My brother Michael and wife Martine live in the suburbs of Miami in Biscayne Park. They have a lovely two bedroom home on a great lot that they added a swimming pool and hot tub to. They had lived in South Beach on the 23rd floor of a high rise overlooking the bay, the ships and boats and gorgeous sunsets. Waxing eloquently over cold glasses of  Sauvignon Blanc by the pool one evening, Michael let go that for the 20 odd years they had lived there he really couldn’t wait to sell because he was terrified of heights. Hah! Runs in the family. Anyway, the pool is great and they have a neighbor, a sweet Belgian lady, who is a water aerobics teacher and who gives Michael and Martine water aerobics classes three times a week, at which time she turns into what Michael affectionately calls things I can’t put in this blog. As Jan says, she is the only person who can make you sweat in the water.

We spent a week there and got to catch up on some old family times and also see more family, Michael’s son Grant and his wife Lucy live blocks away, daughter Corinne and her husband Filippo live in West Palm and came down one afternoon, and my sister Jenifer was also in West Palm for a weekend and came down on Sunday. Nice to see everyone.

We took a day and went to the Fairchild Botanical Gardens with Grant acting as chauffeur (traffic in Miami is kinda gnarly). So I took probably 100 pictures and as I was snapping away I thought there is no way I was going to remember every flower, tree or shrub that I snapped, and also most people probably think that an excessive amount of pictures of flora and fauna (perhaps that being more than three) can be excruciatingly boring to look at and to read about. So I’ll try to minimize the intrusion and highlight a few of the ones I do remember. Even better, and more exciting I’ll just post some of the prettier ones, whether I remember their names or not.

One of the more interesting trees was this Rainbow Eucalyptus that was grown from seed in 1980 and now stands probably 40+ feet high. Native to the Philippines it now grows quite easily everywhere there is a moist and humid climate.


One of several elephant foot trees at the garden.


Michael, Martine and Grant have been to this Botanical garden often and are far more cognizant of the names of the flowers so if you want to know them, call one of them.


There had been a Dale Chihuly exhibit at the gardens a few months back and there were a few of the sculptures left.

More unidentified flowers and shrubs…

The butterfly house, which one entered and exited through two different doors to minimize any escape by the prized butterflies, was a maelstrom of different colored and varied species of butterflies that were only willing to alight on your arm or hand, or anywhere on your body. Thus the security of entering and leaving the building. Getting a picture of one of these things with it’s wings spread wasn’t easy…


Anyway, we had a lovely time with all the family while we were in Miami.

While stuck in Palm Springs waiting on the fate of the Mini Cooper we went to an art fair in La Quinta and while there was a huge amount of very expensive paintings and sculpture on sale we came across a vendor booth with a roulette wheel mounted on a pole and a variety of prizes. Kinda like this one but with different prizes.


Of course we spun it and lo and behold we won a choice of prizes, among them golf for two at a local course and a one week vacation at any Wyndham property just for attending a one hour pitch for their timeshare program. One hour out of our lives for one week at a property was an easy choice and after a surprising amiable presentation by a girl who asked more about our adventure than trying to sell us something, off we went with our cert. Long story shorter, we used it for the second week of getting the RV fixed at a property over on the west coast of Florida near Ft Myers in Lehigh Acres. Close to Sanibel Island and Captiva we spent a day there walking the beach and enjoying the mild temperatures.


The resort had a golf course which was available to guests at a nominal price and which we played a couple of times. This was a view from our condo.


And after a week we were off to Tallahassee to pick up the RV.

Paying homage to the abundance of shrimp in this area, while cooking the following recipe your kitchen will erupt in a dazzling aroma of spices meeting heated olive oil and garlic. Flash fry the shrimp and serve over couscous or a simple basmati rice, with a glass of ice cold sauvignon blanc and you have a very simple but amazingly tasty dinner.  Enjoy!

moroccan spicy shrimp



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