Saturday, August 10, 2013

The House

While on vacation, if you call it that, I had to spend a few days in Coral Springs to take care of our house. Had to assess some things, check on things, and do all the work that doesn't get done. My gardener does the yard but he doesn't clean up my banana mats or trim my vines, or clean up my plants that spread like wildfires. I spent an entire day just working on the yard. When all was said and done I probably took 6-8 dead banana plants to the curb along with hundreds of dead leaves. I should have taken a picture of all the stuff I took to the curb.
Standing in front of my Jackfruit tree. When Natalie bought this for my birthday a couple years ago it was just a little stick about 2 feet tall.
My Valencia Pride Mango tree. Got this two years ago and it was only three feet tall and really skinny. Now it's about 12 feet tall and should be full of mangoes by next year. 
 On Sunday, before I got to work.
My neighbor's overgrown jungle. The city is on him again about it.

My Dwarf Brazilian banana patch before I cleaned it up.
All my other banana patches.
Thursday afternoon after everything got cleaned up. Moved all my passion fruit and put in heliconas by the back rooms.

Bananas all trimmed up.
Our bamboo. I bought this for Natalie for Christmas 2011. They were just sticks then. Now they are 16-18 feet and should be 45 by the end of this year.
My lobster claw heliconias.

My Brazilian bananas all cleaned up.

 My oak tree is still alive, just hasn't filled in yet.


Mango Festival 2013

As I already mentioned in my previous post, on July 13th we went to mango festival. According to the Fairchild website the world now has 2,000-3,000 varieties of mangoes and over 500 mangoes were on display at the festival. On average close to 10,000 people show up at the festival each year.

We got there just 30 minutes after they opened this time, we learned from last year's mistake of showing up around noon and parking a mile away. I had planned to meet up with some of my coworkers from when I worked at CIS. As planned all three of them showed up with their families.

At the mango tasting event they had mangoes we could taste and rate. Here's this years list of what they had. I think this is complete. I went through the first time and they didn't have the Glenn. The Glenn had been my favorite mango before this week. The first time I went through they didn't have the Glenn out. So I had to go back in to get some Glenn and revote. Here's what they had and how I rated them.
  • Glenn (1)
  • Kent (2)
  • Mallika
  • Palmer (4)
  • Ataulfo (5) This one gets a five because I'm burned out on Ataulfo's.
  • Lucknow  (3)
  • Hatcher
A couple mangoes I bought at Mango Festival:
  • BP 19-21, from Israel, it was alright.
  • Peach, way too fiberous, too much pit, not enough fruit.
  • Big Satiun, too bitter, waste of money.
  • Valencia Pride, Now my favorite. This mango was so sweet and juicy. I have a VP tree which should hold fruit next year.
  • Hatcher
A little off topic but a few days later I was driving back to Miami from the house and noticed one of my favorite nurseries was open. I flipped a U-turn and stopped by to see if they had mangoes. They had probably over a hundred. I spend $35 on mangoes. I bought:
  • Julie, pretty good mango.
  • Bombay, really good and sweet.
  • Bailey Marvel, really good and peachy flavor.
  • Glenn, still one of my favorites.

After tasting mangoes we walked around, ate, and went to the butterfly garden. The staff at the butterfly garden tried to tell us all that it's better than Butterfly World. They are smoking some serious crack. It was just alright. And the staff were rude, pushy, and pushing people through the lines like it was a Nazi camp. On top of that it was so crowded everyone was pushing their stinky sweaty bodies up against each other.

After we all got through the butterfly garden we got rained on. For ten minute we just stood/sat there in the rain and took it. Eventually it rained so hard we had to go inside for a half hour. We waited it out and then went to buy some mango snacks before leaving. We were on a mission to find mango pie. This year, no mango pie. We did get some mango smoothies and chocolate mango balls though. The mango balls were good. I bought the spicy ones. I'll be trying to make some soon. Basically its blended mango, ginger, and lime juice with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, formed into a ball, and covered in chocolate and frozen. When biting into it it's a nice sweet flavor with a slight after burn when the cayenne hits.

After buying our snacks we decided we needed to get moving again quick. A good call. As soon as I got the stroller in the back of the car the clouds opened up again. If we had gotten there late like the year before, and parked any further back, we would have had another ten minute walk in the rain.

Adri and Sophia. Joglys and Ofeila's daughter.
Adri at the tasting event, learning how to vote.

Of course you can't have a day out with a 3 year old without a tantrum.


After the tasting event we were waiting outside for other friends to show up and this African Rainbow Lizard came over to see what's going on.

Adri, Sophia, and Annabell playing.

All the girls together again. Last time they were all together was at Key Biscayne in Feb 2011.

Of course when we said "All the girls", Kiko had to get in the picture.

I am really happy about the mangoes.

That Valencia Pride on the left is the single best mango I have ever had in my life.


These mangoes weren't for sale. This was at the mangoes from around the world event. The next day they actioned off the plates. I heard the year before someone paid over $550 for a plate of Champagne mangoes. Ripoff if you ask me. I think the 3rd plate on the left are Alfonso mangoes. Like I mentioned in last year's post, I have an Alphonso tree but have still never tasted the mango.

In the butterfly garden.
Even the butterflies like the mangoes.

Florida July 2013

A few weeks ago we took a trip to Florida. For the last 7 years I have paid less than $250 for a round trip ticket between Florida and California. In the last year it has more than doubled. Now it's hard to find a ticket under $600. I even tried flying out of any neighbor state to Arizona and tried arriving in all airports in Florida. No luck. The best deal we were able to find was from LAX to Miami, two airports I really hate. However we had a family reunion on July 20th with cousins I haven't seen in nearly a decade, LAX was $500 bucks cheaper for the three of us, and flying out of LAX I wouldn't have to park so we booked out of LAX. Thursday after work we drove out to California and we spent the following day with my family before heading to LAX for a red eye to Miami that would put us there just three hours before Mango Festival.

As you can see Adri was really excited about seeing the airplanes. I couldn't get her to sit down before the flight, she just wanted to stand at the window. When we got on the plane she was beat, and our flight was delayed. She started to fall asleep and then I told her that we were going to take off soon. She quickly jumped up and starred out the window until we were in the air.

Saturday morning we arrived in Miami and went to Mango Festival. I'll have a separate post just for that. Afterwards we went to Natalie's cousin's birthday party up in Broward County. That night was a precursor for the entire week. Driving up there the streets were already flooding and there no end in sight for the rain. While eating dinner lightning hit so close in the parking lot it made me jump out of my seat.

The next morning we drove up to Coral Springs to go to church. Afterwards we stopped by the house to check on things so I could see how much work I had cut out for me that week. I ended up going back a couple times throughout the week to work on things. For the most part we just sat around and hung out with family. One day we went over to Tia Fior's and I climbed up her mango tree in the rain and picked all the mangoes. They were really good mangoes, I think Kents. On Tuesday we had dinner with some friends in Coral Springs and I got together with a couple of my coworkers during the week for lunch and dinner. Wednesday we went out with our friends Tim and Riki and Thursday we were suppose to go to Key Largo but I decided to change that for Friday due to the fact that the rain still hadn't let up.

Thursday morning after dropping Natalie off at her aunt's apartment I saw someone smash in a car window and run away with the purse, at 9AM, obviously in broad daylight. I flipped a u-turn and was going to chase her but I was fumbling with my phone. She gave me the "Oh crap, I'm busted" looked before taking off. I just memorized the license plate and called 911. The lady that had her car broken out came outside screaming that everything was in her purse. Makes it hard to feel sorry for her though when she's stupid enough to leave her purse in her car in that neighborhood.

Friday we finally made it down to the keys. First we went down to Robbie's in Islamorada and fed the tarpon. I heard that if you don't let go of the fish the tarpon will latch onto your arm. I thought I was going to try until I saw how big those things were. I couldn't help but jump back and drop the fish every time the tarpon went for one.

After an hour or so at Robbie's we found some Cuban food and then went to a beach our friends told us about (Anne's Beach) which happened to be just a couple hundred yards from the Cuban restaurant. This beach had a sandbar that went close to a half mile out. I walked so far out that when I turned around I couldn't even see Adri playing on the beach. When Natalie and I came back and Adri saw us she put her arms behind her back, bent over, and started running (her happy dance). I really need to get a video of her doing this some day.

We spent that night hanging out with family again before heading back to SoCal for our family reunion. I'll have to get pictures so I can make a post about that. Had a lot of fun, ended up staying late Sunday to see family again, then got back early Monday morning just in time to get an hour of sleep before work. Needless to say it took me 5 days to recover from everything.

The mangoes I got out of Tia Fior's tree.

My mango/banana collection.
At Robbie's of Islamorada.



The tostones at the Cuban restaurant were huge.
And they had a really good mango/key lime pie. I rarely ever get dessert at a restaurant but I had to order a second slice.

At Anne's beach. We forgot to bring a swimsuit for Adri so she same in her chonies.

Leaving Miami.
I thought this was pretty cool. We were flying over New Mexico and there was a forest below. Not far away was the desert. You can see where the air lifts up and cools down in the mountains. All the rain over the forest and not a cloud over the sky in the desert.
Flying over White Sands New Mexico.