Tag Archives: Orlando

A Tour Through Our Little Saigon and a Jackfruit

These past two weeks have been crappy for me. I’m fighting bilateral ear infections, thanks to daily swimming. Most days I stayed in my PJs and banged my head against the walls. Ears are constantly popping. When I wasn’t doing that, I was between the sheets sleeping, and now that I am feeling better I am stir crazy.

I spent some time gathering up pics to share with you. You have most likely heard me mention Little Saigon. I use it as a setting in my book Naked Alliances. We have a thriving Vietnamese population here in Orlando and their shops are seen all around, but Little Saigon, situated on Colonial Drive (highway #50), is where they are concentrated. Colonial Drive is a major east-west thoroughfare. Many cities and towns have a Vietnamese village and ours looks like this:

 

The buildings are painted in carnival colors. It’s hard to see just how busy it is from still pics, but it’s a hub of activity. There are tons of restaurants, soup spots mostly, Asian markets, and import shops. The aromas of stir-fries and fragrances of mixed herbs permeate the air. There is a lot of neon at night, but I don’t have any night shots. It’s all very colorful.

One of my favorite shops is an Asian market where they split jackfruit to share samples enticing people to buy. The little children (like me) gather to slurp up the slimy, sticky, yellow fruit. Not to gross you out, but it’s like a huge wad of phlegm that tastes like a cross between cotton candy and bananas, with a little tang and a creamy but firm, rubbery texture. If you have never tried it and run across one do give it a try. I highly recommend it. (Just don’t confuse it with the durian fruit which looks similar, tastes just as sweet, but smells like horse manure.) The jackfruit sections have a seed in the center about the size of a chestnut that you have to spit out.

We don’t grow jackfruit here. We import it from Indonesia where men climb thirty to forty feet high to wrap a sling around the fruit and cut it down. One of my characters has a brief encounter with this exotic fruit in my story while on a mission to Little Saigon.

This is where we were today, just thought I might bring you along on a tour. Later this week, I will show you more of our beautiful downtown area.

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Tiffany Glass and Art

While the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum is awe inspiring, the history of Louis Comfort Tiffany and the founding of the museum are equally impressive.  Most famous for the Tiffany lamps designed by his students and himself, there is so much more to see.  A small sample of the most comprehensive collection of Tiffany’s work and a hint of the history behind it can be seen in this video:

Like a rock hound, I seek out Florida’s hidden gems.  This rare gem is tucked away behind the curtains of Spanish moss that drape a live oak shaded cobbled avenue in Winter Park. The museum and its impressive art nouveau collection is the crown jewel of the Winter Park shopping and historic district near Orlando.

If you are ever in the Orlando area the museum is simply a “must see”.  Its focal point, a chapel rescued from the fire that destroyed the Tiffany Estate, Laurelton Hall, in 1957, was designed and constructed exclusively for display in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition (also known as The World’s Fair) in Chicago. The chapel is made of mosaic glass tiles that reflect patterns of colored light from every angle. The cross shaped “electrolier”, as Tiffany called it, is suspended above.

orlando-winter-park-morse-museum-tiffany-chapel-full

Another Tiffany masterpiece, The Daffodil Terrace, restored at the museum, is temporarily installed at the Metropolitan Museum and is larger than many Manhattan apartments. Its tall marble columns are topped with clusters of yellow flowers — daffodils — made of blown glass, the material in which Tiffany achieved his greatest eloquence.

The Daffodil Terrace once connected the dining room and the gardens at Laurelton Hall, the grand estate that Tiffany built for himself from 1902 to 1905 on 580 extensively landscaped acres overlooking Long Island Sound. Can you imagine the grandeur of such a place?

You can read more about the chapel and the museum founders here: http://orlando.about.com/od/museumarticles/a/tiffany.htm

Orlando Tour For Busy Mind Thinking

For Belinda of BusyMindThinking.  Since my header shows the Orlando skyline at night, I thought I would give you a glimpse of Orlando by day.  Who doesn’t know Orlando, right?  I live in the Lake Conway area near the International Airport,  just on the edge of the downtown area of Orlando.  Not so touristy over here.  More like a small town within a big city.

This is the downtown area by day.  We have a population of about 250,000 metro and 2 mil in the surrounding areas that include the resort areas South to Longwood North.
This is the downtown area by day. We have a population of about 250,000 metro and 2 mil in the surrounding areas that include the resort areas South to Longwood North.
The flora, foliage  and flowers are fantastic here year round.
The flora, foliage and flowers are fantastic here year round.
This is my cousin's nudist resort, Cypress Cove Resort.  This is why I came to Florida 16 years ago.
This is my cousin’s nudist resort, Cypress Cove Resort. This is why I came to Florida 16 years ago.
Everyone knows Disney and Epcot, but there are many other parks here; Universal Studios and Citywalk, Islands of Adventure,, Sea World, Aquatica and Discovery Cove, The Holy Lands,  Olde Towne, Harry Potter's World, Legoland and many more...never a dull moment. Over 52 million people pass through the gates at Disney annually.
Everyone knows Disney and Epcot, but there are many other parks here; Universal Studios and Citywalk, Islands of Adventure,, Sea World, Aquatica and Discovery Cove, The Holy Lands, Olde Towne, Harry Potter’s World, Legoland and many more…never a dull moment. Over 52 million people pass through the gates at Disney annually.
The new Amway Arena draws a crowd for sporting events and music concerts
The new Amway Arena draws a crowd for sporting events and music concerts
There are literally hundreds of resorts like this one.  We have over 400,000 hotel rooms in Orlando.
There are literally hundreds of resorts like this one. We have over 400,000 hotel rooms in Orlando, and 37,000 restaurants.  That makes for a lot of traffic..
Most hotels have a water feature of some sort, like this lazy river.
Most hotels have a water feature of some sort, like this lazy river.
One of the nicest benefits to living in Central Florida is that the beach is only an hour away in either direction,  East and we have the sunrise over the Atlantic, West and we have the sunset over the Gulf.  It is fun to try to do both in one day.
One of the nicest benefits to living in Central Florida is that the beach is only an hour away in either direction, East and we have the sunrise over the Atlantic, West and we have the sunset over the Gulf. It is fun to try to do both in one day.
Good night Belinda.  I hope you enjoyed your tour!  Sorry I was so late getting this up.
Good night Belinda. I hope you enjoyed your tour! Sorry I was so late getting this up.