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Re: The zow Family's First Cancun Vacation Trip Report, 2/2016 Part 2 - Monday.

Flights from BOS to BWI and then from BWI to CUN were uneventful. I was kicking myself for forgetting to bring along DW's expired AXP, but we probably wouldn't have had time, and only she would have been allowed entry, if at all. DD2 wanted wifi inflight bwi to Cun, so we splurged. She said it was spotty, not worth it, and we didn't end up getting it on our return.

I already posted in real time the kosher meal we received on WN (Star-K!):

Arrival in CUN was similar to others' reported experience. Long wait, maybe 30-45 minutes?, at immigration. Once through, about 20-30 minute wait to go through X-Ray scanner of all bags. After getting all our bags through, we pushed the button and got green light. But even then, from other DDFers' experience, I knew we were not home free. Sure enough, I hear one agent say something about one of our multi-colored bags. I also heard them say something about frutas, but I know we didn't have any produce, nor did we have any perishables whatsoever. All we had were packaged snacks. So, we kept walking because they weren't talking to me directly. But before we can make it to the exit doors, an officer stops us and says she wants to examine our bags. Asks if we have any meat or chicken. Nope. But she is looking for fruit. As she's rifling though our bag, it occurs to me that our can of tennis balls might be the culprit. Sure enough, they thought we were trying to smuggle in citrus, chas v'shalom.  So after that slight delay, off we went.

We rented at Hertz as I said before. The area outside the customs area and, particularly, past the rental car and shuttle desks, was packed with people.  We could see the row of rental car offices just about 100 yards away. Apparently people do take shuttle bus but seemed to us so much easier to walk, given the crowds of people and apparent gridlock. Glad we walked. Was easy, though we had to snake around a fence that prevents walking as the crow flies.

Already reported above how Hertz made sure we got the executive treatment...not. But the rental process was reasonably smooth. When they brought the SUV out, I proceeded to start taking photos of any little scratch. Not to be outdone, the Hertz guy was also taking photos with his iPad, and they eventually emailed me the photos with the rental agreement. I like that protocol.

Driving from airport to the strip was uneventful. I was very cautious with my speed. Of course in had my wallet prepped with a $10USD and $5 USD no more, but thankfully never had to use them.

We passed a Krispy Kreme Doughnut store. We didn't stop. I can't find anything online either way regarding its hashgacha or lack thereof. Does anyone know?

Arrived at the Aloft uneventfully. Parking was ridiculously cheap. I don't recall but something like $2USD overnight. Got checked in easily, two adjacent non-connecting rooms. Rooms are spartan but as Shiframeir said, they do provide bottled water. The beds were comfortable and the bathrooms clean and functional. We didn't have a chance to check out the rooftop pool. When I asked the front desk agent if the water was warm, she said sure. When I asked if it was heated, she smiled sheepishly, so I take that as a "no".

We were all hungry for dinner. We decided to go to Dag Dag. Called first and got no answer. Decided to walk over but got there and found the place dark. The security guard for the building told us it hadn't been open for months.

By now, the natives (three teenagers) were not only hungry but also feeling that maybe Moses had taken them out of Egypt, where they always had plenty of meat, chicken, fish, etc, with the unfulfilled promise of the land of milk and honey. Fortunately, as always, Hashem heard their rumblings and gave them a sign.
(Photos from Google)

Key thing here is that the Kosher Luxus - Red Heifer is one place. And they moved sometime in mid 2015 from near LM to current location, around corner from Aloft. And the good news is that with the move, the quality of food and service seems to have moved up a few notches.

Unfortunately I didn't take many photos but we were satisfied with almost everything we ordered. After reading Dan's report, I kept looking for the guacamole from the package and the uninspired local cuisine, but we didn't find it. They served a bread basket that could have been refilled but I don't recall that they did.  Dan had described the bread as airy and not satisfying; I thought it was pretty tasty and of good substance, not airy. Everything we had was tasty; some items, like the duck carnitas and the beef tostadas were especially memorable. The nachos were just fair -- they didn't have any pareve sour cream which we think is essential. In general, we loved the appetizers and liked the mains. That's our general experience most places.

Dessert was good but nothing to write home about. There was a volcano cake (the red heifer brownie) thing that wasn't sufficiently gooey but was okay.

The service was excellent. Attentive but not stuffy. Had a nice bottle of wine.

We got back to the Aloft, crashed, and got ready for a good night sleep in advance of our first full day in Cancun.

March 25, 2016, 03:35:09 PM
Re: Boston for a 22 Hour Mileage Run TR with @Itsyehuda Thanks for the HT and the TR.
You did so much in <24h.
Hope to meet you next time.

August 04, 2016, 06:03:08 PM
Re: Keurig Master Thread My local BB&B had K cups for about $0.15. They are marked down as clearance, so it might be store-specific. Box of 42. Regular price $19.99. Marked down to $9.99. Take off 20%, makes it $7.99. Then, remember that you bought $25 GC for $20 via Amex, so effective price is $6.40, which is $0.152.
Expiry date is 5/2018.

September 15, 2016, 05:24:08 PM
Re: PM? Neosporin First Aid Antiseptic Foam for Kids, 2.3oz (Pack of 2) $3.47 PSA:
I would avoid Neosporin.  As much as 1/3 of the general population is allergic to neomycin, one of the three ingredients in Neosporin.  All too frequently, people get a rash from using it.   If you feel that you need a topical antibiotic for skin scrapes/cuts (and most of the time, you don't really need it), stick with bacitracin alone.
zow, MD

September 22, 2016, 02:34:47 PM
Re: Fee free Amex GC at CVS
The guy (or gal) who figures out how to liquidate AXGC is going to win the DDF-equivalent of a Nobel prize.

November 20, 2016, 03:02:32 PM
Seville for Shabbat A friend of ours just got back. She is not a DDFer but wrote up a pretty darn good TR and was happy to allow me to share here. So, HT to her!


1.       Very nice hotel, though not in the center of the city (other side of river, near university):  Barcelo Sevilla Renacimiento.  Was part of Expo 92.
2.       Went to shul Friday night, 6 men, 1 other woman, orthodox, sefardi, hidden in unmarked building in city.  Surprisingly, people not so friendly ,but may have been their discomfort with English.
3.       Ordered kosher food for Friday night with colleague – local community member, Moises Hassan, gets the food from Malaga (I think) – not great, but nice to have it
4.       Went to Flamenco performance (3rd on tripadvisor – yours was sold out, I think) Sunday night – enjoyed – thnx for suggestion
5.       Private tour of Jewish Quarter with Moises Hassan – very interesting – he is extremely knowledgeable – lectures on Holocaust but lawyer by training – thinking of moving to Boston to send son to Maimonides.  Only 25 Jewish families remain.  Tour was very worthwhile and I learned a lot.
6.       Went to Palace – amazing!
7.       Walked all around
8.       Don’t miss the river next time!! (Editor: we were there last summer. )

Conclusion: I would love to go back with (NAME REDACTED) – beautiful city!  Sadly, Jewish life is almost non-existent.


Travel details:  I took the train there from Madrid (which I think you did, too).  Very easy from Madrid airport.  I flew from Seville to Madrid for my return.   Almost missed my flight from Madrid (extreme fog in Madrid delayed flight from Seville), but didn’t, though my bag did.  Since the next Iberia  flight from Madrid-TLV was actually an El Al flight, they wouldn’t take my bag, so had to wait >24 hours for next real Iberia flight to take it.  Oh well.  They will be delivering it to me. (Editor: bag delivered today. I suggested she seek compensation.  She said she was just happy to have her bag!)

Sorry no pics.

December 14, 2016, 06:35:51 AM
Re: A Week in London for 2 10/10 TR. thanks for all the effort.
December 22, 2016, 06:51:03 AM
Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread Hi, Everyone.  I'm sitting by the pool at Westin Lagunamar. Weather is beautiful. As a physician, traveling with my wife and two teenage daughters, none of whom plans to get pregnant any time soon (IYH), I think the risk of Zika is small. It is not zero, and there have been recent reports of Zika-related paralytic/neurological syndromes affecting healthy adults and children. But we are not venturing to the jungle, and we are using repellent at night, and hoping for the best.

Can I ask an Unrelated question: planning a trip to Playa del Carmen next year. Where do people like to stay? I recall an excellent TR reporting an amazing experience at the IC Cozumel, and I hope to include that, but I don't think I can get to Cozumel on a Friday afternoon before Shabbat. So, thinking about Playa. Any experience with the Grand Hyatt? How about davening at the chabad Playa? Thanks.

December 26, 2016, 12:05:49 PM
Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
The Hyatt is gorgeous, huge property, very nice beachfront. but the rooms are a bit on the smaller side.
The regular chabad (20min walk from hyatt, no eruv) seems to be unpopular among travelers as they are often away/closed - PM for his cell)
The moshichist chabad house is more fun but a bit further from the hyatt
Thanks, Suave. We may just spend Shabbos in Cancun then go to Playa and Cozumel after.

I wanted to update the wiki but can't figure out how on TT. I confirmed that there is a vegan felafel downstairs and fleishik resto upstairs at chabad yellow flag of Playa.
See photos. If someone could update the wiki I would appreciate.

December 27, 2016, 01:26:24 PM
Re: Israel Master Thread: Things To Do, Places To Eat
Like to eat or are  ;D assuming it's supposed to say chassidim
The Gr"a shul in Shaarei Chesed is nusach Ashkenaz and every one is welcome. Stream of orthodox depends on the minyan, most are cholent. There are some other minyanim around, take a walk down there and ask someone speaking English who looks your type.
everyone likes a good cholent....
No, I meant most minyanim there are cholent as in a big mix of different stuff.

Big smile. Thank you all.

January 16, 2017, 01:28:17 PM