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Re: South Florida Master Thread what to do in/near south beach when the 3 days im here are rainy (very rainy)?!
October 16, 2011, 10:04:22 PM
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Groupon Master Thread For everyones convenience i put together the most recent Groupon deals that are scaterred all over the forum, i havent checked each one if theyre alive or not, just sorted by date.
please continue to post Groupon deals here.

$39 for 60-Minute Rifle- or Shotgun-Shooting Experience...
Magazine subscriptions for just $5
Shalom Bombay
Clicky the Clickable Value-Wheel – Win Up to $100 in Groupon Bucks
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square
Icon All-Day NYC Parking Pass $16
53% off at mendy's in NYC
$10,000 (RTW ticket on DL)

January 18, 2012, 09:15:12 PM
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Re: Alaska Master Thread TRIP REPORT:

This past summer there was a massive sale on flights from NY to Anchorage , and right when i saw that i jumped on it and booked tickets for November (last week) with 3 other friends. There was one Problem, November is the wrong time to go to Alaska!! i did some research , but i couldn’t do much since the prices were going higher by the minute. I tried reading through this thread but there was no proper trip report for the winter and i guess i just TOFTT and here goes:


Sunday:
6 AM flight out of LGA connecting Through ORD. All 4 of us had a bag (and food) + one big box of food that we brought with. They each weighed about 70 lbs or so! Thank G-d i have status with AA and i am allowed 3 bags up to 70lbs along with the complimentary upgrade i got until ORD which allowed me an additional bag and one of the guys had a citi AA card which gave the 5th bag free. A little tip to the curbside check in guy and are few extra pounds above 70 were fine :)

Arriving in Anchorage, it was cloudy and snowy. The first snow fall of the season came that morning and all the roads were slippery and dangerous. Weather was in the low 20’s.We went straight to hertz to pick up a 4WD - Tahoe  - which was redeemed using 4400 Hertz points for the week (saved us $1100) and hit the road for a long drive to Fairbanks. We stopped at the Chabad in Anchorage and dropped off some stuff they asked us to bring from NY and took a small tour of the nice building. Very welcoming rabbi and Rebbetzin. They invited us to come Friday night and eat with them which was nice.

Fairbanks: - Sunrise 9:15am / Sunset 3:58p
7 hours later in snowy and carful night drive we arrived in Fairbanks and checked in to the Holiday inn express which was cheap and comfortable and we booked it an hour before we got there. In general every night we were spontaneous , so we would book the hotels online right before we got there. Morning came in Late :)

Monday:
CHEENA HOT SPRINGS - An hour and half drive east from the city but worth it. its a pleasant drive and decent scenery. The hot springs is a pool of water in middle of a bunch of rocks which is naturally hot and really relaxing. The weather was 6 degrees outside and we got into our bathing suits and jumped in! really cool - Entrance Fee: $15 per person (unless your a guest at the resort there) and bring your own towel or it costs $5 more for a small towel.
ICE MUSEUM - before we entered the hot springs we signed up for the 1 o’clock tour of the ice museum and we opted for the $15 apple martini in glass cups which is pretty cool. The ice museum was warmer then outside as it was 20 degrees indoor and everything is made of Ice . Really nice sculptures. - its quite small though. Entrance fee  - $20 per person (i think)
There are other things to do there but didn’t look interesting. We drove back to the city and night fell. We checked in to the next hotel and waited till about 11pm where we left to go try and find the Northern Lights……We drove far out into the deep night away from all city lights and the temperature got soo cold there, about -15 degrees! . We couldn’t find the lights so we just hung out in the snow a bit and headed back to Hotel.

Tuesday:
The plan was to go to talkeetna 4 hours south and take a plane ride around Denali but we left Fairbanks too late so we scheduled for the next day.
We drove down towards Denali. An hour in to the ride the view became gorgeous! We didn’t know what the view was since we drove through the night on the way in. It just got nicer and nicer. Amazing mountains covered in snow. Just driving around like that is worth it to go there. Passing through Denali everything was shut, all stores, kiosks, and attractions are boarded up or gated for the winter. Really deserted. we also had the highway to ourselves almost the whole week!. We entered Denali National Park, but 3 miles in it was closed off. :( and only on park ranger around which pulled us over but thats for a diff time :) So we found a nice little spot with a gorgeous view and parked for lunch. After lunch we continued down the beautiful highway towards Talkeetna township where we found online a bed and Breakfast which id defiantly recommend you go to.

Its called Overlook inn. It overlooks the mountain view line of Denali. Google them, its a little hard to find them at night, but we managed. Its a big house (building) 4 stories and an older sweet couple taking care of it. They have different options for rooms which obviously all include a non kosher breakfast. We took the biggest suite which had a queen size, a pull out sofa bed, a twin bed on top level of room (studio style) and a blow up mattress. - Best view from there. The whole house was empty and the couple stayed away so we had the whole thing to ourselves. Theres a very lounge comfy lounge space thats supposed to be shared but was empty. couches , game tables, furnace, dining table all wooden and nice, and a beautiful large kitchen which we used to make our own BBQ n stuff. price for the suite was $219 (split by 4)

Wednesday:
The Denali plane ride place called us and told us the weather was too cloudy and they canceling flights….so we didn’t do it. Continued driving down south towards anchorage and stopped in whissler. (where Sarah Pallin lives) Nice little town. Nothing really to do there so we drove another hour and half to Matanuska Glaciers.
MATANUSKA GLACIER - it is a must in the winter. (and summer prob) its a gorgeous drive -diff then denali highway - at mile marker 102 theres a place there where they give tours and stuff which we went on. It was a snowmobile with a big sled in back which had benches on it and he took us around all the glaciers until night fell. AMAZING place!! Glaciers are really cool, we got to go in them and around and on top. Don’t miss it.
We then drove another 3 hours past Anchorage to Seward. They say the view is unbelievable there, but we knew we’d see it on return. The nice thing was that the full moon was out and very bright so we were able to see the mountains in the moon light which was also breathtaking .
Checked in to the holiday inn

Thursday:
We woke up to no snow! Seward is all the way south so it was just nice and cool. The funny part was that 10 min north when you leave Seward its all snowy. We drove around but there was nothing to do besides look at the scenery and town that was all closed up. There is an exit nearby thats called exit glacier which we planned on going there but they closed it that morning. So we started drive north west to Keenai. about an hour and a half. This drive was also beautiful and the best spot was the frozen lake with mountains surrounding it 360 degrees at the fork where you can go down to Keenai.
KEENAI - had bad weather. small blizzard and annoying. - We went to Walmart there and got some pans and coals to make a BBQ on the Frozen snowy deserted beach. When Night came we decided to go closer to anchorage so we don’t get stuck for shabbos was it comes in at 4pm
We decided to go to Whittier for the night. we googled a place to stay there and found June’s Suites. which she has a bunch of rooms on top of the tales t building there and over looks the small tiny town. We paid like $135 total for Queen size, 2 x twin and couch .
WHITTIER - its a small town that originally was trying to hide from Japanese! weird if you ask me :) The road to get in is really interesting. You need to enter a one way - one lane tunnel that is supposed to accommodate two way traffic and a train. So they set up times for each direction and train. - Every 15-30 min one side gets to go through. Even though it was empty theres a gate closed so we couldn’t just go . When we did go the speed limit is 25 and i went about 50 - which i only found out later i was being watched when a cop found me at the hotel and asked why i was speeding. but he was cool, no ticket, he was just telling me to be careful and welcoming me to his ton cuz he’s the only cop there!! - the town is walking distance

Friday:
We drove about 10 miles to Alaskas Animal Recreation Center. Entrance fee per person is $12 or $35 for a full car. We were lucky that we saw one brown bear, because now the bears are all in hibernation. but there are many other interesting animals you don’t see at your local zoo. besides that the view surrounding you just makes you want to stay there! - on the way up to anchorage we stopped in gird wood where they have Aleyeska Ski resort , but skiing was closed until the 28th of november so no skiing!
Made it to anchorage an hour and half before shabbos - took a hotel suite behind the chabad house. Raddisson inn - $160 for 2 queens , a pull out couch and a roll away .

Friday night: No minyan at Chabad , and we walked to Rabbis house for a nice meal.
Shabbos Day : 10 am Minyan at Chabad and nice full fledged Kiddush - by the time your  done your cholent shabbos is almost over!

Motzei Shabbos: The Jewish federation had a massive fancy dinner (450 ppl ) and an auction with 800 + items. So we just stopped by to show support and helped out with the Jewish Classical Chassidic Dancing - Then went to shower up and headed for the Airport for a midnight flight with a stop in SEA (and a complimentary upgrade from there)

Landing in NY at 50 degrees was the hottest 50 degrees I’ve ever felt!! :)

OVERALL: Don’t go in November - if your not sure Seward or Denali (south or north) its a tough call cuz i like to see it all but i personally liked the south view a lot more although some may disagree.
Cell phone service - we had in al the cities 4G LTE (at least i did with Verizon) and on road 3g or 1x and then an hour out of city Dead service.

Tip: when its freezing outside , make sure you have a nice bottle of whisky or tequila as it really feels amazing!

December 01, 2013, 10:51:14 PM
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Re: CBS Travels South Africa

Thanks to Dansdeals, I managed to catch the gitch in November from united and booked to go for a week and a half to South Africa For $480 round trip in March.

Now on my way back on this long flight typing up this TR. - (Wrote this in March on plane ride back)

Cape Town

SUNDAY:
Departed EWR on United to FRA with a 12 hour stop, rented a car, drove around, sat in starbucks went to top of building with a nice veiw of city, did nothing much in FRA then headed to airport, showered in Lufthansa business lounge , which i accessed with my united club card (not the CC, but the card that comes with it )then flew Lufthansa to JNB. Landed tuesday morning .

TUESDAY:
Booked a separate flight from JNB to CPT , so right when we to to JNB we took a Kulula flight to CPT. -before we left for CPT we went to the phone store in airport and got sim cards with data and that was our gps and internet for the trip. I was very lucky because my passport was just about full and they require an empty page in passport, so they almost sent me back but she made an BIG exception and let me in.
After a little delay we made it to CPT at about 3pm. Very sunny and nice weather.


Accommodations - we rented a house on airbnb.com which was really nice, not too expensive and great location. it was in Gardens suburb , not too far from the water and the mountains. great views.
Transportation - we rented a car from Avis which was quite cheap (especially since it was manual). its really nice that you can park anywhere without having to pay meters. the only thing is that theres a “parking committee” and they watch your cars officially and its nice to tip them a few rand before you pull out .
Food - its really nice that there are lots of kosher products in South africa, just look for the beis Din sign . - There isn’t really cholov yisrael though. we ate a meal at the meat restaurant called Avrons. Food was decent , nothing to rave about . but defenitly not expensive -For breakfast we ate at the restaurant thats in the campus of the Gardens shul which is near the holocost museum. I also have relatives in CPT so i got invited there as well for some meals


Attractions:  First day we were knocked out so we just ate and headed to bed.

WEDNESDAY
Waterfront - is a nice place in sea point area which has a nice walk path and some shops
Cape point - its about an hour and half drive from city and its a beautiful drive . When you get down there theres an entrance fee as its a national park. then you can either climb up the path which we did , takes 20 min approx and go to the lighthouse - Gorgeous views. Thats the spot where the atlantic and the indian ocean meet . we then took the cable cart down which cost about 50 rand -
Table top Mountain - Drove back through the a Chapmans Peak scenic route. AMAZING drive - it has a little toll there . and you must pay in cash. Most of SA you can pay with CC. We took the cable cart up to table top, theres a fee for that , and its really nice there. i recommend going when you have time and spend an hour or so up there. - theres a bar and snacks there. and then you can take a walk to the other side of the mountain and see extraordinary views.

THURSDAY
Lions Head - We climbed up the mountain. its not a hard Clim but i can’t say its so easy . -although we did see some kids going with their parents. No fee . It takes about 45-50 mi without stopping. but we stopped and took some pics as its amazing up there. so it took 1:20 hr to climb up and 45 min down  Make sure to put lots of sunscreen and bring  a bottle of water or 2 and preserve it . dont just pound it down , you’ll need it - On top of the mountain is BEAUTIFUL . one of the nicest Places I’ve seen and i love CPT for this .
Paragliding  - we wanted to do but there was no wind so we couldn’t
-skydiving - was over booked so we couldldnt go  -(recommended)
camps bay -its a beautiful beach front with nice mountain views - 12 apostles .
Blouberg - Is a nice 25-30 min drive from Sea point with a nice views of table top from a far. You can also go to the beach there and watch some amazing kite surfing on a nice windy day

We then Took a 10pm flight to JNB which landed 12 midnight , rented an automatic car from Hertz (prepaid weekly rate) and headed to a relative where i stayed for the remainder of my JNB stay .

Johannesburg

Things to Know: JNB isn’t dangerous if you don’t act stupid and are aware of your surroundings. Driving at night is fine. if you get to a red and you see people there (we didn’t ) and no cops around then its recommended to take the red . All houses are gated, with high level security. but when you are there especially in middle of day you don’t feel threatened. There are lots of jewish people living there and many good CHEAP kosher restaurants / bakeries/ butchery / supermarkets there.


FRIDAY
Soweto - we paid about 500 ZAR for a tour of soweto township, which is interesting if you want to see how the africans live and some background history and tour of Nelson Mandelo first house. 
Then we just went to the butchery and some other supermarkets to get some food.

SHABBOS
Friday night at Sydenham Shul , if you like a nice choir thats the place to go, shabbos day had a nice lunch there.
Shabbos day we davened by Chabad Torah Academy which is a 10 minute walk from Sydenham.
Motzei Shabbos we ate at a place called The Deli in sandton .you can practically eat a cow for a few dollars. :) Steaks are $15-20 and appetizers are cheap.

Kruger

SUNDAY - MONDAY - TUESDAY
Things to know: Very important that you get a big car, like a jeep or SUV or pick up truck or van. It must be booked in advance because they don’t have those cars when you land. We made a mistake and had a midsize car. The problem is that a lot of the grass in Kruger is tall and you can’t see above it or in it .
Book accommodation in advance as well. we were lucky and booked thursday and got the last 2 spots in 2 camps .
You can either stay in one camp for your whole stay or stay in different places and drive to the other one throughout the day  . The drives between camps are between 1.5-3 or 4 hours depending how you drive.
Speed limit is max 50 KMH - if you go slow you will see things. BE PATIENT. you may drive an hour or 2 and not see anything but its all about luck
We saw the BIG 5 twice during our 2.5 days there (besides the rhino only once from far)
We stayed in Satara first night and Skukuza the second night. - I recommend both , but skukuza is more central and more popular. - theres also lower sabie which we couldn’t go because was booked and because of the rains some roads were closed there.
 
Tuesday night we flew back to NY (on taanis Esther! )

Pics coming up in next posts

July 06, 2014, 12:52:48 AM
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Re: JJ1000's 10,000 Post Featuring: A day in the life of Dan, Giveaway, & More Great post JJ , im glad i somehow slipped in there  ;)
July 09, 2018, 01:27:14 PM
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Re: Chiyuv Trip Planning Master Thread
Having been a chiyuv myself, I think that the biggest challenges are minyan planning on travel days, and making sure your activity schedule doesn't take you away from Mincha - obviously this is harder in the winter than the summer.  As an example - if you go to Disney in California, and are not guaranteed that there will be a minyan in the park, even if the nearest shul is 15-20 minutes away, it's still at least an hour away for you to leave the park, find your car, etc.

I agree. and it takes up a nice portion of the evening on trips if u do mincha maariv together.
the problem with relying on websites or Minyan app is that many of them are not up to date and last thing u want to do is scramble around before shkia when u end up in a deserted shul especially in a foreign place

I've had a couple interesting minyan stories too, but one that sticks out was i planned a ski trip to utah with 7 guys and i asked the rabbi to come and i figured ill find 2 more - long story short we landed later and guys didnt want to miss the slope so we had to pull off a late minyan.... when we checked into the hotel in park city we met to yarmulkas hanging around - g-d sent- exactly what we needed !

Never been but Cancun sounds like a good option.
lol it all sounds good to me . but gotta be careful which area u choose bec u dont want to be driving 45 min to a minyan 3x a day...

July 29, 2019, 11:27:39 PM
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