market.  Shopping, Eating and Music await your arrival.  In addition, you get a beautiful view of the Harbor and Marina.  Below, the “One man Band” plays beneath a 115 year old Banyan Tree.

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One 20 minute drive, so much life.  Come to Downtown Miami and see what you find.  Enjoy!

Academically, it Was A Good Idea. No, Not Really.

I’m curious, with the back and forth between the US and Cuban Governments, what do Cuban-Americans think about it.  I went to Miami Florida’s Downtown to interview Cuban-American passer-byes.

But first, a brief history of Cuba:

1492  Christopher Columbus arrives in Cuba and they now become a colony of Spain.

1792  Great Britain occupies Cuba but later trades them back to Spain for Florida.

1898  As a result of the Spanish-American war, the US Military now occupies Cuba.

1902  Cuba gains their Independence.  A succession of despotic leaders follow culminating in the overthrow of the Batista regime by the “26th of July Movement” led by Fidel and Raul Castro.

After that the US and Cuba more or less isolated themselves from each other until…

2014  President Obama restores Diplomatic Relations and our Embassy in Cuba is ultimately reopened.  Travel to Cuba is allowed.

2016  (December) Raul Castro announces the death of Fidel Castro.

2017  (June)  President Trump changes the new US policy and restricts travel and trade with Cuba.

2017 (July)  I’m in Miami and seeking opinions from the Cuban Community regarding this back and forth.

Talk about showing up unprepared…

I went to where the people are, a good plan I thought. Went to the Bayside Outdoor Market and over the course of a few hours, spoke with four people.

I learned two things relatively quickly: The first, that of the four, two of them were actually Brazilian but had heard of Cuba, the third had vacationed there once but is from the Dominican Republic and the fourth, a man who appeared to me to be from “somewhere” South America, was actually Asian; he did let me know that if it helps, he is fluent in Korean, French and English.  The second thing that I learned is that I’m apparently an idiot and can’t seem to tell the difference between a person of Cuban descent and a Palm tree.   With that, I’m 0 and 4, game over.  Maybe I’ll go to a shopping mall in Missouri and try and spot people in the crowd who are from Illinois.  We really should all have to wear team so and so ball caps…

I’m still curious though, but today is not the day for answers, at least any from me.  I do wish for peace for all the people of Cuban descent who have fought for it for such a long time.