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Real Estate

April 28, 2005
Florida’s best hotels

Gridskipper reminds us of the importance of lists:

"Lists are AWESOME. Who cares what they’re for? If it’s got a number by it, I’m in. NYPost obliged this week with its list of the 50 best Florida hotels, and three Miami-area establishments make the list. Topping the chart is The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, is both Miami’s “oldest, largest and just plain grandest hotel” and a relative bargain; rooms start at $159 per night.

If your demands include clean lines and white everythings, Miami Beach’s Townhouse Hotel is the way to go. Coming in at number nine, the Townhouse features a rooftop terrace that’s worth the price of the room (which start at only $115 a night)

Top ten after the jump:

1. The Biltmore, Coral Gables

2. Fisher Island Hotel & Resort, Fisher Island

3. The Breakers, Palm Beach

4. Sundy House, Delray Beach

5. Little Palm Island, Little Torch Key

6. The Setai, Miami Beach

7. Cheeca Lodge, Islamorada

8. Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton

9. The Townhouse, Miami Beach

10. Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Key Biscayne

hoteling like JLo on a budget (Gridskipper)
Florida’s 50 Best Hotels and Resorts (NYPost)

Posted by Gus at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

Best day to buy air tickets

Fodor's has a good tip about buying airline tickets. It seem that there really is a best day of the week to find the best deal - Wednesday at 1am.

In the airline business, fare wars are started by the weakest competitors, and the big guys tend to be the ones to raise fares. And all of that tends to happen on Fridays.

So how did Wednesday become the ideal day to strike a deal?

Let's say Airline A decides to raise fares. It usually does so at a late hour on a Friday night.

By Saturday, Airline A's major competitors will probably match that fare increase. Warning: Book your tickets over a weekend, and you might spend a whole lot more than you should.

But what if the major competitors DON'T match the higher fares? Then the instigator of the fare increase drops back down late on Sunday night or on Monday morning. If you already paid a higher fare, you still may be out of luck. Why? Because although you might still qualify for a lower fare and a ticket exchange, that terrible $75 change fee might wipe out your savings!

Here's another example. Let's say upstart Airline B decides to begin a fare war. Again, it happens late on a Friday night. Usually, some (but not all) of the majors will match that fare on routes where they compete with Airline B. Does that mean you should still book tickets over the weekend? Absolutely not. Remember, I said some, but NOT ALL of the majors will match that fare. By late Monday, depending on how that new fare is doing in the marketplace, Airline C might jump into the battle and offer an even LOWER fare, so look for all the other airlines to rush to match THAT one -- usually, by Tuesday -- and the war is on. Prices might go even lower on Wednesday. And that's when you strike. Wait any longer than Wednesday, and you may be in trouble. The wars usually end by Thursday morning.

Why? Friday is just around the corner! And the cycle starts all over again.

What's the best time to buy your ticket on Wednesday? One hour after Tuesday midnight (1:00 AM Wednesday morning). Why? At about midnight, the airlines usually reload their computers with the latest low-cost fares that were announced the previous day but will be canceled if they are not purchased within twenty-four hours."

Source: Fodor's Travel Wire

Posted by Gus at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

Dog shit capital of the world

City and residents collaborate to launch "Pooper Scooper Pilot Program":

"Due to the increasing number of concerns expressed by residents, the City of Miami Beach is implementing a new pilot program to address this issue along West Avenue beginning on May 1. The six-month "Pooper Scooper" program will assist pet owners in curbing their pets while keeping the City's swales, sidewalks and green spaces clean and beautiful."

Awhile back, me and my band wrote a song that addressed the issue; it's called "Dog Shit Capital of the World - South Beach, FL USA". Here is a lo-fi mp3 of the funny tune.

Posted by Gus at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

2006 Broadway Across America series

The 2006 Broadway Across America series in Miami Beach has been announced. The Season includes:

Movin' Out playing January 24-29
Hairspray playing February 21-26
Mamma Mia! playing May 2-7

For tickets and showtimes contact the Jackie Gleason Theater.

Posted by Gus at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

Panhandlers must stay 20' away

Panhandlers on Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive must now stay 20 feet away from restaurants and outdoor cafes if they ask for money -- or face arrest.

Posted by Gus at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

Miami Chefs in the news

Victoria Pesce Elliott from the Miami Hearld Dining Section reports:

First the fight, then the wedding
Sexy Miami chef Michelle Bernstein is gearing up for a fight and a wedding.

On Friday, Michelle will team with pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith ( Nemo, Big Pink, Shoji, Prime 112) to tape an installment of the Food Network's Iron Chef America in New York. Their celebrity opponent is TBA; it might be Bobby Flay. An air date hasn't been set.

While in the big city, Bernstein, 36, will have a chance to shop for a gown for her wedding to long-time, live-in boyfriend David Martinez, 30, formerly a manager at Mosaico.

The ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 12 in Cancun, where Bernstein has been operating MB, her namesake restaurant in the Fiesta Americana Grand Aqua.

Boone is Back
Rob Boone formerly of Bambu and Metro Kitchen, is back on the Beach at Preston's, the hotel dining room at the Loew's Miami Beach.

One For The Books
Veteran New York Times reporter, R.W. ''Johnny'' Apple Jr. shares his takes on 40 U.S. cities including Milwaukee, Seattle, New Orleans, Savannah, Detroit, Tampa, Phoenix and Honolulu.

In our own backyard, Apple delves singles out Norman Van Aken as ''the area's most gifted chef'' and gives nods to Joe's Stone Crab, Azul at the Mandarin Oriental, Blue Door at the Delano and Pacific Time.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

2005 Florida Hurricane Season Blog

Blog of the day: 2005 Florida Hurricane Season Blog

"Hurricane season starts on Wednesday, June 1, for the Atlantic basin, and goes until Wednesday, November 30, 2005. We at 2005 Florida Hurricane Season cover these counties (Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia)for all hurricane watches and warnings, school and business closings, voluntary and mandatory evacuations and any other hurricane-relevant news."

Posted by Gus at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005
Jewish Pesach life

Avo explains the meaning of Pesach - Miami Beach style.

"We begin our seder by declaring "whoever is hungry, let him come in eat," but at the Miami hotels, there is an extra clause at the end: "as long as you have the bracelet that corresponds to this hotel -- blue for the Eden Roc, silver for the Fotainebleau, and flourescent for the Wyndham. I wonder what cause the bracelets of the Miami Pesach hotels represent. Gluttony, perhaps?"

Posted by Gus at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

City apporves 1,100 new parking spaces

The Miami Hearld reports:

"The Miami Beach City Commission has given preliminary approval to invest $9.5 million to create hundreds of city-owned parking spaces within a high-profile shopping center development.

The Fifth & Alton Shopping Center, which will straddle a city block at the foot of the MacArthur Causeway, will include a public transit facility, 179,000 square feet of retail, a supermarket and 1,081 parking spaces.

You can see pictures of the project at Berkowitz Development.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Wi-Fi coming to a hotel near you

At the North American Wi-Fi Symposium, wireless providers unveiled their offerings for the hospitality and travel industry:

“Airports, restaurants, hotels and resorts are becoming virtual mini-cities,” said Jim Bailey, director of Hotel Technology and Services with Intercontinental Hotels Group.

Travelers are driving the need for every segment of the hospitality industry to adopt and offer wireless capabilities so that seamless communications while they are on the road can be maintained with their home or office networks or the world at large.”

I expect Wi-Fi, VoIP and RFID tags will impact the hospitality industry quite a bit.

By 2007, there will be 31 million Wi-Fi, or wireless, users in North America, up from 16.5 million today and 1.6 million in 1992.

On a related note, yesterday I posted a list of Hotels in Miami Beach that offer internet access.

Source: Buyer Interactive

Posted by Gus at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Fleet Week

The U.S. Navy began sailing in Monday as part of Fleet Week and also to gear up for the air and sea show.

The Navy will showcase its strength in various forms, including the Toledo nuclear submarine that it has brought to Miami.

Source: NBC6

Posted by Gus at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

Hooters Air

SmarterTravel just informed me Hooters Air is expanding their service to the West Coast.

"This is a big year for Hooters. Hooters first Hotel and Casino will open is Las Vegas in early 2006 and Hooters Air will be there."

Honestly, I've never heard of Hooters Air, but it sounds like fun.

They claim the advantages to flying with their carrier include:

• One-Way Fares
• Extra leg room
• Real food
• A great experience that enlivens the senses
• Plus two Hooters Girls on every flight

I wonder if they serve chicken wings?

Posted by Gus at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2005
Hotels with internet access

Miami Beach Hotels are adding free Wi-Fi high speed internet access as an amenity for their guests.

Many local hotels offer free Wi-Fi in guest rooms as well as public areas like lobbies, meeting rooms, restaurants, and poolside. Other hotels may charge a fee, ranging from $10 to $15 per day. Check with the hotels for their policies.

Below is a list of hotels in Miami Beach that provide high speed internet access for hotel guests:

Casa Grande
Eden Roc
Ocean Five
Park Central
Ritz Carlton
RIU Floirda
Royal Palm
Shore Club
St. Augustine
The Hotel

You'll need to be a hotel guest to access the free internet access in the guest rooms, but the Wi-Fi in public areas may be available to non-guests. ;-)

Posted by Gus at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Female rappers duke it out

AllHipHop is reporting that female rappers Jacki O and Foxy Brown got into a fight in a recording studio in Miami:

"Miami rapper Jackie O confirmed that an altercation took place between her and Foxy Brown on April 24th at Circle House Studios in Miami, Florida.

According to Jacki O’s account, the altercation ensued after she invited the Brooklyn rapper into the studio, known for its amenities and opulence.

Jacki O said Brown entered the studio and had some words for Jacki O, which she overheard.

According to Jacki O, Brown returned to the studio, words were exchanged and a physical altercation broke out between the two women.

“This was not the way I wanted it to go down," Jacki O stated. "I was looking forward to working with her on a song. We are two women in hip-hop and should be able to come to the table together. She forced me to show her who is the madam of Miami.”

I thought Elaine Lancaster was the "madame of Miami".

Posted by Gus at 07:28 AM | Comments (2)

Porn star karaoke

The infamous Porn Star Karaoke is coming to Miami Beach on May 2nd. Pornstars Hailey Young, Tricia Oaks, Serena Sin, Kitty Wildwood, and Presley Paige will be in attendance.

Porn Star Karaoke is the longest running weekly event in adult industry history. It’s been a huge success in Los Angeles and has been attended by everyone from Ron Jeremy and Tera Patrick to Kid Rock and Tommy Lee.

Porn Star Karaoke Miami will be held on Monday, May 2nd starting at 9pm. The location is Automatic Slim’s, 1216 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.

Posted by Gus at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005
Travel Soother

Unwanted noise is a given when you travel, but now you can tune it out with a clever new toy called the Travel Soother. This device is a radio/alarm clock from Sharper Image that comes with a built-in ambient sound feature that can play 20 different "soundscapes" to help ease you into a blissful nights sleep.

Posted by Gus at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

Christo at the Bass Museum

The Bass Museum of Art is winding down "Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Würth Museum Collection".

The exhibit comprising more than 65 collages, drawings, photographs, and scale models of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Central Park, Reichstag, and Paris installations.

Sources: Gridskipper | Miami New Times

Posted by Gus at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

More refugees using Fort Jefferson

Natalie Salminen has commented on our post about Babalu's post about the Cuban Refugees Landing at Fort Jefferson. Natalie says...

"Another 14 refugess landed at Fort Jefferson April 21, 2005, a few hours before sunrise. I was camping, and awoke to the refugees looking for someone, anyone, to tell of their arrival."

I guess it's easier for refugees to reach Fort Jefferson than the United States. And since the Fort is a National Park, if a (Cuban) refugee sets foot there, they're granted diplomatic immunity.

Posted by Gus at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

To rent, or to buy: that is the question

After reading Kevin Wells post on the South Florida real estate market, maybe renting for another year is not such a bad idea. Kevin points out two recent articles in the Sun Sentinel:

If bubble bursts, 'vultures' ready to pick up scraps

"There are plenty of projects in Miami where 40 to 60 percent of the units were sold to investors," he said. "With 30,000 new units expected to come on the market, everyone will try to sell and rent at the same time, and it's going to be a disaster."

Profit and peril: Is S. Florida's housing market ready to stall?

"Knowing your market is crucial. Right now, real estate experts fear an oversupply of luxury condos, particularly in Miami-Dade, will drag down other sectors of the market throughout the region."

"Everyone is watching the Brickell [Avenue] market, and it's inevitable there will be a domino effect," said Marcia Snyder, executive vice president of Fort Lauderdale-based Bank Atlantic."

"Real estate consultants estimate investors make up about 70 percent of the new condo buyers in Miami. In Broward and Palm Beach counties, they make up between 20 percent and 40 percent of buyers."

"The market for condos has become flooded," said Orlando-area economist Hank Fishkind, who thinks the region's housing market has peaked already. "If you're an investor, you have probably missed the window by a year or so."

I feel bad for the people who bought pre construction high, and thought they could sell it before closing. It may not be that easy.

At a recent luncheon for Miami realtors, Jeff Moor from Majestic Realty was speaking about the market in regards to buying pre construction. Jeff said...

"If you want to see a strong return on your investment, don't think you can just buy a pre construction condo and then flip before closing. Plan on living there or renting it out for at least 18-months before trying to sell."

At the luncheon, another real estate insider told me...

"My advice is don't buy anything right now. Hang tight for another year. Cash is king. Soon, you're going to be able to snatch up some really good deals."

Posted by Gus at 08:57 AM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2005
Hotel burglar arrested

Earlier this week, we got wind there was a burglar breaking into hotels on Miami Beach. A user from Indianapolis, IN contacted us about an incident at the Haddon Hall.

I am happy to say the Miami Beach Police have arrested a suspect.

Daniel Cordero, 44, was arrested Tuesday after an officer spotted him in the alley behind an Ocean Drive hotel.

After his arrest, police say Cordero confessed to burglaries at hotels such as the Chesterfield, the Blue Moon, the Crescent and the Fairway.

The burglar generally got into the rooms by going to the rear of hotels and either finding an open window or forcing one open.

Our user from Indianapolis says...

"on 4/17/05 our 3 rooms (along with at least 2 others) were broken into. The cause was faulty locks on the windows, of which the hotel knew about. The alleyway between the hotel and the building had no security whatsoever, not even a light. We also came to find that the exact same incident happened exactly one week prior, in the exact same rooms."

Police say...

"He stole thousands in money and property from the rooms, including laptop computers, jewelry, and cameras. He is a suspect in at least 15 other hotel burglaries."

It looks like the police got their man.

I see on their website, each month is dedicated to a specific area of local crime prevention. How about we dedicate May "Travel Safety Prevention Month"?

Source: User review | Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2005
Jai-Alai Miami: Staying alive

Gadling has a wonderful post urging us to keep Miami Jai-Alai alive:

"When I heard NPR’s report on the declining popularity of the Miami jai-alai scene, something Cestainside of me grew sad. I may not be a huge fan of the world’s fastest sport or even close, but it does have some special memories from my childhood. For me it was something to watch on simulcast when my mother dragged me to the horse races. Ugh! When I was bored with the horses I turned my attention to the players hurling pelota’s (hard rubber balls) against the wall from the cesta’s (a wicker basket) attached to their arms. I could have sworn it was all happening at the speed of light.

So what? Oops! It’s too late right? Well, even if you aren’t into gambling consider skipping South Beach for one day to check out the sport. It probably won’t vanish overnight, but without fan support or even a tourist or two to accidentally stumble in, it could just happen in the coming years. With all Miami has to offer, Jai Alai is a real spectator’s sport and cheap retreat for anyone looking for a day-trip quickie."

Ok, I promise to visit Miami Jai-Alai, but untill then, here are some links to the sports history, rules, and info on how to bet.

Posted by Gus at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

Windjammer Barefoot Cruises

The MSNBC Savings Sleuth points out that if you can set sail on May 20, Windjammer Barefoot Cruises is offering a 25% discount on cruises to the Bahamas.

"Spend from four to eight days on the S.V. Legacy from Miami to the Bahamas and receive a 25 percent discount off of rates that start from $450 for four days (Miami to Nassau), $600 five days (Nassau to Miami) and $900 eight days (Miami roundtrip) in a standard cabin."

Here’s a sample of the cost for one-way flights between Miami and/or Nassau and major U.S. gateways if booked through Windjammers:

• $85 (Nassau) - Miami
• $90 (Miami)/$230 (Nassau) – Atlanta
• $140 (Miami)/$260 (Nassau) – Chicago
• $155 (Miami)/$230 (Nassau) – Newark/New York
• $220 (Miami)/$299 (Nassau) – Los Angeles"

The rates are per person and include on-board meals and certain beverages. Count on paying extra for port fees, airfares and transfers.

This averages to be about $125 per day (not including your airfare).

I guess it's an ok deal if you totally pig out on the food.

Sadly, I've never taken a cruise.

Does this sound like a good deal to you? And what's a port fee?

Source: MSNBC

Posted by Gus at 11:53 AM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2005
Bruce Weber's "A Letter To True"

Bruce Weber's documentary film "A Letter to True" will screen on April 22 at 8:30pm at Cinematheque.

"Filmmaker/photographer Bruce Weber is a professed animal lover, and his newest film centers on his own dogs, a family of gorgeous golden retrievers.

"A Letter to True" is a stunning look at the affection, loyalty, and unconditional love displayed by these animals - which the filmmaker sees as a metaphor for peace and hope in the world. "A Letter to True" is a little like staying up late with Bruce Weber, listening to great music and peeking into the mind of a world-class connoisseur."

Posted by Gus at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

Little Palm Island

MSNBC is running a story about the World's Most Expensive Hotels.

Little Palm Island in the Flroda Keys comes in at #10 for a rate of $1,145 per coulple per night. The nightly rate doesn't include meals or activities. The 28 bungalow suites each have whirlpool baths and private outdoor bamboo showers. Phones, alarm clocks and televisions are forbidden in the bungalows.

Thankfully, the Hotel makes a concession to internet-addicts with a 56k modem link for guests. Geez, for $1,145 per night the least they could do is offer up some DSL.

Posted by Gus at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005
Big Pink's blackened grouper sandwich

Jamey at for food lovers has a writen a nice review of Big Pink.

"We ordered a blackened grouper sandwich and the portobello goat cheese pizza. The grouper sandwich was to die for. Thick, juicy and spicy and it was a great portion. It was served with homemade chips. The pizza was baked with goat cheese, portobellos and sun-dried tomatoes."

I totally agree about the grouper sandwich. Some would call it "off the chain", which in South Beach means really, really good.

All this talk of food is making me hungary.

I'm feeling too lazy to walk to Big Pink. I'll make a tuna sandwich, instead.

Posted by Gus at 03:45 PM | Comments (1)

Paul Mc Cartney at Amerian Airlines Arena

Paul McCartney will start his new North American tour on September 16 at Miami's Amerian Airlines Arena.

Tickets start at $52, and go on sale Saturday at 10am.

Posted by Gus at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

Florida population to pass New York by 2011

According to U.S. Census Bureau projections released today, Florida's population is set to pass New York by 2011.

Florida, now fourth, will edge New York by about 154,000 people to clinch third place behind California and Texas.

Florida is expected to have 19.6 million people by 2011, a gain of 2.2 million in six years.

Posted by Gus at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

Bicentennial Park makeover

An architect has been chosen to begin a re-design of Bicentennial Park into a cultural center for Miami.

The park now sits in the shadow of the new Performing Arts Center to the north and the American Airline Arena to the south.

Set to open in 2009, the 30-acre park wiil include room for the new Miami Art Museum and the Miami Museum of Science. Each building is to get about four acres, with the rest of the land to be devoted open space.

Posted by Gus at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005
Peruvian grocery stores in Ft. Lauderdale

Looking for a Peruvian grocery store in Ft. Lauderdale? Visit Steve Koppelman's Catalogue of Poorly Catalogued Things, Which Is Also Called "".

Posted by Gus at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

Sonesta going condo-hotel

The Sonesta Beach Resort in Key Biscayne has been sold to Fortune International, a Miami-based real estate development firm, for $120 million.

Time to add another one to the condo-hotel list.

Posted by Gus at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

Miami RSS - Tracking with Bloglines

Okay, so i'm fairly new to blogging, and have just learned about RSS -- the acronym means Really Simple Syndication -- RSS feeds are files that tell you what is new on a site.

Tracking RSS feeds is a great way to stay up-to-date on news and information that interests you.

What you will learn
This post is intended to get you to the point where reading and using RSS is simple. Including subscribing to RSS feeds and using the most popular web based feed reader: Bloglines.

There are many other ways to subscribe to RSS feeds. There are other good aggregators out there including MyYahoo, but the point here though is to get you up to speed in the fastest time possible.

Open an Account at Bloglines
First, get a bloglines account - just follow the instructions, it's very simple and should only take a minute.

Start out with some good feeds
Below is a list of some of the better Florida related blogs and travel news resources - the links themselves are special, they will automaticlally take you to your Bloglines account and prompt you to subscribe to the feed. Give it a try, you should find the interface very self explanatory...

Miami News Blog
Yahoo Miami News
NBC6 Local News
About (Miami/Miami Beach)
MSNBC: Travel
CNN: Travel
Travel Channel News
NYT - Travel
Miami Hearld: Infomaniac
Miami New Times

A few more blogs of general interest

Fodore’s Travel Wire
Dave Barry Blog
Bark Bark Woof Woof
Hidden City
Miami Huricane
Hotel Chatter
Hospitality News
In Flight

And those you just can’t live without

Boing Boing
Doc Searls

Checking Your Feeds & Subscribing to More
Bloglines updates once an hour, so all you need to do now is bookmark your feeds page and check it a few times a day to keep up with the feeds you've subscribed to.

To subscribe to other sites you'll need to first check that they actually have a feed. Usually you'll see an orange XML button, or a specific bloglines subscribe button somewhere in the navigation. You can see MiamiBeach411’s just to the right at the top of the page. If there is a specific Bloglines one, then just click it, if not, grab the url of the XML link and then go to your bloglines account. On the left panel, you'll see a link to "add" – just click it and paste the XML URL into the form and your done.
It's just that easy.

Also see:
Using Bloglines: How to keep up with dozens of blogs everyday (pics)

Posted by Gus at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

Webmaster to the Pope

A Jacksonville, Florida-based writer purchased the rights to on April 1 -- more than two-and-a-half weeks before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger announced that he would assume the papacy under the name of Benedict XVI.

Thankfully, the writer is a man of high moral values. He said that he bought the domains as a game -- not as a way to make money by cybersquatting. Besides, he added, "If I didn't do it, someone less reputable would."

Source: Wired

Posted by Gus at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005
Crazy airline passanger news

If reality television can have car chases, then a Miami travel site can have crazy airline passenger news.

Posted by Gus at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

Miami Airport receives top safety rating

Miami International Airport has received a zero discrepancy rating after FAA regulators concluded a March 30-April 1 inspection.

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) annual inspection measures compliance with federal aviation regulation which includes a visual inspection of:

-airport markings
-pavement (runways and taxiways)
-lighting systems
-fueling operations
-training programs
-clearance zones
-emergency procedures
-response time in a simulated emergency

The most recent inspection marked the ninth consecutive year MIA has completed the inspection with the highest mark.

Posted by Gus at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

Free ice cream at Ben & Jerry's

Did you know today is - Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s? You can get a free scoop in Miami Beach or browse all the Ben & Jerry Ice Cream Shops in Florida.

Posted by Gus at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Airline pricing goofs

This week, a glitch at US Airways sold round-trip tickets for $1.86 to anywhere in the United States until problem got fixed.

Elsewhere, a Travelocity error allowed a number of people to buy tickets to Fiji for $0.

Travelocity called each person who purchased the $0 ticket and said they would happily honor the ticket, or pay the passenger $250 not to use it.

Posted by Gus at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

Pitbull at Billboard Latin Conference

Bilingual rapper, Pitbull, will be a featured panelist at the upcoming Billboard Latin Conference on April 27th (2pm-3:30pm at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami).

I like the title of his current album: M.I.A.M.I (Money Is A Major Issue).

Posted by Gus at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

Alligator bites wildlife official

An alligator that was walking down the sidewalk in Pompano Beach bit a wildlife official on the hand.

A passer-by saw the wildlife offical in distress, and wrestled the alligator until it was under control. The man said he had experience in wrestling alligators.

See photos at NBC6.

Posted by Gus at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2005
Miami biotechnology village

Research laboratories now under construction at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center are part of a plan to transform two gritty city neighborhoods into a biotechnology village — an urban version of the Scripps project under way in rural Palm Beach County.

Miami City Manager Joe Arriola says...

"it will be a live-work-play research community with high-rise space for health and biotech businesses. Plus, it will include accessible housing for the staff and scientists who will work there — all of it a few miles from Miami Beach, the city's downtown and Miami International Airport."

"We're acquiring some land east and west of I-95. Believe me, we're going to create a new city."

The City reports to be streamlining the permitting process, rewriting its zoning, and coordinating planning for the entire region through a process it's calling the Miami Partnership.

Source: Palm Beach Post

Posted by Gus at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

Google Maps - Miami real estate

Paul Rademacher combines Craigslist real estate listing with Google Maps to make for a very interesting application.

To view up-to date-real estate listings across the country, click the map, select a city, and choose: For Rent or For Sale.

Thanks, Blogoscoped.

Posted by Gus at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

Big fun under the sun

The Guardian Observer says Miami is Big Fun Under the Sun:

"A wave of sexy new hotels, galleries and restaurants has got this vibrant city buzzing and a new film of Miami Vice is the icing on the cake."

I couldn't agree more. I'm really excited about the Miami Vice movie. I read that Chinese-born actress Gong Li has joined the cast. She'll play Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban wife of the leader of a transnational crime syndicate and Crockett's love interest.

Michael Mann is an great Director. For those of you who don't know, he created the Miami Vice TV series, and then went on to make some powerful, big budget movies. His films include "Heat", "The Insider", and "Last of the Mochaican", but my favorite movie he made was "Manhunter".

Posted by Gus at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

Miami hotel discounts expire April 28th

Colony Hotel from $122 per night.
The most photographed Art Deco Hotels on Ocean Drive.

Days Inn from $122 per night.
A pet friendly hotel with direct access to the beach.

South Seas from $122 per night.
Free breakfast, local calls, and wireless Internet access.

Posted by Gus at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

Garden of Dreams

George Kalinsky's photographic career started in Miami Beach at the 5th Street Boxing Gym. Today, he's known worldwide as Madison Square Garden's official photographer.

From Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley to Pope John Paul and John Lennon, George Kalinsky has captured them all in his new photo book, Garden of Dreams.

See more photos, here. My favorite is "Rookie Air".

Posted by Gus at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

Fly to Florida for under $30

Independence Air's latest fare sale may be among the cheapest flying ever offered. The discount carrier is offering some one-way fares for under $30.

The discounts include one-way fares from Dulles International Airport to Tampa, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers for $29 if you fly on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Independence Air is also offering fares to Orlando for $39, to Los Angeles and Seattle for $69 and one-way tickets to Las Vegas for $89.

US Airways also put Florida flights from the Washington market on sale Monday. Its discounts include Baltimore/Washington International Airport to Orlando for $49 each way and one-way fares from Washington to Fort Lauderdale for $59. Its deepest discounts are for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Posted by Gus at 11:48 AM | Comments (1)

Loud Mouth Kitten at Senor Frog's

My friend Brooke and her band Loud Mouth Kitten will perform tonight at Senor Frog's. Brooke can rock the house. She goes at Midnight, and pitchers of beer are only $3.

Posted by Gus at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

Angler's condo-hotel

Despite my recent criticism against the condo-hotel formula, EWM has sold the rundown Angler's Hotel located at 634 Washington Avenue for a record $5 million to a group led by entrepreneurs Gregg Covin, Kevin Venger, and Michael Capponi.

Home to vagrants and shady figures, this old pink hotel has long been an unfriendly neighbor for local residents and business owners along the main drag in Miami Beach. As if that was not enough, in recent years the property was locked into a lengthy litigation, which all but prevented any possibility of restoring the buildings" says hotel broker Jeff Cohen of Esslinger • Wooten • Maxwell, who handled the transaction.

Miami architect, Alan Schulman, will design two new buildings to the complex, which will comprise 55 fully furnished resort residences, ranging in size from 460 to 1,070 square feet, including 15 two-story townhomes.

J. Wallace Tutt III, famous for turning Gianni Versace's mansion into a Miami landmark, is coming back from his retirement to attach his signature to the Anglers' interiors.

It's a good location for a condo-hotel. The Bentley Beach is nearby and they're making a strong go of it.

Here is a list of condo-hotels in Miami.

When the project materializes, these are my suggestions:

-Don't charge an arm and a leg
-Tie in promotions with local vendors
-Provide great customer service
-Provide free wireless Internet access.
-Provide free breakfast
-Think about repeat business.
-Think about word of mouth
-Make yourself accessible
-Be realistic about market conditions
-Create a community
-Start a blog

Gapingvoid says...

"There’s only one thing harder than starting a new business: Re-inventing an old one.

Angler's condo-hotel in Miami Beach 411's Real Estate News section.

Posted by Gus at 07:31 AM | Comments (3)

April 15, 2005
Regis and Kelly at Disney World

Regis and Kelly will broadcast live from Disney World in Orlando for three days during the week of May 9th - 13th.

Viewers who live in the Orlando area are invited to attend the tapings May 11th and 12th from the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Information is available here.

Posted by Gus at 02:18 PM | Comments (2)

Surf report says 3 to 4-foot

Surfline is reporting the waves at Reef Road are 3 to 4-foot with the occasional 6-foot set.

Grab a board. We haven't had waves like this since Hurricane Frances. For those of you who missed it, it got big.

All this talk of surf makes me miss my home break.

The Beach Boys said it best...

"Catch a wave you'll be sittin' on top of the word"

Posted by Gus at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

Earn double AA miles at Loews Hotel

Earn double AAdvantage miles when you stay at Loews Hotel through May 31.

Posted by Gus at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Author, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez has extended her vacation in Miami.

"I'm in no rush to get back to the desert. I love the desert, don't get me wrong. But LOOK at this beach!!! And that devlish gleam in my son's eye? This is the look he gets before he does something that makes mommy shriek "travieso!" He loves being ornery. Just like his mom."

Can you blame her?

Posted by Gus at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2005
I got swampland in Florida to sell you

CNN reports:

"A man who fought for years to keep his home and businesses in the Everglades has accepted a $4.95 million buyout offer from the state, which plans to restore the wetlands ecosystem.

The deal, approved Wednesday by a Collier County judge allows Jesse Hardy to remain on his 160 acres until November 30.

Hardy paid $60,000 in 1976 for the land about 40 miles east of downtown Naples on the southwest coast, and built a small, corrugated metal-roofed house. He had no electricity and used propane for cooking and refrigeration."

This gives a whole new meaning to the expression "I got swampland in Florida to sell you".

Thanks, to Bark Bark Woof Woof for the tip.

Posted by Gus at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Ice-T and Coco

Jarred's got r-rated pics of rapper, Ice-T and Coco (Ice's wife) balling it up in South Beach. By the look of Coco's site, I don't think Ice is botherd by the pics.

Posted by Gus at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

Airports ban lighters

Today, airports across the U.S. will begin banning lighters from all commercial flights.

Update: Transportation Security Administration screeners collected over 700 cigarette lighters from passengers going through checkpoints at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport by midafternoon on Thursday — the first day lighters were banned from commercial airliners.

Posted by Gus at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2005
United's 4-day sale expires April 17th

United Airlines 4-day sale to Florida is a great excuse to visit Miami Beach.

The sale includes cross-country flights starting at just $79 (one-way only) from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Seattle to Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, and Fort Myers.

Travel must take place between April 15 and May 25. Bargain-priced fares out of Washington D.C. are also available starting at $49 one way. The sale ends April 17.

Posted by Gus at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

Free neutering and spaying

Talk about bad publicity, Wisconsin residents are considering a measure that could pave the way to allow hunting of feral cats in their state.

Miami Beach has a feral cat problem too, but we handle it more humanely.

Pet owners and prospective pert owners should know that the Animal Services Department offers free neutering and spaying for cats and dogs in Miami-Dade.

You can schedule an appointment by calling (305) 884-7729. Before the surgery, pet owners must provide proof that their animal has received a rabies shot and a license tag. If not, the rabies shot is $7 and the tag is $25. If the owner is on public assistance, then both can be purchased for $2. The license tag is optional for cats.

Update: Glad to see these cheeseheads might ban Internet hunting.

Posted by Gus at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

Naomi Harris photos

Boing Boing just turned me on to New York photographer, Naomi Harris, and her honest, beautiful photos of senior citizens living in Miami Beach. The essay is called Haddon Hall. I see so much life in the photos.

Posted by Gus at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

Bed bugs bite back

The backlash begins - Cruise Network will maintain its “no sale” policy for all future Jewel of the Seas sailings until Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines chooses to make public a more satisfactory explanation regarding their recent bug bed incident.

A Florida couple is at home now after their cruise vacation aboard Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas was cut short by a severe infestation of bed bugs in their stateroom.

Royal Caribbean has apologized to the couple and refunded $2,800 for the tickets, but declined to reimburse them for medical care or hotel expenses incurred while waiting to get home. You got to be kidding!

Here's a customer service tip for all the Royal Caribbean brass, read "The Kryptonite Factor" before it's too late.

Posted by Gus at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

National Leisure Travel Monitor Results

Recently, i spoke about tooting your own horn. Well, according to, Florida is the most popular state in the U.S. adults say they would like to visit most. Toot, toot ;-)

Posted by Gus at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

Hotel role-playing game

Are you dreaming of a vacation, but lacking the necessary funds? Habbo Hotel is an online role-playing game designed for 13 to 18 year olds. Users can log into the hotel, create their own character, and communicate with other people.

What's impressive is each month the site has 3.6 million visitors.


Posted by Gus at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2005
Fly nude from Miami to Cancun

If you thought that Sir Richard Branson completing the fastest, non-stop flight around the world was newsworthy, aviation history is about to be made again - Castaway Travel will offer the first-ever nude flight from Miami to Cancun aboard Naked Air.

Posted by Gus at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

Craig's Travel Tip

Craig from craigslist and craigblog offers a good travel tip if you happen to get bumped from your flight:

"Well, let's say United has more problems, and they cancel your flight. Normally, they'll place you on the next one they have, not telling you another carrier has one that's leaving much earlier. While you wait in line, call the carrier, ask not only what's available from them, but also, what's available on other carriers. Life's much easier that way."

Thanks for the tip, Craig. Your Miami site is a great resource; we found our house and coffee table there.

Posted by Gus at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

Apprentice arrested at Hard Rock

These Florida Apprentice-stars can't stay out of the limelight. Following on the heals of the Katrina Campis runway incident, we just found out that Chris Shelton, a member of Donald Trump's "Street Smarts" team on the current season of "The Apprentice" was arrested on Sunday morning at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida for disorderly conduct.

Posted by Gus at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Delays at Lauderdale Airport

The Sun Sentinel reports Lauderdale airport tops flight-delay list.

Fort Lauderdale International Airport had to delay more than 5,700 commercial and private flights between October and March because the airport lacked the capacity to handle them.

"Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was so overwhelmed by the number of planes flying in and out this winter that it had almost as many delays unrelated to the weather as the nation's two busiest airports combined -- Chicago's O'Hare and Atlanta's Hartsfield."

I frequently fly Delta Airlines in and out out of Ft. Lauderdale Airport, and have never experienced a delay. As a matter of fact, on the return flights, I usually arrive early. Go figure.

Posted by Gus at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2005
World Airport Awards 2005

The World Airport Awards for 2005 have been announced.

1. Hong Kong International Airport
2. Singapore Changi Airport
3. Seoul Incheon Airport
4. Munich Airport
5. Kansai International Airport
6. Dubai International Airport
7. KLIA - Kuala Lumpur Airport
8. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
9. Copenhagen Airport
10. Sydney Airport

Skytrax surveyed over 5 million people of 90 nationalities and ranked product and service factors based on their responses.

You can also view the top three ranked airports for each region.

Posted by Gus at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Jackson hotel gossip

Concierge-X claims to work as a concierge at one of the world's best hotels, and blogs about the crazy things he's privy to. Thus far, C-X tells us about checking Michael Jackson in to an upscale hotel at EuroDisney, seeing him dressed as an Arabic woman, and usually seeing a young boy at the pop singers side. Here is another Jackson hotel story:

"Once again, I was chosen to do Mj's check-in, and brought all of his luggage up to the suite. MJ, accompanied by (again) a prepubescent boy, and his (the boy's) mother."

"He and the boy went immediately to the master bedroom, jumping on the bed to watch cartoons. They shut the door. What was really bizarre, though, and freaked me out, was the palpable negative energy in the air from the part of the boy's mother."

These Michael Jackson hotel stories are more juicy than the trial reenactment show on E!.

Posted by Gus at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2005
Legal issues with condo-hotels

I found this article on condo-hotel investments a bit alarming. Apartenly, owning this new real estate hybrid comes with some risks.

"Prices tend to be about 25 percent higher than comparable units in standard condominiums."

"Another thorny aspect is the legal use of the condo-hotel unit. Often, zoning rules limit the number of days you can occupy your unit, even though you own it."

"Expenses, including mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance fees, typically outrun income from the units, which gets split with the developer of the project."

The article ends with an example of how an annual Expenses & Income statement might look for a one-bedroom South Florida condo-hotel unit purchased for $300,000.

Mortgage: $20,436 ($300k at 5.5% for 30 yrs.)
Property taxes: $9,750 (2.6% of value)
Insurance: $900
Maintenance: $7,860 ($642 monthly)
Total: $38,946

Available rental days: 305
Average annual occupancy: 61%
Average daily rate: $285
Subtotal: $53,024

Less operator 10% fee: $5,302

Less 50% split with developer: $23,861
Total: $23,861


It looks to me like it boils down to the occupancy rate. If the developer can keep the unit rented, you stand to make money. If not, there will be an extra expense.

Tax breaks can ease the bite, but the bottom line is buyers need to know what they are buying and who they are doing business with.

To learn more, here is a list of condo-hotels in Miami.

Legal issues with condo-hotels in Miami Beach 411's Real Estate News section.

Posted by Gus at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005
Business travel expenses

If you are an employee or a sole proprietor who has business-related travel, entertainment, gift, or transportation expenses, you should consult, particularly Publication 463 on Travel.

I learned that self-employed consultants, independent salespeople, small-business owners, and freelancers can regularly write off expenses on business trips. As long as business is the primary reason for travel, your airfare, lodging, meals, car rental, taxis, and even tips and laundry can all be deducted.

The IRS says “ordinary and necessary” expenses for business are 100 percent deductible. This includes:

- transportation
- lodging
- incidentals, such as Internet, phone, and laundry

Half of the costs of meals you incur because of work are deductible. You can eiter total up your receipts or use the government-approved allowance, which varies from city to city (from $31 to $46 a day).

If you’re driving your own car, the standard reimbursement is 37.5¢ per mile for 2004, upped to 40.5¢ for the 2005 tax year.

But don’t expect the IRS to take your word that the motive for that weekend in South Beach was for business. If you get audited, you’ll need receipts and meeting records to back you up.

Posted by Gus at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

Toot your own horn

There is a travel article at MSNBC offering 5 tips for getting the star treatment - Sure-fire strategies to reap first-class rewards. My favorite tip is, Toot your horn.

"Are you celebrating a birthday, anniversary, wedding, or graduation? Let your travel agent know. A good travel planner will have the connections to make your experience more memorable. All of the travel suppliers want happy clients and will go out of their way for you if they can."

This tip comes in very handy when making restaurant reservations. Any restaurant worth it's salt should take special requests very seriously.

I also had an airline stewerdess once tell me - if you're on your honeymoon, make sure to let the ticket agent know when you check in for your flight. If the flight has room, sometimes they'll bump you up to first class.

Posted by Gus at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Rental car companies tough on damage

The NY Times reports that rental car companies are getting tough about damages...

"Car rental companies are getting much more aggressive about their claims," said Jeff Miller, a travel lawyer in Columbia, MD. Chasing down customers who scratch or dent cars, he said, "is a growth business."

In the past, car rental companies were willing to overlook minor damage to their vehicles, but the industry now appears bent on pursuing even the smallest cases.

Posted by Gus at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

Passport policy changes

For those of us visiting Canada, Mexico, Panama, and Bermuda, starting in 2008 the State Department will require us to have passports.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will require all U.S. citizens, Canadians, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, and citizens of Mexico to have a passport or other accepted secure document to enter or re-enter the U.S.

Posted by Gus at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

Ocean Blue

Christabel, a graduated student from Toronto Canada, has a lot to say about her Florida vacation on her blog, Ocean Blue.

She visited Miami...

What a city. So cool. I think I took like 245 pictures in the day. To save you reading about ALL of those things that I did I'll pick the top three and describe them to you otherwise you'd be reading an entire book.

And the Bahamas...

Tonight is the night! It is the last night of mine in the Bahamas. The moon is almost full and is creating a silver pathway on the water. It is beautiful. The plan is to be "on the road" tomorrow morning at 8am. So I'm going to get up early for one last swim.

Christabel also took some nice pictures of all the places she visited. My favorite photo is the Venetian Pool.

I recommend checking out Ocean Blue. You'll enjoy reading about Christabel's experience.

Posted by Gus at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005
MTV Music Awards returns to Miami

The MTV Video Music Awards will return to Miami's American Airlines Arena on August 28 for a live broadcast.

Carlos Alvarez, Mayor of Miami-Dade county, gave his approval, noting that the event is important to the region, since it promotes their beaches, hotels, restaurants, shopping, attractions, sports, and recreation to a worldwide audience, and "brings together artists and celebrities from around the globe.

Miami Today News talks about the economic impact the evetn will have on the City

Hosts, performers, nominees, and presenters will be announced in the coming months.

Posted by Gus at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

Florida Straits drug research

Reefs along the Florida Straits may lead potential cures for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimers.

On Monday, the Harbor Branch drug discovery group began a 2-week expedition to explore the Florida Straits in search of organisms that produce chemicals with the potential to cure diseases .

The work will include the first submersible exploration of the remote Cay Sal Bank, which encompasses a number of small, uninhabited islands 30 miles north of Cuba. Researchers expect to discover pristine reefs that could lead to a new reputation for the area as the source of lifesaving drugs.

Regular dispatches and photos from the expedition will be posted here.

Posted by Gus at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

Translation bloopers

We are currently translating into Spanish. While researching the topic, I can across some translation bloopers that made me laugh:

In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" came out as "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead."

In China, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off."

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go." After the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.

Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. The company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals". Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted Corcel, which means horse.

When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." However, the company mistakenly thought the spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that "It wont leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

An American t-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of the desired "I Saw the Pope" in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed "I Saw the Potato."

Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno mag.

In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.

Japan's second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it entered English-speaking markets and began receiving requests for unusual sex tours. Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company changed its name.

Posted by Gus at 02:42 PM | Comments (2)

Barbara Streisand recording in Miami

In 1982 Barbara Streisand recorded Guilty with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. Now, 25 years later, Streisand and Gibb are reuniting to work on a new album together. As with Guilty, Gibb will again be writing and producing for the as-yet untitled project.

Gibb will compose a dozen new songs for the reunion album and recording will take place at his studio in Miami, Florida, and at Sony Studios in LA. The album is scheduled for a September release to tie into the silver anniversary of Guilty.

Thanks Jean Luc for the Babs update.

Posted by Gus at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)

Google Satellite Maps

The Google Blog announced that Google has unveiled a new feature that will enable its users to zoom in on homes and businesses using satellite images. This marks the first time Google has offered free access to high-tech maps through its search engine. Users previously had to pay $29.95 to download a version of Keyhole's basic software package.

"Google believes most people will like the convenience of generating a satellite image with a few clicks of a computer mouse. The company envisions people using the service as a way to scout a hotel's proximity to the beach for a possible vacation or size up the neighborhood where an apartment is for rent."

To give Google Satellite Maps a whirl, click “Satellite” on the right, and try entering “33139”.

Posted by Gus at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2005
Hurricane season starts June 1st

The hurricane season is just eight weeks away, and the forecast is calling for a "significantly above average" season.

"The long-term average is about 10 tropical storms that develop into six hurricanes, two of them with intense winds above 110 mph. Last year, the tropics produced 15 named storms that grew into nine hurricanes, six of them intense."

Here is a list of names that were chosen for the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season:

Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Phillipe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince, Wilma

This year, if a hurricane does come close to Miami, local hotels have been asked to NOT send hotel guests to city shelters. Hotels have been asked to make arrangement in advance with inland hotels that can accommodate their guests.

In 2004, Miami Beach hotels were evacuated twice, and the conditions at city shelters got to be pretty smelly.

Posted by Gus at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Miami airport adds explosives detector

Security is getting more sophisticated at Miami International Airport. A phone-booth-size machine that blows air at passengers to check for explosives will start operating on Wednesday at Concourse E, one of MIA's busiest checkpoints.

Called an explosives detection trace portal, the contraption releases two quick puffs through 32 jets, aimed from ankles to neck -- enough of a breeze to tousle clothing and loosen particles of any explosives that might be present.

Aimee Ahiers, spokeswoman for General Electric, which manufactures the $135,000 EntryScan3 detection machine, says...

“the process takes about 12 seconds. When a passenger is instructed to stand in the machine, it will instruct in a computer voice, ‘please enter,’ which is followed by ‘air puffers on’ and ‘please exit’.”

In the next year, the TSA plans to install 150 machines at busy commercial airports across the nation.

Posted by Gus at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

Airline service worsens, but costs increase

As airline service worsens, the big five airlines are again raising their domestic fares, this time by $10 per round trip.

The increases were announced on Thursday by United, Delta, Continental, Northwest, and America West. Discount carriers, Southwest and JetBlue did not match the hikes.

For the second year in a row, low-fare airline JetBlue Airways earned the number one ranking in the annual (AOR) Airline Quality Ratings study.

Posted by Gus at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2005
ZETA Rocks Online

Former Miami radio station, WZTA (ZETA) has risen from the ashes as an online entity. Now, loyal listeners can stream their alternative rock favorites at

Sadly, WZTA changed from Rock to Hispanic programming in February, as "Mega 94.9.".

Clear Channel says the feedback from a small but vocal group of former Zeta listeners led them to launch the station online. Clear Channel RVP programming Rob Roberts said...

“Honestly, the idea came from one of ZETA’s past loyal listeners. Younger rock listeners (ages 12-34) are very Web oriented, spending an average 18.8 hours per week on the Internet. With the freedom to combine the programming of cutting-edge rock along with the ability to target and narrowcast, an Internet rock music radio station, using the well-known and revered ZETA brand name, made a great deal of sense to our team.”

Thanks for listening to us loyal listeners. Now, will you please bring Howard Stern Back? Pretty please...with sugar on top...

Did you know that you can find links to most of the radio stations in Miami at

Posted by Gus at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005
Travel Reviews - March 2005

Michelle just uploaded last month's User Reviews. A total of 45 reviews were submitted by people from Miami to Moscow.

Her favorite review was submitted by a user from New York City about the Hotel titled "Classy, unassuming abode".

Thanks to everyone who sent us a review.

You can read all the reviews right here.

Posted by Gus at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

Business Travelers Prefer Booking Online

According to emarketer, Business travelers are keeping online travels sites busy and booking online.

"In 2003, 57% said they preferred to book online. Two years later, the figure has risen to 71%. Meanwhile, those who prefer using a travel agent, either on the phone or in person, has fallen from 39% to 24%."

Hey, all you Business travelers out there, you can book hotels in Miami Beach at Miami Beach 411, or call us at 1-800-573-6351.

Posted by Gus at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

Volunteers Needed To Help Dolphins

Volunteers are needed to help rehabilitate 13 rough-toothed dolphins that survived a massive stranding off the Florida Keys in early March.

According to the Marine Mammal Conservancy's, 26 dolphins were taken to the conservancy for rehabilitation but 13 have since died.

Officials said one dolphin that was born after the stranding is doing well and now weighs 18 pounds.

The conservancy is asking for volunteers to help in taking care of the dolphins. To volunteer, call (305) 451-4774.

For up-to-date information on the stranding and the 13 surviving dolphins, visit the Marine Mammal Conservancy.

If you would like to make a donation or volunteer to help the dolphins in Key Largo, visit the Marine Mammal Conservancy's donations page.

Posted by Gus at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

Dry Tortugas: A Special Place

Following on the heals of our Cuban Refugees Land at Fort Jefferson post, today, there's a travel article at the New York Times about campaing in the Dry Tortugas.

We both agree that it's a special place.

Posted by Gus at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

Katrina Campins Runway Show

No, this is not an April Fools joke. During the runway show at Miami's Funkshion Fashion Week, Coral Gables real estate diva and former "Apprentice" star, Katrina Campins, walked the entire length of the runway not realizing that her $250 Tommy Hilfiger's shirt had malfunctioned, and her breasts were exposed.

But don't sweat it, Katrina. You look hot. Plus, you get mad props for not breaking your stride.

Posted by Gus at 06:34 AM | Comments (0)
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