Archive for ‘Florida’

October 3, 2022

Nostalgia of Hallandale, Fla. !!

Here I am again looking at my vault and this time again no pictures, just a simple paper cloth table cover to remind me of a wonderful place and time in my dear Florida! This believe it or not was not from my local south Florida area but coming all the way from Daytona Beach to Hallandale Florida! This was wonderful disco times and my rdv at the Limelight discothéque! Let me tell you a bit about it for the memories of always and a right place in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Hollywood limelight disco tablepaper c1981

This new find allows me to show in my blog places not shown or pics with lots of nostalgia in my life. I was living in Ormond by the Sea, just north of Ormond Beach on the north peninsula beachside, which is north of Daytona Beach where I attended my university. Looking for places to have fun and hangout I read an article about a place that was to show Sylvester and France Joli and later Gloria Gaynor! So of course, I jumped in my car and head south. 

As the trip was long and over the influence, I remember renting a little hotel Don Sebastian in North Miami Beach ( a separate town from the more famous one). This hotel no longer there but condos! It allowed me to go to different disco places at the time such as Tiffany’s at the Sheraton Bal Harbour and 747 in Miami Springs (another miami). However, the highlight was going to the Limelight discothéque in Hallandale near the Hollywood dog track! The place is closed of course, but they even have a memories Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/134475280210/

As Valenciartist reminds me in the comments, there were many others that I frequented while visiting from up north, sometimes along and others with cousins that still lives there. These were the Banana Boat by Kendall Drive, Casanovas in Hialeah, Faces In The Grove in the Mayfair-Coconut Grove, Firehouse Four (1000 S. Miami Ave, Miami) from my good friend Armandito and the miami exports group, Penrod’s Beach Club in Miami Beach,Scaramouche in the Omni Hotel, Miami, and the 94th Aero in Miami. All memorable spots of crazy youth.

For official info, The Limelight was a chain of nightclubs owned and operated by Peter Gatien. The Limelight had locations in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, London, and this one at Hallandale, Florida !

A bit of history I like

Peter Gatien opened the first Limelight nightclub in Hallandale, Florida, in the 1970s. Following a devastating fire in the late 1970s, Gatien chose Atlanta for his next incarnation of the club. The Atlanta Limelight opened in February 1980. It was housed in a strip mall at the former site of the Harlequin Dinner Theatre. The Limelight in Chicago was housed in the former home of the Chicago Historical Society; the building itself is a historic structure. It was opened in 1985. From 1985, the Limelight in London was located in a former Welsh Presbyterian church on Shaftesbury Avenue, just off Cambridge Circus, which dates from the 1890s. The London club’s decline in popularity led to the club being sold as a going concern . The club in New York City, situated on Sixth Avenue at West 20th Street, was the most significant and infamous of all the Limelight locations. It opened in November 1983, the site was a former Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion.  There was a movie done called Limelight (2011) with 50 Cent ,Jay-Z, and Lisa Michelle Axelrod

I remember going there a lot and had great fun indeed. One for the memories as can be told it was wild and plenty of action inside and out. The Limelight is well remembered by old timers in the Miami area, including family members.

There you go folks, a walk down nostalgia lane from my earlier life in my Florida. The wonders of the Limelight and the heat of the Sunshine State, Florida , that still rings a bell to my ears on each stretch of meter I take on this world. Hope you enjoy the post as I reviving old memorable moments in life.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!.

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October 2, 2022

My personal life in Central and South Florida !!!

As usually the case exchanging with a fellow blogger Valenciartist came upon the idea of telling you a bit more than just travel and anecdotes in my blog. After all, my life has been very rich and why not have some in my blog which is after all my life’s stories. Therefore , here is a bit extra on me from my life in Central and South Florida !!!, and in Volusia, Broward and Miami-Dade counties !!! Of course, I have other posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy this bit of personal trivia as I.

Let me tell you a bit more on my personal life in the Central and South Florida of mine. It is said that to remember is to live again, well I am doing just that with this post and the one on NJ. Florida was the last land lived before my moved to my belle France in 2003. My nostalgic moments of our time in Florida, several years, college graduation, marriage, sons to show for it, the works.

I lived for 18 years in Florida in addition to four years of University studies!!!while living in NJ (see post).  My first contact with the State of Florida took place in 1974 when I went from New Jersey to visit my father’s side aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey lol! Then in August of 1977,  I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Spring Break is an event all American college students need or do go thru in their life,and its not to be missed.

On January 5 1985 arrived for good, this time living at Seaside Drive, Ormond by the Sea (North peninsula) on a house my parents had bought for their retirement ::) Beach bum boy was using it first Lol!!! Living was great as I could use the school library ,and became active in the soccer/football team that was playing in the Daytona Beach YMCA fields. I did obtain sponsorship with Coronado Title Co for a Co-ed indoor soccer team that finish Champion in 1986!! It was easy as my team was made up of women from the Univ Central Florida(rank in top 10 in USA soccer) and resident guys from England , Greece, and Germany!

For a shorter story, time went on and while traveling met a young French girl (Martine) working in Paris living in Meaux Seine-et-Marne dept 77 Île de France region in 1989.  This was quickly followed by visits to her family and hers to mine and before I knew it, this independent young men was married on December 26, 1990 at City Island municipal courthouse in Daytona Beach, deciding to live there. We went all over together, visiting France every year thereafter.

 My last home was in Miramar ,Silver Lakes divison of Sapphire Bay sub-division in Broward county . While there came down to Biscayne Blvd and the French Consulat to become a French citizen in 2000; before moving permanently to France in August 23, 2003.  We had 3 wonderful boys, one older (born in DB) and then identical twins,(born in Hialeah). While continuing to work in Miami Beacon Center area and my wife by the MIA airport. I have to add again here, sorry, the trip was not without losses as upon arriving in France my dear late mother Gladys passed away on December 27 2007, and later in the Morbihan breton my dear late wife Martine passed away on April 30 2018, so life is a beach cannot be all glory, there are ups and downs , and these were really deep downs; still sad and will always be sad, there is no words. My blog posts sweeting the pain a bit.

While in Florida early on was very much involved in my University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ,Eagles Soar as told by the Duke of Edinburg to our Pres John Paul Riddle upon training the British aviation personnel for the defense of their island nation before and during WWII.

Daytona Beach ERAU diploma BS av management PF 24april1982

Daytona Beach ERAU student card 1982

I took part in the ERAU univ Soccer/football team as libero or central defender where we played all over the State of Florida from 1980 to 1982. Also, participated in intramural Volleyball, beach Volleyball ,and Softball always reaching semis or finals, and winning one in Volleyball ,and co ed indoor soccer at the YMCA of Daytona Beach,  and Beach volleyball in Miramar !!

Daytona Beach ymca co ed soccer champion 1986

db ERAU management club softball team pedro in green in front seated 1981

Miramar JL audio beach volley team Pedro left seated front row 2001

Daytona Beach ERAU certificate Volleyball intramural PF 1977

I,also, participated and was name Treasurer of the Univ Management Club, a great honor indeed as was voted by my peers. I signed myself the id card lol !!

Daytona Beach ERAU management club member PF 03jan1981

I did my jury duty in the criminal courthouse of Fort Lauderdale, which gladly escape been chosen for the final jury. It was awful sad there…I was picked twice for the selection but escape both times !

Ft Lauderdale courthouse PF jury duty sep95

I became involved with associations that were part of my job such as the National Association of Credit Management in USA. We had our branch out of Tampa, and also , Orlando.

Miami NACM member Inter High Tech PF30august1997

I had my first management job function with an outfit called Promark Distributors out of Beacon center in Miami. This allows me to be member of the above organisation. In the mean time I was call up by big Microsoft for a job interview, it went so well the HR person told me the only candidate send to met them was me! I interview with a whole gang including the 2nd men Steve Ballmer at the time who came in for a handshake , another indication I was on the lead. However, after discussing with the wife, we decided the move was too far from France, and the area we lived was better so I refuse to the astonishement of my collegues, you have refuse Microsoft!! Yep I did it my way !

Miami Promark commercial with PF c1993

Hialeah visit job interview schedule Microsoft Redmond WA 4april1997

Hialeah visit job interview schedule Microsoft Redmond WA my refusal PF 14May1997

I was involved with the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami and importing wines from France with Philippe Dreyfus, a great great great…nephew of Captain Dreyfus famous affair in France. Also, participated on the first Spanish wines tapas event held at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables that after I left it has become the now famous South Florida Wine Festival! The event at the Biltmore Hotel counted with 35 Spanish bodegas and several Spanish oriented restaurants in the greater Miami area. I , also, participated with Alberto Mueller a journalist with Diario de Las Americas and hooked up with Gourmet Group of Spain introducing Spanish wines at Sunset Corners store at 8701 SW 72nd St. I went up to be awarded certificate as knowledable of Spanish wines by ICEX and French wines by SOPEXA. I was invited by dinner/wine tastings by Chuck Cassidy senior buyer of Crown Wines & Spirits, which I patronise first the store in Biscayne blvd North Miami and later the US 1 1590 South Dixie Highway, Coral Gables. I,also, worked for a short period at the ABC Wines and Liquors store that was in US 1, 725 S. Yonge Street, Ormond Beach and was in charge of wine stock and ordering under manager JD Brandy !! 

Miramar Sopexa diploma on wine knowledge

 And my last forays into politics were in the early 90’s before my eyes open up to American politics and no more.  I continued to received recognition by Republican groups, which I kept them all for the tell tell of any bar lol !!!

In closing, I had the distinct pleasure to start using Cruises into the Caribbean with an outfit called Windjammers Barefoot Cruises. I did a post on it but it was great and many memorable moments of my stayed in Florida. Unfortunately, the boat Fantôme was sank and destroyed with crews on board by hurricane Mitch. I have the book of the sad story and a post in my blog. I have found me the certificate of participation!

Ormond Beach windjammers fantome certificate c1984

As I am having lots of personal items here and my name, let me remind you all these are personal private properties and are not to be use in any way or manner falling under the US DMCA copyright rules which I have posted in my blog here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/1-all-rights-reserved/

The Daytona Beach tourist office (my oldest boy was born here): https://www.daytonabeach.com/

The city of Ormond Beach on leisure services (we lived here): https://www.ormondbeach.org/258/Leisure-Services

The city of Hialeah on things to see (my twin boys were born here): https://www.hialeahfl.gov/101/Visit

The city of Miramar on parks and recreation (we lived here last) :https://www.miramarfl.gov/1726/Parks-Recreation

My last Greater Fort Lauderdale tourist office: https://www.sunny.org/

The Visit Florida tourist board on Central East Flahttps://www.visitflorida.com/places-to-go/central-east/

 The Visit Florida tourist board on South East Fla: https://www.visitflorida.com/places-to-go/southeast/

There you go folks, a lot more about me and my personal life in Central and South Florida ,where my working life took off exponentially ,that eventually took me to my belle France. My Florida will always be remembered !!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

October 2, 2022

My Florida !!!

Now far away in my new neck of the woods, the Morbihan Breton,sunny and clear reminds me of my Florida, The old Central and South Florida of my family and birthplace of my 3 sons, and I am nostalgic enough to update this older post with family trivia and less history of the place. After doing the trajects America ,Europe, America , and back to Europe, I like to remind myself of one special place ; the title is simple but the meaning is huge for us, this my story in Florida, the Sunshine State !(see other posts). Hope you enjoy it as I.

I had a brief visit in 1974 on the old National airline to visit my aunt (dad’s sister) in Miami Lake, However, it was my searching for an University to go to, saw one of my liking and trade in Daytona Beach, Florida and went there for 4 years Bachelor of Sciences degree.  This was ERAU or Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, simply the best in its field ; the Harvard of the Air ! Liking it so much or rather liking Daytona Beach so much, once back to worked in New Jersey could not remain there so decided to moved back to DB to live to the surprise of my parents. The independant boy was a determine young men and the beaches and bikinis was it lol!!!  This was the beginning of a beautiful story as was said in Casablanca, the movie.

daytona-beach-erau-dorm-bridge-1977-1978-year

I convince my parents to buy another home in Ormond by the Sea , north peninsula area while working in Daytona Beach, Volusia County, My parents did not took long to follow me within a year ) welcome, really we were very close and are with my Dad still with me. Growing up there made me visit other lands ,mostly in the Caribbean and Central ,South America, However, at the time Daytona Beach  was the spring training site for the baseball team of the Montreal Expos (French Canadians). French taken as a language in High School stayed with me and friendly with French students at the University.  For a shorter story,as already told in other post, as time went on and while traveling met a young French girl (Martine) working in Paris,born and  living in Meaux ,Seine-et-Marne dept 77 of the Île de France region in 1989.  This was quickly followed by visits to her family and hers to mine and before I knew it, this independent young men was married on December 26, 1990 at City Island municipal courthouse in Daytona Beach, deciding to live there. We went all over together, visiting France every year  then moved south to live and work at  North Miami, then Hialeah,in Miami-Dade county, and last Miramar in Broward county , While living in Silver Lakes division, Sapphire Bay sub division I became a  French citizen at the French consulate in Miami in 2000 , Eventually, moving permanently to France me in August 23, 2003, and after the house sold ,the rest of my family on December 13, 2003.  My parents again followed me and were given residency status immediately in France, We had 3 wonderful boys, one older (born in DB) and then identical twins,(born in Hialeah); the moved was not without sad events as my dear late mother Gladys passed away on December 27 2007 while living in Versailles, and with my dear late wife Martine passed away on April 30 2018,in our current home of Pluvigner, of my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of the lovely region of Bretagne , The saying goes we cannot have it all, sad and still sad and will always be sad, there is no words. My blog posts sweeting the pain a bit.Thank you all for reading my blog all these years since 2010.

I like to tell you briefly, really short as too many towns and places in dear Florida, a State will never forget the experiences and which have many family members still living all over.  I will go into nostalgia lane to tell you of places we lived for 18 years ! I am used by now on Europe to use kilometers ,but below anything in km to miles is equal to 1 km = 0,621371 miles.ok.

Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Florida is a peninsula of 700 km and a narrow part in the form of a narrow “stove tail” (Panhandle).Climate change from North (cold really) to South (warmer) The coast of Florida extends for some 1 930 km. Considering the bays and capes, the cumulative length reaches about 13 600 km. No other U.S. state, except Alaska, has a longer coastline then Florida with as well more than 4 500 islands. Florida ; with almost 18% of its area under waters , it has nearly 1 700 courses of water, 7 800 sweet water lakes, 700 springs, 44 500 km2 of wetlands;  Florida has the largest concentration of  springs/water sources in the World. Okeechobee is the most extensive with more than 1 800 km2; It is shallow ,between 4.5 and 6 meters, like most Floridian lakes. Florida has five geographical areas such as the East Coast, West Coast, Central Florida, Panhandle (North), Southern Tip (Keys), and 12 National Park Service parks. The main highways are Interstate 4, Interstate 10, Interstate 75 and Interstate 95. The U. S. Route 1 connects Key West to the Canadian border. This section of the US Route 1, in the Keys, called Overseas Highway, is about 150 km long and has 42 bridges including the Seven Mile Bridge, the longest in Florida with 10.8 km . It has four international airports which I have used two,Orlando, Miami, with Fort Lauderdale and Tampa as well. A bit of history I like.  Since its discovery, in 1513, by the Spaniard Juan Ponce de León who baptized it “La Pascua Florida” (“Easter Flowers” in reference to Palm Sunday), Florida is an issue for the European colonial powers before integrating  it into the United States in 1845. The Pánfilo de Narváez expedition discovered the West coast of Florida, but he is killed in an Amerindian attack in 1528. In 1539, Hernando de Soto landed near the present day Bradenton near Tampa Bay and explored the interior of the land. The French Huguenot Jean Ribault approached the eastern coast of Florida in 1562 and took possession of Florida in the name of the king of France. He built the Charlesfort fortress to defend the new colony of French Florida. In 1564, René de Laudonnière founded a second fort in French Florida, Fort Caroline (Jacksonville).  In 1565,  after a great battle with the French at Fort Matanzas (massacre of the French…)  the Spanish colony of San Augustin was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés: It thus became the oldest colony of the United States occupied continuously by Europeans. The Treaty of Paris (1783) gave Florida back to Spain, without specifying its borders. The United States wants the old pre-1767 limit to be resumed. The Treaty of San Lorenzo ratified this choice in 1795. Florida was ceded to the United States by the Adams-Onís Treaty, signed in 1819, and formed a territory in 1822. The capital is located in Tallahassee, halfway between Saint Augustine and Pensacola. On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the United States. The Cold War (1947-1991) intensified the development of the military-industrial complex; Florida is becoming a major issue because of its proximity to the communist island of Cuba. It accommodates thousands of Cuban refugees. Due to this immigration, Miami gradually became one of the major economic centers of Latin America. During the Missile crisis of 1962, the region could be directly threatened by Soviet nuclear missiles. As part of the competition with the USSR and because of its geographical location, Florida hosts the Patrick Air Force base and the launch base of Cape Canaveral (NASA).

My dear Volusia County stretches between the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean. Volusia County was named after its largest community, Volusia, when the Florida legislature created it by dividing Orange County on December 29, 1854. The county is geographically divided into East Volusia,  also known as the Greater Daytona Beach Area, or the Halifax Area;  Southeast Volusia,  also known as the Greater New Smyrna Beach Area, and  West Volusia,  also called Saint John’s River Country (named for the Saint John’s River which lies nearby),  Adjacent counties are on the north ,Flagler , on the south Brevard, also south is Orange, and southwest is Seminole, west is Lake ,and northwest is Marion and Putnam counties. Interstate 95 is the main south-to-north interstate highway along the east coast of the state (an up to Canada)  as well as in Volusia County it has eight interchanges  or exits, three of them in Daytona BeachInterstate I-4 is the main west-to-east interstate highway through Central Florida (going from DB to Orlando to Tampa), however it also serves as the westernmost interstate highway in the county. It has  seven interchanges and becomes State Road 400 east of I-95. US 1.is the main local road through eastern Volusia County, running south to north. This one is more city central and slower traffic. US 17  is the main local road through western Volusia County, running south to north. US 92 (can go to Deland and Orlando)  west-to-east route shares a concurrency with US 17 further south in Polk County until branching off onto the International Speedway Boulevard in DB. Florida A1A.is the scenic coastal alternate route to US 1, which also includes some county road spurs and extensions. It goes parallel to the Atlantic Ocean.  SR 40, a west-to-east road in northern Volusia County enters the county from the Astor Bridge over the St. Johns River and heads east towards Ormond Beach or towards Ocala and west Florida on the other direction.

coming-out-married-in-daytona-beach-civil-court-dec-1990

My glorious little town of Ormond by the Sea boundaries include the Volusia/Flagler county line on the north, the city of Ormond Beach on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Halifax River on the west. The area has traditionally been called the North Peninsula, although other nicknames such as OBC or OBTS are sometimes used.  My oldest boy was born in Halifax Hospital in nearby Daytona Beach. There are two principal roads, State Road A1A (also known as Ocean Shore Boulevard), which runs along the Atlantic Ocean, and John Anderson Drive, which runs along the Halifax River. A bit of history I like . The Timucuan Indians, who in the 16C occupied a large village called Nocoroco, located at the site of Tomoka State Park. Another nice area which I used a lot is the North Peninsula State Park, comprising approximately 800 acres (3.2 km2) along the A1A Atlantic Ocean road facing the sea! This is where I lived most. The wonderful  Bicentennial park facing the ocean we love , and then some more later on, The city we live is not a city but an incorporated area of the county of Volusia, however, our services and leisure activities like the park most were done out of the city of Ormond Beach.

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daytona-beach-halifax-hospital

And we came south to the newly name Miami Dade County . The old Dade County was created on January 18, 1836, under the Territorial Act of the United States. The county was named after Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed in 1835 in the Second Seminole War, at what has since been named the Dade Battlefield. On November 13, 1997, voters changed the name of the county from Dade to Miami-Dade  to acknowledge the international name recognition of Miami. Adjacent counties are north, Broward, southwest Monroe, and northwest Collier. It has great wonderful National Park Service such as the Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park, and Everglades National Park.  Miami International Airport, located in an unincorporated area in the county, serves as the primary international airport of the Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world , Miami-Dade County has 10 major expressways such as  I-75,(to go home!) ,  I-95, I-195 / SR 112,  I-395 / SR 836,  US 1,  US 27,  US 41,  US 441, and  SR A1A(ocean).

key-biscayne-bill-boggs-beach-cafeteria-faro-aug09

Our first foot on Dade County or later Miam-Dade county was North Miami, The city lies on Biscayne Bay.  Originally the town of “Arch Creek”, the area was incorporated as the “Town of Miami Shores”, which was renamed the “Town of North Miami” in 1931. It was reincorporated as a city in 1953. The city is also home to the Oleta River State Park, which is the state’s largest urban park. The park contains one of the largest concentrations of Australian pine trees found in a Florida state park. The Arch Creek Park  opened in 1982. Today, Arch Creek is an 8-acre (32,000 m2) site at the junction of N.E. 135th Street (right where our apt was!!!) and Biscayne Boulevard, and offers many opportunities for botanical, historical and archaeological study. It has a museum/nature center modeled after an early Florida pioneer home, displaying Indian artifacts dug from the grounds, and live animals from the nearby hammock. Remains of the original coontie mill are still visible across the creek, and the park exists as the only preserved archaeological site in the County.

And memorable close Hialeah ,the sixth-largest city in Florida and is the only place in the county, other than Homestead, Florida, to have its own street grid numbered separately from the rest of the county (which is otherwise based on Miami Avenue at Flagler Street in downtown Miami, the county seat).  Hialeah has the highest percentage of Hispanic population in the USA with almost 98% . My twin boys were born in Hialeah Hospital! The city’s name is most commonly attributed to Muskogee origin, “Haiyakpo” (prairie) and “hili” (pretty) combining in “Hialeah” to mean “pretty prairie”. Alternatively, the word is of Seminole origin meaning “Upland Prairie”. The city is located upon a large prairie between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades.

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Broward County Its county seat is Fort Lauderdale. It was founded on April 30, 1915. It was intended to be named Everglades County, but then-Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Ion Farris amended the bill that established the county to be named in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Governor of Florida from 1905 to 1909. In 1915, Palm Beach County and Dade County contributed nearly equal portions of land to create Broward County.  Adjacent counties are north Palm Beach, south Miami Dade, west Collier, and northwest Hendry. The Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport serves as the primary airport of the Broward County area. The airport is bounded by the cities Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Dania Beach;  three miles (5 km) southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale  and 21 miles (34 km) north of Miami. The airport is near cruise line terminals at Port Everglades and is popular among tourists bound for the Caribbean. Te major roads passing by it are the Interstate 95, I-75 ,I-595 (Port Everglades Expressway), Florida’s Turnpike (SR 91) Florida’s Turnpike Homestead Extension (SR 821) ,and Toll State Road 869 (Sawgrass Expressway).

And our last foothold in the USA was Miramar in Broward county, and it was name after the city of Miramar in Havana, Cuba (also near where I was born). The city has adjacent towns such as Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, West Park ,and  Miami Gardens. To the extreme west you find the Everglades! Miramar (en. seaview) was founded by A.L. Mailman to serve as a “bedroom community” for nearby Miami and Fort Lauderdale. He bought the original property he was to develop from H.D. Perry, Sr. in 1953.  The city was incorporated on May 26, 1955 bordered by the following cities,Pembroke Pines to the northwest and north,Hollywood to the  northeast, east West Park, and south Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, and a bit of Miami Lakes. My sons went to school here at Silver Lakes Elementary School, memorable last school in the USA and they fondly remember it as well as their teachers! We lived at Silver Lakes Division west of I-75 interstate road on Sapphire Bay sub division our last spot in the USA and very fondly remembered it.

miramar-silver-lakes-elem-school-last-for-kids-aug09

pedmar-front-of-our-home-in-florida-2003

There you go folks , now you got all you need on Florida,and heck even me lol !! We fondly remembered the Sunshine State, and love it. We made a decision to move to France and we do not regretted either as it has been a roller coaster of fun and memories. Now ,the French reason is gone, but we still very much attach to France thanks to her courage and determination. My Martine, never to be forgotten. For now hope you enjoy my Florida.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

October 1, 2022

My personal life in Perth Amboy NJ !!!

As usually the case exchanging with a fellow blogger Valenciartist came upon the idea of telling you a bit more than just travel and anecdotes in my blog. After all, my life has been very rich and why not have some in my blog which is after all my life’s stories. Therefore , here is a bit extra on me from my life in Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, and New Jersey !!! Of course, I have other posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy this bit of personal trivia as I.

I lived for 13 years of my early life in Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey. This is not counting the 4 years spent in univ in Fla. Our county seat was/is New Brunswick , where I became a US Citizen in 1980! My first contact with the American scene. My English is from here, my last years of middle elementary school, all of high school, my first driving license, sports, worked in parents small businesses as well as industry to save for University studies in Florida. Wonderful early life ,always fondly remember; Perth Amboy forever !!!

My schools! The William C. McGinnis Middle School for grades 5–8; and Perth Amboy High School for grades 9–12.  All from the 7th grade onwards , memories never forgotten and fondly remembered. The card below 1985 was just my student number ok,the year was 1977 !  I had an inclination for aviation to be a pilot but because of eyesight restrictiong end up in Aviation Management. Before university studies took a home course from the California Aircraft Institute of Los Angeles Calif in Spanish in April 1978.  Then, after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ of Daytona Beach, Florida (see post) came back for my working experience outside the family at  EWR  Newark International Airport, Newark, with an outfit called Butler Aviation an FBO doing ticketing for charter flights from England and Greece as well as the UPS second day air delivery contract. This only lasted for about a year, as I realised I missed Florida, and went back to live there by 1985.

Perth Amboy middle school Mcginnis diploma PF 19june1973

Perth Amboy HS diploma of PF 20june1977

Perth Amboy HS student card c1977

Perth Amboy Calif Aircraft Inst diploma PF 3April1978

However, while in Perth Amboy, I took my training to be an income tax preparer for individuals and small businesses from H&R Block, the leading firm in the field at the time.  I was able to do the income tax for many families and small businesses such as ice cream parlors, misc vendors, and grocery store owners.

Perth Amboy H&R tax training accomp certificate 5dec1983Perth Amboy H&R tax training certificate PF 12May1983

My other function if you will is that I became a Notary Public and did several documents to individuals such as marriage affidavits and small business such as gathering of licenses. I became a member of the American Society of Notaries.

Perth Amboy Notary Public id card PF 8Nov1982

Perth Amboy Americans society of notaries member PF 6Dec1982

I , also , dwell into Real Estate and became an real estate salesperson with the ERA Clausen & Munson of Metuchen with the branch in Perth Amboy. I became license in real estate and was member of the Middlesex County Realtors Assoc and the NJ State Realtors assoc as well. My best year was a Million Dollar Club member selling 28 houses in one year. Unfortunately was hook up with casino gambling as it was opening up in Atlantic City and not much benefit from all this money. The gambling has long ago stop.

Perth Amboy State New Jersey real estate license PF 1983

Perth Amboy Realtor Certificate PF feb84

Perth Amboy Clausen and Munson Real Estate office members PF c1985

Perth Amboy Clausen Real Estate office sales force newspaper ad with PF c1985

And yes, well, lol! I was ,also ,an insurance salesmen with health and life licenses selling all king of products including IRA retirement and mutual funds with the Mutual of Omaha Ins Co out of Omaha, Nebraska with my office in Piscataway, NJ in the William Morgan division , not far from home. Here , I also, excel reaching builders’ Club status and was ranked 6th in the nation amongst first year producer/salespersons, and 2nd in the North East region of the USA! Group pic below I am first row 3rd from the right!

Perth Amboy Mutual of Omaha recognition Builders club 1984

Perth Amboy Mutual of Omaha ins sales recon PF c1985

Perth Amboy State New Jersey insurance license Mut Omaha code 1 life 4april1983

Perth Amboy State New Jersey life insurance license Mut Omaha code 2 health 4april1983

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In other things, I was chosen to serve as an official challenger in the US elections by my then party Republican. I am now independant, no need to be in any, they are all the same….

Perth Amboy middlesex county official challenger PF c1986

However, before I realised the above, was very much involved in all local ,state ,and national political levels with the Republican party. I have achieved many distinctions from those years even meeting Presidents Ronald Reagan,and George Bush Sr, as well as NJ governor Tom Kean.

Perth Amboy Nat Rep Congress Comm recog PF jul86

Perth Amboy RNC recog PF 1983

In this run, I was elected as Second Vice Chairman of the Republican party at the local level on December 6 ,1984. And the awards and recognition follow like raindrops if only folks know of the games of a two party system! Enough said.

Perth Amboy The News TRibune newspaper news of VC Rep party PF jun84

As I am having lots of personal items here and my name, let me remind you all these are personal private properties and are not to be use in any way or manner falling under the US DMCA copyright rules which I have posted in my blog here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/1-all-rights-reserved/

The city of Perth Amboyhttps://www.perthamboynj.org/

The official Middlesex County on its history: http://www.middlesexcountynj.gov/About/Pages/History.aspx

The Central New Jersey tourist board on things to see includes Perth Amboy: https://www.gocentraljersey.com/historical-sites-tours/

The New Jersey tourist board on Perth Amboy: https://visitnj.org/nj/gateway-region/history#1|7||p_Perth%20Amboy|||||||one-time||

There you go folks, a lot more about me and my life in Perth Amboy New Jersey where my dreams began in freedom after passing by dictatorships of left and right in Cuba and Spain. My PA NJ will always be remembered !!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

September 3, 2022

The Pont Mac Racken of Mayenne !

We usually passed by many towns in our road warrior trip in my France. We come to see the hugely popular, the architecturally and historically beautiful and old, and do spent some off the beaten paths. However, seldom we see spots that marked our trip, this is the case of Mayenne in the department of Mayenne no 53 in the Pays de la Loire region.

There are three bridges over the Mayenne river. The pont Mac-Racken from the 19C today is the route I take the N12 to drive into Paris toll free; the bridge was done in 1834 first naming itself Ambroise de Loré, then Orléans, ,Caisse d’Epargne and finally Mac Racken honouring the sacrifice of this American soldier that allowed the passage of the Weaver group 90th division to cross the river in WWII to free the left bank in June 5 1944; there is a commemorating plaque there. In memoriam , the bridge is named after him.

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I like to tell you about the pont Mac Racken of Mayenne and give credit to whom credit is deservingly so. The construction of the now call Mac-Racken Bridge began on May 15, 1824. Originally the Ambroise-de-Loré bridge, the structure will successively take the names of Pont d’Orléans, Petit Pont, Caisse de Épargne bridge and then Mac-Racken bridge The current name of the bridge is a tribute to Sergeant James Mac-Racken who, on the night of August 5, 1944, defused the 125 kg and 15 cases of dynamite that the Nazis had placed on deck. Of the three bridges that existed at the time in the city, it will be the only one that will remain after the war. On August 5, 1946, a commemorative stele bearing the inscription “Here to save this bridge James Mac Racken of the 315th bon, U.S.A. Sacrificia on August 5, 1944” is posed.

mayenne-pont-mac-racken-architecture-feb16

His name was James Dougal Mac Racken, ASN 34 881 595 – Compagny A – 315th The Enginer Combat Battalion, 90th infantry division. This American soldier sacrificed himself to defend a bridge in Mayenne, which now bears his name, on August 5, 1944.  Born June 1, 1916 in Red Spring, North Carolina ; USA, he was 28 when he landed on the Normandy beaches in June 1944. His infantry division, the 90th, was responsible for liberating Mayenne. Two out of three bridges have already been destroyed, only that of the Caisse d’Epargne (savings bank) can allow a rapid advance of the Americans. On the night of August 5, 1944, his team specializing in mine clearance had the mission of cutting the conductors, connected to a 125-kilogram bomb and 15 cases of dynamite, placed on deck by the Nazis. This American soldier sacrificed himself to save the bridge of the Caisse d’Epargne and thus allow his comrades to liberate the city of Mayenne. Protected by two tanks, the deminers progress. Sergeant Mac Racken leaps onto the deck, uncovered, and cuts the wires. He was shot by Nazis skirmishers and machine gunners, positioned on rue Roullois. The Weaver group of the 90th division can cross the bridge. From 5h30, the progress of the Americans is general. Mayenne is conquered, then liberated.

mayenne-pont-mac-racken-river-feb16

When he died, James Mac Racken left behind a wife, Maggie, and a three-year-old daughter, Myrtis. For Christmas, the city will offer little Myrtis a doll. On each anniversary date, the city of Mayenne invited Maggie Mac Racken to attend the celebrations. But her finances did not allow her to cross the Atlantic. A North Carolina newspaper was interested in this story. Readers quickly mobilized and raised more than $ 1,500 to help the family travel to France. The information is relayed by the national branch of the newspaper, and everything is accelerating. In July 1961, seventeen years after the liberation of Mayenne, the widow Mac Racken finally went to the place of sacrifice of her husband. Amén RIP Soldier France does not forget.

mayenne-parking-by-river-floods-and-city-feb16

The Mayenne dept 53 tourist office on Mayennehttps://www.mayenne-tourisme.com/les-vallees-de-la-mayenne/la-haute-mayenne/nos-incontournables/

The American War Memorial on the bridgehttps://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=524&MemID=792

There you go folks, nice history ,great story , and one not to be forgotten by all those who cherish freedom. Mayenne remembers you and so do we, the French. For the history buffs , and freedom loving folks,worth the detour me think. Note when we got there the Mayenne river was overflown.Also, right by the river is the Mayenne tourist office.

And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

August 30, 2022

Rio de Janeiro !!

In my early travels of my life, the intensity was gear towards Latin America big cities as was closer, and fewer pictures…. And later base in France, the trips were done to other smaller towns all over Brazil, (see posts) ,One of my favorite destinations as to big cities was Rio de Janeiro; this would be sort of an introduction to the city.. And not to forget my adreline visit to Niteroi across the bay of Guanabara ! I like to update this older post with new text and links to revive old wonderful memories for me and you maybe. I found some personal pics of this adventure ! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

rio-de-janeiro-high-over-niteroi-overlooking-copacabana-brazil-1999

Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The city was based originally on the Bay of Guanabara, discovered in 1502 by Gaspar de Lemos and Gonçalo Coelho, captains of the fleet of the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who discoverered Brazil. The inhabitants of the city are “Cariocas”. The inhabitants of the State of Rio de Janeiro are “Fluminenses”. It is known worldwide for its carnival, its beaches (Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema) as well as its statue of Christ the Redeemer at the top of the Corcovado. Rio de Janeiro was the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, following the escape of the Portuguese court during the invasion of the Napoleonic troops (1808-1821), then of the Empire of Brazil (1822-1889), of the República Velha (old Republic) (1889-1930), of the Estado Novo (New State) (1937-1945) and the beginning of the Second Republic until 1960.

You really need about two weeks to see it all and I only had four days and busy with business rdv but nevertheless had a great time, In my opinion , the things to see here are the Sugar Loaf (Pao de Açùçar) a rocky peak at the altitude of 395 meters ,always been the symbol of Rio. The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer (O Cristo Redentor), a cross-arm, stands on the peak of the Corcovado with a height of 710 meters and can be seen from all areas of Rio. The statue measures 38 meters high. The work, dates from 1931.

The many wonderful beaches such as my favorite : Copacabana (see post) and its extension to the north, the Leme, with its 4.5 km of length that describe a perfect curve is certainly the preferred beach of foreigners. It was in the 1920’s that it gained its notoriety, with the construction, in 1923 of the prestigious Copacabana Palace, the only luxury hotel in all Latin America at the time. And this is the area I normally stayed while visiting the city. At the Othon Palace Hotel (see post)

Ipanema Beach is located in the most exclusive residential area of the city. Today, Ipanema is the center of fashion and sophistication. The most luxurious shops in Rio line the streets of Ipanema and Leblon. Ipanema Beach, less extensive than that of Copacabana, is the venue for the golden youth of Rio and the homosexual community. Less lively and less noisy than Copacabana, Ipanema is arguably the most romantic of the twenty-five beaches in Rio. São Conrado is located in a cove surrounded by mountains covered with dense vegetation. This is where the Pedra da Gávea rises, a huge block of granite much more impressive in its shape and size, with its 842 meters, than the famous Sugar loaf. The beach enjoys a certain popularity with the youth of Rio, the young people of the favelas and the intellectuals. With its 18 km long, the beach of Barra da Tijuca is at the same time the longest, but also the least frequented in Rio during the week. At the end of Barra, the small beach of Recreio dos Bandeirantes stretches in the shelter of a natural pier that forms a real miniature bay. From the Recreio, a road climbs into the mountain before descending to the beach of Prainha, frequented by the surfers, then that of Grumari, wonderfully secluded.

The mountain of Pedra da Gávea peaks at 842 meters of altitude. It overlooks the long beaches of fine sand. It is accessed after the Botanical garden.  The hill of Urca (Morro da Urca), this small mountain formation of 220 meters above sea level is located at the entrance of the Bay of Guanabara. The Hill also offers a great view of the Bay of Guanabara and offers a cable car that makes it possible to get to the sugar loaf. Each of the 141 hectares of the Botanical garden hosts specimens of the Brazilian and world flora. The neighborhood of Santa Teresa, with its cobbled and tortuous alleys, with its spectacular views of the bay, is certainly one of the most picturesque in Rio. The most attractive way to access it is to take the famous tramways built in 1896.The forest of Tijuca (Floresta da Tijuca) ;the largest urban forest in the world, with an area of about 3 200 hectares, includes hundreds of species of flora and fauna found only in the “Mata Atlantica” and many of which are endangered. Places such as the Cascatinha (small waterfall), the Mayrink Chapel , the Mirador Excelsior, the Baracão, the Paulo and Virginia Caves, the Fairy Lake and the Solitudes pond. The Sambadromo-Marquês de Sapucaí, bordered by concrete bleachers, was built in 1984 to host the prestigious Rio carnival, which was held previously in the streets of the city, most often on the avenue Presidente Vargas. Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Avenue Marquês of Sapucaí, usually open to traffic, is transformed for a few days in the Passarela do Samba (passarelle of Samba)  and sees the most prestigious samba schools in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro has many museums ,of all sizes, I have been briefly to the top major ones such as these : The National Historic Museum .This palace painted in pink, emblematic color of imperial buildings, is one of the oldest buildings in Rio. Tower Fortress (its Subterraneans serve as a prison for black slaves in the 17C and 18C), Arsenal, weapons factory, Siege of the military academy, it was only converted into a museum in 1922. Its collections, spread over fourteen halls, retrace the history of Imperial Brazil (19C). It has a library of 70 000 volumes. The National Museum. This ancient palace was once the home of Joao VI and the imperial family, until the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. It contains the largest scientific collection in Brazil: Zoology, mineralogy, archaeology, ethnology. It is possible to see the meteorite fallen in the state of Bahia in 1888, the Bendego, which weighs 5 300 kgs as well as a curious mummy of an Egyptian woman: her legs are covered separately with strips (traditionally, the body is wrapped in one piece) . The Museum of Fine Arts the largest collection of art in Rio, it presents paintings of the Italian, Flemish, Spanish, Portuguese, English and Peruvian schools of the 16C, 17C and 18C. The Brazilian gallery presents paintings from the colonial period, the 19C and the 20C: Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Pancetti, Anita Malfatti, Alfredo Volpi, Manabu Mabe and Djanira.

And beautiful Churches , passed by them, such as, Church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro white and graceful, the Church of Glória dominates from its height the bay of Guanabara. Built in 1739, this chapel was intimately linked to the life of the imperial family. In his arms, Joao VI carried his granddaughter, Princess Maria da Glória, to present her at the altar, and Don Pedro I made the same with the future Emperor Pedro II. The decoration is made of carved wood and azulejos. The Monastery of Saint-Benoît (Mosteiro de São Bento);  Gregorian chant can be heard every day at 11h. and 17h30. Built in 1641 by two monks who wanted to base their order, this monastery is a characteristic example of colonial Baroque. It is possible to see in the Church a work of carved wood, covered with gold leaves. The Church of the Third-Order of Saint-François-de-la-Penance (Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência): Very baroque, fully sculpted by hand . Jacaranda Furniture and solid silver chandeliers that illuminate, at dusk, the panel painted in the roof of the nave, representing Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy receiving the stigmata.

In all a wonderful place, however, the pictures I gathered and kept of a personal nature were on my hanggliding trip to nearby Niteroi !! It is easy to cross the Bay of Guanabara to get to Niterói or the islands, from where you discover a magnificent view of the city of Rio and the lush mountains that crimp it, Briefly, Niteroi was the village of São Lourenço dos Índios was recognized by the central government and given the new name of Vila Real da Praia Grande in 1819. On March 6, 1835, Vila Real da Praia Grande was officially renamed Niterói, It is 13 km from Rio link by the Rio-Niteroi bridge and a catamarans service. The main thing to see here is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), housed in a building built by Oscar Niemeyer. For an anecdote, Niteroi is the birthplace of Leonardo Nascimento de Araújo, footballer and former player and sporting director of Paris Saint Germain (PSG). However, as said for me was a trip to paragliding off Niteroi, and this was the place ! You can do the paragliding tandem flight in the Parque Da Ciudade of Niteroi (city park) with Rio Tandem, Their webpage http://www.riotandem.com/paragliding-in-niter-i.html

And the Parque da Ciudade of Niteroi: https://www.nitfly.com.br/parque-da-cidade-niteroi?lang=en

rio-de-janeiro-from-niteroi-to-copacabana-c1988

rio-de-janeiro-bay-to-copacabana-pf-c1988

The official Rio de Janeiro tourist officehttps://riotur.rio/en/welcome/

The Rio de Janeiro prefecture local govt on tourismhttp://www.rio.rj.gov.br/web/smc/museus

The Brazil tourist board on Rio de Janeirohttps://www.visitbrasil.com/en/2022/02/18/destino-rio-de-janeiro-rj-ingles/

There you go folks, a wonderful city to visit even with few pictures, however, the memories lingered forever. Hope you enjoy this oldie post on one of the world’s loveliest city ,Rio de Janeiro. And who knows back to Niteroi. I always looking forward to be back, eventually.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

August 24, 2022

My tunnels of Havana !!!

It’s not easy to find pictures that are in several modes from paper to usb , vhs videos to cd roms but finally got to these ones. I like to have it in my blog and hope you enjoy it as much as I. This is going back deep back in my life when as a boy lived in Havana or La Habana or San Cristobal de la Habana! I remembered walking a lot around the main points there and was able to visit again as recently as 2012 to see it more dilipated than ever ; like if I really was born here ? I like to tell you my story from old books and brochures of my Havana on the Tunnels of Havana. Memories forever ! Hope you enjoy it as I.

For years, communications between the urban center of Havana and the west of the city were established by crossing the Almendares River through the existing bridges: Puentes Grandes, built by the French engineer La Carriere de la Tour at the beginning of the 19C on the Almendares river in the neighborhood of ​​the Cerro. The Calle 23rd Bridge, in the first decade of the 20C; the iron one in the second decade, and the old Pote bridge, built in 1919 for the Miramar residential development, which was demolished to replace it with the Tunel de Calzada tunnel, also known as the Tunel de la Quinta tunnel, which crosses the Almendares River near the Torreón de la Chorrera through the place occupied by the old Pote Bridge, connecting 5ta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) in Miramar with Calle Calzada street and the Malecón in Havana.

The Tunel de Calzada or Quinta Avenida (5th avenue) has two caissons with a total length of 200 meters and a longitudinal slope of 6% on each side. It has 4 tracks (two in each direction) of 3.35 meters wide each, and a free height of 4.25 meters in the center. Like the other tunnels, 3 levels of lighting were planned in the entrance areas and in the central area to adjust them to the external light. The problem of evacuating rainwater was solved by means of a drainage system towards the sea by a main pumping installation with two self-starting pumps of 600 m3/h each. Four cisterns with a total capacity of 300 m3 ensured the water tank during heavy rains and would be used in case of fire. It is done below the Almendares river near its mouth.  The work, inaugurated on June 12, 1959, was carried out by the construction company Societé des Grands Travaux de Marseille (France).

Havana tunnel quinta avenida apr12

The Tunel de Linea tunnel aka Almendares (my tunnel when a child taken to the city center) in the Vedado neighborhood built by Cuban engineers and builders with construction work starting in 1951 and ending in 1953. This one done with architect and construction company from Cuba. All the electromechanical equipment of the tunnel could be activated from the boards in the control booths. According to the original project, the 6 installed pumps could evacuate the flow of water coming from heavy rains. The Tunel de Linea or Almendares was the first, inaugurated in the middle of 1953. It is equipped with a lighting system that uses 880 cold cathode tubes of 8 feet each, and the lighting is graduated by means of a photoelectric cell according to the brightness of the day. The tunnel light is more intense at the entrance than at the exit, which prevents sudden changes in vision. The ventilation system is served by four air extractors of 75,000 cubic feet each, and all four work automatically through a carbon monoxide analyzer that acts according to the accumulation of this gas inside the tunnel. Three cisterns collect rainwater from the tunnel approaches, water that is drained by six bilge pumps, two for each cistern, capable of discharging 3,000 gallons per minute. The tunnel has a total width of 16.85 meters, with two drainage ways. 6.57 meters each one and two paths each way, divided by a resounding separator that indicates to the driver when the vehicle is diverted. The ventilation gallery, 1.70 meters wide, in the center, separates the two tracks and divides the tunnel into two equal halves. The height is 4.30 meters. The thickness of the floor plate measures 3.35 meters, and the river runs 1.50 meters above the roof level. The length of the tunnel in its covered part is 216 meters, and the two ramps that give access to the tunnel on both sides measure 306.40, thus, the work has a total of 522.40 meters.

The Tunel de la Bahía (bay tunnel) with entrance also through the Ave. del Puerto. the preliminary works of the future tunnel to the North American firm Raymon Concrete Pile Company, which is associated with the designers Palmer and Baker, Inc., and with Coverdale and Colpitt that would be in charge of carrying out the traffic census , Then, came a French company, which not only presents a project, but also offers the financing and the budget for the works. The project was awarded to the French company, the Societé des Grands Travaux de Marseille (France); the on-site inspection was carried out by the Frederick Snare Corporation and the higher management by the National Development Commission of Cuba, According to the approved project, the central zone of the tunnel is made up of five sections or prefabricated concrete boxes, four of which which have a length of 107.50 meters and a central box of 90 meters. The layout of this tunnel runs under the bottom of the Bay of Havana, between 12 and 14 meters. The drainage system was made taking advantage of the topographical characteristics where drains collect rainwater and take it to the sea. In addition to this, two tanks with a capacity of 500 m3 each were built for the accumulation of rainwater. Water is extracted from the cisterns with six pumping equipment of 2,200 g/m each, two on the Havana city side and four on the Cabaña fortress side. The tunnel allows the passage of four traffic lanes, each 3.35 meters wide. and it is 733 meters long and a total length of the connection work of more than 1,600 meters, which also includes the West (Havana) and East (Toll Zone) accesses. A telephone line with an automatic exchange of 28 pairs linked different places in the tunnel with 7 telephones installed in series within it.

havana tunnel de la bahia under the bay aug98

There is no specific webpage for the Tunnels of Havana, but the info above taken from my old books/brochures of my Tunnels of Havana. The pictures taken from paper pictures that I took in my last trip there in 2012. Again, hope you enjoy the post and see my other posts on Havana in my blog.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

August 24, 2022

Havana , a step back in time !

Again was looking in my vault of photos, and I came up with some older photos of a time gone by ,of memories not to be forgotten, and family roots. I have written several posts on this native experience of mine very translucent as the times goes by and memory starts to flicker. Let me update this older post and tell you a bit more of my dear Havana or La Habana or San Cristobal de La Habana.

It was the ultimate Caribbean destination, the “Paris of the Americas” (Hemingway ), the “key to the gulf (of Mexico) the bulkward of the West Indies (Caribbean ; King Philip II of Spain), to the whole of Cuba. It brings back memories of childhood, and still vibrates the world from no matter what place on the fence you might be. It is a beautiful city, if only can be kept in one piece. It was once the Pearl of the Antilles, the most chic city of Latin America until the revolution destroyed everything; streets names were changed, city names were change, province names were change, people left in hordes (over 2M), and more poverty than ever sets in all under the betraying revolution still there. I need to say this.

We spent many times by the Malecon and going in by the Paseo del Prado going into the Capitol (see post) last trip we were on a Ford 1954 lol!! things indeed change. All the Malecon area now is half and half some renovated with the help of Unesco and other crumbling.

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We just saw the inner soul of the buildings like the fabled Riviera hotel, by the Malecon, and tried to remember what they were before…

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And we passed by the University of Havana, where my Mom did studies before transfering to the Catholic Univ ,sister univ of Villanova in Philadelphia , PA USA at the time.

havana-univ-stairs-c1998

We passed by another favorite of my family that took me there still very early in my life. This is the Cinema Trianon!  It is at Linea (orLline because old tramway passed by here) beween A & B streets. It was built in 1920 ,and completely re-modeled in 1955 and became the release theatre for 20th Century Fox films. My picture is from when it was renovated back in 1998.

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And we move on to the Morro Castle (Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro) where they had remodeled the castle , and ate at the nice restaurant call the 12 Apostoles or apostles; which my Martine really enjoyed already with a few extra pounds.

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The official Cuba tourist board on Havana today : https://www.cuba.travel/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The official Infotur tourist guide to Cuba on Havana todayhttps://infotur.cu/en/destinos/havana

I found, bear in mind these are paper photos that I took a picture from. The pictures all date from 1998 when I made a family trip to introduce to my family there to my French wife.  One more post down memory lane, many moments spent with the family now almost all gone from there. I was the first one out 51 years ago !! Hope you enjoy the post as I. Havana is a city to fall in love for no matter what period of time in history you may choose to visit.  Enjoy the ride into nostalgia land. My dear late wife Martine enjoyed the trip down to my roots.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

August 24, 2022

The Bayside Marketplace of Miami !!!

So coming back at you in memory lane of yesteryear and never forgotten, why should I , spent 18 years in Central/South Florida, and my boys were born in Florida! I like to update this old, even it has change from my time living there. I will post on our  last visit there in 2009. It was one of our hangouts on weekends and holidays, and gladly still there ; let me tell you about the Bayside Marketplace of Miami !!!Pictures are from old paper photos, bear with me please.

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The Bayside Marketplace at 401 Biscayne Boulevard; Miami downtown is a wonderful tropical escape with boating cruises on Miami harbor and passing by the home of the famous. Souvenirs stores and great restaurants , all by the entrance to the Port of Miami cruise heaven. Bayside Marketplace is a two-story open air shopping center The banks of Biscayne Bay wrap around the property with the City of Miami marina at its side. Different from typical shopping malls, Bayside offers an entertainment experience with live music daily, restaurants, bars, open-container policy, family events, and the picturesque settings that come with a waterfront property. The shopping center was frequently featured on the crime drama TV series, Miami Vice! yes remember them?. The marina that runs alongside Bayside gives this Miami place a special cachet. You will particularly enjoy strolling there at the end of the evening. The mall is located on Biscayne Boulevard, (US 1) one of Miami’s largest avenues, at the edge of the marina preceding the harbor.

miami-bayside marina boats

The Bayside Marketplace is a shopping center where you can do your shopping in a very Latin atmosphere. An American mall, but also a Cuban one, in all its splendor and grandeur. It’s the perfect place to relax while being in the heart of Miami! Salsa musicians and dancers provide the relaxed atmosphere of the place. On the shopping side, more than 150 shops will allow you to find everything you need. Before or after your shopping, you can also stop and sit down at midday or in the evening. The Bayside Marketplace has the very big advantage of offering restaurants right by the water!  Finally, Bayside Marketplace is also the starting point for many cruises if you want to visit the bay in complete relaxation. Many companies await you for tours to discover the most beautiful villas of the stars.

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The Miami tramway, otherwise known as MetroMover, is the most convenient way to get to Bayside. Get off at the College / Bayside station then walk 3 minutes on 4th Street and you’re there! The Government Center metro/subway/tube station or known as Monorail is the closest to Bayside. Once down, allow 10 to 15 minutes of walking via 2nd or 3rd Street towards the sea. The bus lines that take you there are: 3 (this one also goes to Aventura Mall), 93 (only runs during the week), 95 (only runs during the week during peak hours), and no. 103, and no. 119. There is great parking we always use at the Bayside car park undeground. Check for the latest schedule on public transports as they may have change.  The Bayside Marketplace is right across from downtown or city center Miami with a plethora of shopping and restaurant/bars choices from all corners of the Earth. Also, a bit down on chic Brickell you now find plenty more newer shops at Brickell City Centre and the Mary Brickell Village.

The official Bayside Marketplace : https://www.baysidemarketplace.com/

The Miami and the Beaches tourist office on shopping/eating in city center : https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/things-to-do/shopping/where-to-shop-in-downtown-miami

Time change and do not know now, but for us back then ,it was a must stop on our go around road warrior trips in the area of Miami which is a lot more than just a city with about 7 different towns with Miami on their name. This one Bayside Marketplace is in Miami proper, and lots of family fun times. Hope you enjoy the post as I, and me will see for a return visit, eventually.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

August 23, 2022

The Dolphin Mall of Miami !!

Let me get back at you and update this memorable post of the good old days of my life in Florida USA or more specific going shopping in Miami at the Dolphin Mall !! I am bringing back this post because I recently spoked with a cousin who is just arriving to live in Miami (another cousin !) , and she went to the Dolphin with her kids and love it. One of the nice places me and my family did was going to the malls to shop and a drink or two, and the Dolphin Mall was one of my favorite hangouts when lived closed by in Silver Lakes, Miramar, Broward County but worked in Miami, Miami-Dade County. Last visited it when came back for a family visit in 2009 ! Now going back oh well …memories forever.

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The Dolphin Mall (11401 N.W. 12 Street) is a shopping center actually today’s Sweetwater, Miami-Dade County,  west of the city of Miami. Bordering the now call Ronald Reagan Turnpike toll road on the west , and the junction with the Dolphin Expressway or State Road 836  that takes you all the way to the McArthur Causeway into Miami Beach at  5th Street and right into the Beach!! You really need to pinpoints the places there as there are about 7 different towns with the name Miami on it . This mall opened on March 2001, and just a couple years later we left for good….

Of course, I always drove a car there… 8,500 free parking spaces including a state of the art parking garage, featuring a convenient race track layout for easy-access shopping. The Dolphin Mall is located from Miami Airport (10.5 km) Coral Gables (13.5 km) Coconut Grove (15.1 km) ,and Little Havana (16.8 km).  And last check the hours are open 7 days a week. Opening hours may vary from week to week. In general, the shopping center opens at 10h or 11h and closes at 20h (8 pm). For public transports you need to verify but last I know ,the Dolphin Mall is accessible via bus line 7. If you go to the Dolphin Mall on weekends, take bus 238 from Miami Airport. It will take you directly and non-stop to the Dolphin Mall. 

Dolphin Mall has more than 250 stores and a wide selection of discounted brands making it one of the most popular and busiest malls in Miami area. It is the largest mall in city of Miami metro area , and the second-largest mall in Miami-Dade County. The Mall is separated into three major universes:

Ramblas: built in the form of a village square with restaurants and entertainment

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Playa: designed to remind South Beach, there are stores for clothing, accessories and home decor.

Moda: which refers to Collins Avenue and Bal Harbor with its chic and refined atmosphere.

The Dolphin Mall brings together shops for clothes, video games, toys, cosmetics, etc., as well as restaurants, a 19-screen cinema, a children’s play center, an arcade and a bowling alley.  Experience life with an exciting mix of entertainment venues such as CineBistro, Dave and Buster’s and Bowlero Miami. Crave life with more than 30 diverse dining options in the Food Court, and 19 sit-down restaurants. 

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My favorites there were the JC Penney store,( no longer there) , and Burlington, plus the cinema, the outdoor live music events under the Florida sky, just sublime. come to shop or come to party is all there. Gap, Banana Republic, the Borders Book store (no longer there 2009 picture), FYE Entertainment (no longer there 2009 picture) , Sbarro’s,  The Cheesecake Factory, and TGIFridays, for food eating, a great place for the whole family. Below my dear late wife Martine and my boys.

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The official Dolphin Mallhttps://shopdolphinmall.com/

The Miami and the Beaches area tourist office on the Dolphin Mall: https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/thing-to-do/shopping/dolphin-mall/2874

There you go folks, it is becoming a must to visit to all comers in the Miami metro area for some serious shopping in a grand location. Things have change a lot since I left it in 2003, and even more since 2009, but according to local family still a place to be. Hope you enjoy the shopping at the  Dolphin Mall Sweetwater...

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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