Sunday, July 3, 2011

U2 and Me2 in Miami!


After months of waiting, the postponed U2 concert was finally here on June 29, 2011 held at Sun Life Stadium. 'Some of you might have been two years younger when you bought tickets', Bono began greeting Miami Fans. Bono proceeded with stadium jokes saying he's been to all stadiums: Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Stadium and Sun Life Stadium. This experience was surreal: I was standing feet away from The Edge, I could see the tiny wrinkles around his eyes and how nice his fair skin was... I could see the drops of sweat on Bono's face!

My journey here started more than a year ago when I as many others purchased tickets to the U2 concert, it was postponed and I awaited anxiously for the concert with my cousin. Weeks before the show, however, there was a posting for an opportunity to be part of U2's Green Team at the concert and educate U2 Fans on recycling and minimizing their "footprint". I thought that it might be a good idea and submitted a sentence as to why I wanted to be part of U2's Green Team. I along with four other of my school friends were chosen to be part of the U2 Green Team! I met James Beek, who is U2's Greening Manager with Effect Partners. I would love to have his job: he is responsible for minimizing the tour's effect on the environment by managing three aspects: the band and crew, the equipment used and the fans. After three hours of engaging with the public we were guided pass security through the same tunnel where the band would come in. We were guided into the "inner circle" of the stage. What a stage! This is one of the biggest set ups in concert history... a robotic looking structure called "The Claw" that looks like it came from outer space. Thanks to cameras at every angle, the 360 tour does give a 360 degree view to all fans from any seat thanks to a large wrap-around screen. During the middle of the concert the giant screen expanded and lowered, see the pictures below! Also, the center stage revolved a bit to face fans at different angles. The guys walked on bridges that extended from the stage, these moved around the circle in order to get closer to fans. (See pics below).

The band played good old classics like "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "One", "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Walk On". My favorite part of the show was when Mark Kelly, Gabrielle Giffords' Astronaut husband appeared on the screen from a pre-recorded video to say he loved her very much and was looking forward to coming home soon. Kelly flashed the words "It's a Beautiful Day" and the band began playing, during the middle of the song, Mark Kelly sang the lyrics "see the world in green and blue, see China right in front of you, See the canyons broken by cloud, See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out, See the Bedouin fires at night..." and Bono sang over his voice and gave an effect of singing together. Check out the video of that below, its pretty amazing and touching. Dallas Schoo, the Edge's right man guitar technician was right by his side during the show helping him switch various guitars ranging from Fender stratocaster and telecaster to Gibson Les Pauls. This tour carries over 40 guitars and its Dallas Schoo's job to make sure all of them are tuned, stung and have the right effects before the show.

I look back in my high school years when I covered a song from U2, "Where the Streets Have No Name" for my guitar class, I realize that this was the band that defined my teenage years and for many other fans as well. I'll end with the lyrics of "Magnificient", one of U2's recent works:

I was born
I was born to sing for you
I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice
From the womb my first cry
It was a joyful noise.

Check out the pics below from the concert!

The guys look great after many decades and so does Bono in leather, I hope its pleather!
I love it when people's hands get in the way!
Screen being expanded and lowered...incredible
Bono walking on the bridge
Astronaut Mark Kelly making a guest appearance to my surprise
Yet another Fender Stratocaster...
The Edge and a Beautiful Yellow Telecaster
Adam Clayton
Under "The Claw"
Working U2 Green Team
U2 Green Team, thank you FIU GoGreen!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top 5 Summer Adventures - Miami

Summer is here and here is my list for my top 5 things to do this summer in South Florida!

1- Whale Saving with Key Largo Marine Mammal Conservancy

This makes it to the top of my list not only because it was one of the most amazing experiences for me but because this nonprofit group needs help to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals. After a mass stranding on May 5, volunteers have been needed to assist with three remaining pilot whales. Volunteering is easy, just call head to get your name on the list. Help hold, feed and give therapy to these whales. Read about the success story of two released whales on their website. For more info call: 305-451-4774. Check link below for more info on volunteering.


2- Paddle Boarding

I just can't get enough of this sport! I was introduced to SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) by Carlos Macias, President of SUPAmericas. He has his own boards, lifevests and more and offers tours and trips all over South Florida, in Broward or Dade. My favorite places to paddle include Key Biscayne, Virginia Key, Rickenbacker Causeway (good, calm area for begginers) and Dania Beach. More info on booking a tour or renting the boards below:
Carlos Macias
Ph: 305.785.6834


3- Miami Critical Mass - Bike

Critical Mass invites all bicyclists and other self-propelled commuters take to the streets en masse; last Friday of every month meeting at 6:30 pm from Government Center. About 500 cyclists joined May's Mass, riding 14 miles through Little Havana, Miracle Mile and Biscayne in Downtown. This is not a race but a pleasant ride with others and celebrate cycling while reminding drivers that they must share the road. Every month has a different bike route, check out their fan page: Miami Critical Mass or check out their blog:

can you spot me? I'm at 0:55 in aqua blue shirt!




4- Outdoor Movies (Free Event)

Soundscape at New World Center, near Lincoln Rd. is a 2.5 acre public park with a 7,000 square foot projection wall where concerts and free movie screenings are shown throughout the year. Don't miss out this months 3 remaining films:

Wednesday, June 01, 2011 8:00pm Casablanca

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 8:00pm The Wizard of Oz

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:00pm Dirty Dancing

Arrive early, bring your own food and beverage, make it a picnic! Chairs and blankets are a great idea also! Check the website for schedules on other free performances/concerts! Below are pics of the movie I saw.
Suggested Parking:
City of Miami Beach Owned-and-Operated Garages
17th Street Garage
(located on 17th between Meridian and Pennsylvania)
Fee: $1/hr.



5- Big Night in Little Haiti

Immerse yourself in Haitian Culture: culinary, arts and music! Big Night in Little Haiti brings local bands and artists together for a night of celebration, fun for the whole family! Check out the link below for next months event!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Key West: City of Treasures


My latest adventure led me to the southernmost city in the U.S., Key West! From Miami, a drive down to Key West may take around four hours...I opted to hop on with Xcursion bus tours instead. Our friendly tour guide/driver picked us early in the morning and had a light breakfast ready for us. Along the way, our guide pointed out sights and relived the story of Henry Flagler riding his first train to Key West. The Seven Mile Bridge is a spectacular sight of open water. Once you arrive in downtown Key West, you will have many options to exploring this city.

The Conch Train promises 400 years of fun history, a narrated train tour all around downtown Key West. There are stops along the way where you can hop-on or hop-off the train. You may also opt for taking a walk along famous streets such as Duval; I recommend having a printed map handy and familiarize yourself with main streets and locations of sights. The main sights I recommend include: Southernmost Point ("90 Miles from Cuba"), Ernest Hemingway's House, Audubon Gallery and Mallory Square. At Mallory Square, "the sun sets and the fun begins". This is the place to go and see the sun part from the sky; find out the time the sun sets that day and arrive early to get a good seat along the mural. Performers start their fire juggling shows and musicians sing their heart out as crowds congregate everyday at the square, its a beautiful tradition. Also, the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum, Key West Aquarium and the Historical Memorial Sculpture Garden are also located on the Square.

All these adventures got me hungry, I headed to Sloppy Joe's to savour their famous sloppy sandwich and pulled pork sandwich. (Note: you might get a little messy!) The highlight of my trip was really the sunset, it's an amazing spectacle to see how the sun vanishes and evaporates to the very last drop of light on the horizon. For anyone visiting or living in South Florida, Key West is truly a must on your destinations list, one of the many treasures of Florida waiting for you to discover.

For more information on booking a bus trip with Xcusions USA, please contact Lenin at (786)350-6454.


Our Bus, best option for Key West, you'll get to enjoy the view along the way!


Looking for treasure


Getting ready for the sun!




Sloppy Joe's



I'm 90 miles from Cuba!


The highlight of my day, literally!