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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
Re: kosher food in airport lounges
I posted this in the lounge thread but since this is the thread regarding kosher food I'm posting the info here again.

I was just in EWR and went to the ART lounge, some points:
1) No need to show a boarding pass.
2)Not all food is kosher, they have a fridge full of kosher food, tuna eggs fruit bagels and cake all  are wrapped in plastic containers from Majestic catering in NJ under the supervision of Rabbi Teitz.
3) There are paper hot cups for coffee  and plastic cutlery for the food
4) if You want CY milk all you have to do is ask for it there was a nice few bottles of Goldenflow milk there.
Nice report. Much appreciated thank you.

January 23, 2017, 12:08:47 AM
Re: Israel Master Thread: Things To Do, Places To Eat Crave. My new favorite restaurant anywhere. Funky vibe. Sat at the bar. Some music not tznius. Owner Tzvi from LA, wears knot kippa, might be/have been Chabad.  Food was 10+/10. Sam I Am (lamb burger slider, not on menu), wings, crispy chicken sliders, fish tacos, onion rings (best ever in my life). The Reuben looked great, as did the strip steak burrito but we didn't try them.  Photos attached.  Located on periphery of Machane Yehuda. Next to Ishtabach (which is also solid...will review Ish another time).
January 29, 2017, 04:01:58 PM
Re: Israel Hotels Master Thread
so it so it looks like i am going to the leonardo plaza jlem. is it worth it to pay an extra $53 per night ($425 total) for a balcony room at the plaza, or will the window rooms be just as good/have more internal space? any other suggestions re choosing rooms?
I am currently at Leonardo Plaza. I wouldn't say it is bad at all.  For sure it is not the Waldorf. Both in terms of hard and soft product, it is average to above average.  The breakfast spread is very good. Service there excellent.  Again, not the sumptuous WA, but more than adequate.  The room is a little dated and needs some maintenance. I have a balcony which is nice -- could imagine being great in better weather. I can't compare to the nonbalcony rooms in terms of space. Depends how much time you plan on sitting out on mirpeset.  Seems kind of steep to me to pay >10% more for it.

January 30, 2017, 03:37:32 AM
Re: kind of an emergency, so please respond asap DDF at its best.
February 20, 2017, 02:19:25 PM
Re: Las Vegas and Death Valley Nice report. Good balance of text and pics.  I appreciated that you took the time to make sure it was spell checked, grammatically correct, and logical. I guess you are an engineer.

Thanks for taking the time to write, and welcome to the Forum. Stick around.

March 28, 2017, 11:10:06 PM
free box of 24 crayola crayons at Staples (in-store only) for texting a code Text DANDELION to 555-444 and if one of the first people, you'll get free box of 24-ct Crayola crayons.
March 31, 2017, 10:50:00 AM
Re: free box of 24 crayola crayons at Staples (in-store only) for texting a code thanks, everyone. I changed the title.

March 31, 2017, 12:23:47 PM
Re: Anti-Malarial Drugs for Vacation - Any Experiences? Malarone is generally the most effective and best well-tolerated.
CDC's website is generally very good and digestible.

May 08, 2017, 03:25:06 PM
Re: ZFV Master Thread
Took the train @ ZFV. Nobody asked to see the train ticket at EWR. But didnt check luggage, and went straight to the gate.
Also, if you use the automated kiosk to get your ticket, you need a CC in your name to begin the process.
Thanks for taking the time to post the data point.

June 12, 2017, 10:24:52 AM
Re: (Live at 4pm Eastern) 10 meal prep containers for $0.45! OP/seller is very responsive! I emailed him and he sent me a code that worked.
July 10, 2017, 03:23:06 PM
Re: Which/How Many Commercial Airports Have You Flown Through?
North America:
32 Domestic + 138 Intl = 170 Total
How can you not have been to Boston?! When are you coming for a visit?

August 10, 2017, 09:33:18 PM
Re: HOT!!!! AC ERROR FARES!! I got a pleasant surprise when booking BOS-PEK for me, DW, DD1 and DD2. Google Flights had it for about $200 pp but when I went to ticket, the price dropped to about $150 pp. I thought for sure the repricing was going to mean the deal was dead but in reality, it got even better. Anyone else have this?
August 27, 2017, 01:15:11 PM
Re: Gift Card and gas Promo at Stop & Shop or Giant
Next week, Nov. 3-9:
2x on Amex GCs.
Thanks.  Always appreciate that you take the time to post these advance notices.

October 28, 2017, 11:30:00 PM
Re: Amazon-glad storage bags(gallon)-108-as low as $3.59
yes very simple just go out of taptalk into Chrome page and back into Taptalk very simple.
You must be way more techie than I am. Would you mind walking me through?
Go out to where?
Open the Chrome app?
Then I have to navigate to DDF?
Not so simple.

November 02, 2017, 10:39:10 AM
Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius I nominate for best first TR.
Thanks for all the excellent writing and photos and stories.
Wishing you and Esther a beautiful life together.

November 06, 2017, 01:29:34 PM
Re: Dubai Master Thread
Dune safari is nice and fun, enjoy your trip.
Thanks.  Gotta also say that the Park Hyatt Dubai absolutely rocks (as others have said here).

November 12, 2017, 02:03:17 PM
zow’s father-daughter Dubai TR Overview:
We snagged the August 2017 AC error fares (~$247 pp RT, including the seat assignment fees for the long-haul legs) for BOS-DXB via YYZ. Spent four nights in Dubai, including Shabbat. Sightseeing, relaxing, and hopefully helping my daughter to appreciate the people, land and culture of a different part of the world. We left Boston Tuesday after work/school; arrived in DXB Wednesday evening; visited Abu Dhabi Thursday; did dune bashing tour Friday; chill Shabbat at the Park Hyatt; Dubai Mall and Fountain Show motshash; Jumeira Mosque, Burj al Arab and, finishing with sunset from Burj Khalifa on Sunday, before departing DXB at midnight Sunday night.

Flights and Airports:
Tuesday afternoon BOS-YYZ
  AC departs BOS from a sterile alcove in Terminal B, with no direct lounge access. 
Fortunately, I learned that I could access the main Terminal B area with my AC boarding pass and use the Admirals Club. Does mean need to go through TSA twice but not a big deal with PreCheck and short lines. 
Had about 90-min layover in YYZ, enjoyed the PP lounge, though not much kosher there.
Tuesday night YYZ-DXB
  No matter how you look at it, it is a long flight, especially in Y. The flight was totally full. We had reserved the window and aisle, but gave up the aisle when Mrs. Middle arrived.  The KSML (Hamasbia, IIRC) were edible.  The crew was particularly kind and accommodating.   They were very understanding when I asked them if I could daven in the galley area.  Slept about 4-5 hours (not great sleep but adequate) before davening shacharit.  Then watched TV most of remainder. Davened mincha. Arrived into DXB.
  Immigration line was long. It must have been 25+ minutes.  But no issue whatsoever from the friendly Emirati border agent. On my passport there is an Israel stamp (from 2010–they don’t stamp any more) and the yellow security stickers on the problem.  My daughter’s name is very problem. 
  Got our luggage , walked through the green “nothing to declare” line, and voila into the arrival hall.
  Picked up our Hertz rental (had reserved via PL) — they have a desk just past customs.  Cars are parked in the lot just across the roadway—in a short-term Parking lot area.  Got 2018 Mazda 6. About $40/day, all in.
  Grabbed a SIM card from du    For about $15, I think I got 20 SMS, 20 min of calling (anywhere) but only 200MB data, which was gone in the blink of an eye.  (But no worries, as we mostly used WiFi, and we were actually able to use our regular Sprint — free low speed data and $0.20 min for calls.)
(Lodging and activities will follow in subsequent posts.)

We got to the airport way early—7pm for a midnight flight. Check in didn’t open until 9pm —bummer.  But no worries, daughter and I hung at Starbucks (FYI Can’t use Starbucks app/card in UAE.).
After about 90 minutes helping  my daughter learn how to manipulate equations for velocity, acceleration, gravity, etc., we checked in, made our way through security and immigration, and then to the Priority Pass Lounge.
  Immigration was again a breeze.  The agent was friendly, kidded with me a bit (I said we had a great time and wish we didn’t have to go home ... he said we can make sure you don’t get on your flight!). Makes such a difference in life when people interact with you with kindness. I mean, would it cost TSA agents or US CBP anything to be nice, or at least cordial? I know they have a job to do, but they are also ambassadors for our country.  [End rant.]

We spent about 90 minutes in the Priority Pass Lounge. It was very nice.  Not much for strictly kosher diners.  They did have little cups of Baskin Robbins ice cream. They did not have the StarK hechsher, so I didn’t says only kosher if the hechsher is present.  :(. Nice bar and nice shower. 

One comment about Dubai airport.  Dan made a point of saying and showing how stunning it is. He was in the Emirates Terminal. I was in the other international terminal (all airlines except EK). It was fine, but didn’t strike me as gorgeous or stunning. 

Flight home was full. Watched a pretty good movie in Hebrew with English subtitles.  The Women’s Balcony. Chatted with some very nice FAs. Meals were from Thailand Kosher and were fair, edible.  The chicken curry was pretty good but not hot enough.  Didn’t realize until after I opened.   Slept about 5 hours.

Unfortunately flight was about 45 min delayed out of DXB unclear why.  We ended up missing our connection in YYZ, so we went to the Priority Pass Lounge for about an hour, showered and davened.  Lounge is very basic, not nearly as nice as DXB, but functional. 

Got back to BOS, I Ubered home, daughter changed and got her to school and me to work by noon!   A little tired and jet lagged but we both had great stories to tell!

  Hope to write future installments on what we actually did while in Dubai, and a description of the PH, with some pix....

November 19, 2017, 05:38:55 PM
Re: No Trader Joe's Turkeys?
Yes, that's the way I refer to her.

Did not realize that was so uncommon.
Never used it as an appellation, but I like it and will try it out.
Costco has Empire frozen $2.69, if I recall correctly. (Just call me AC :)))

November 21, 2017, 05:15:55 PM
Re: zow’s father-daughter Dubai TR Thursday Activities:
Our first full day.
We checked out of the Ramada and hopped in the car. Weather was great, high 80s and clear.
We toured the gold souk and spice souk. 
Like Dan, we struggled to find parking and, in the end, capitulated and paid 20AED to park in a lot across from an entrance to the Gold souk. 

We were not particularly impressed with the souks. We had no intention of buying anything.  Lots of jewelry stores. Also many stores with fake stuff (Rolex, Louis Vuitton, etc). Every few minutes a storekeeper would come up to us to try to get us to look at his stuff.  Nothing overly aggressive, just a little tiresome.  Compared to the souk in the Arab Q of the Old City of Jerusalem, or even the Machene Yehuda, the souks in Dubai seemed more commercialized, more touristy, albeit cleaner and less crowded. 
If you have seen souks elsewhere, I would say you could skip these souks in Dubai.

We then drove to the PH, checked in, had our first BYOK meal, and then drove to Abu Dhabi and the Sheik Zayed Mosque.  Dan and others have written extensively about the mosque, and our pictures — as much as I like them — are nothing special compared to others’.  Still, a few words and our images:

The mosque is huge and absolutely gorgeous.  Even more so in person than in pictures.  It seems to dwarf structures like Notre Dame and Sagrada Familia. The white marble is breathtaking.  Walking around barefoot (required to remove shoes) is a very cool experience (especially since I don’t even walk fully barefoot in my own home! I mean, what if there is a shard of glass or something in the kitchen floor?!).

The tour was worthwhile. It was very focused on the structure of the mosque itself, and only superficially on the practice of Islam.  I did learn that women have the same “chiyuv” to pray as men, but not as essential for them to pray with a kahal.  Men and women are separated, ostensibly so the women feel more comfortable (not sure I’m buying that explanation). Women can lead prayers for other women but not for men.

The furnishings of the prayer halls are amazing. One chandelier weighs 12.5 tons. The oriental rug is the largest in the world.  There are linear depressions in the carpeting that help the supplicants to align shoulder to shoulder as they pray. 
They face Mecca (they call it the Quibla direction), of course, which got me thinking about which direction I should be facing when davening in Dubai.  I haven’t yet asked my LOR, but from what I read, as people in Israel know and do, the custom is to face Jerusalem, by the closest route.  So, henceforth, I faced almost due WEST!

Back to the tour and the mosque.  We had arrived around 4:15 and had to wait around for the 5:00 tour.  We could have arrived at 4:45 and been fine.  It was nice being there through sunset to see the different colors and light effects on the facades.  I would have loved to see it in full night lighting but we were too tired to stay any longer.

I should also say that they provide abaya for women and white robe for men if not dressed modestly.   Women — even unmarried girls! — need to Cover their hair. And women must cover knees and elbows.  Men couldn’t wear shorts, IIRC.
Entry is free of charge.  There is a metal detector at entrance. 

Would have liked to spend some more time in AUH. The Louvre has just opened days earlier.  My daughter was not interested, and I’m not even sure we could have gotten tickets.  I also considered going for a fancy gold leaf cappuccino at the Emirates Palace. I was intrigued when Lucky posted his pics and story.  But in reality, I wouldn’t drink it out of their beautiful china cup and saucer, and i think that asking them to put it in a paper or glass cup not only defeats the purpose but might even offend.   Not to mention require me to explain myself.  So, as a compromise, I have promised myself a fancy cappuccino next time we visit the WAJ.

Daughter isn’t a big fan of roller coasters, and I’m not either. So, we skipped Ferrari world, too.

Even though our whole trip to Abu Dhabi was just for the Mosque, it was definitely worthwhile.    We drove back to the PH and called ahead so our dinner would ready for us upon our arrival.

Next day’s activity: Arabian Adventures dune bashing, camel ride, and sand boarding. (Coming soon, IYH).

November 21, 2017, 10:31:53 PM
Re: Staples $25 off $100 with Visa Checkout
You are correct, you need to use Visa checkout to get the $25 off.
I get to the checkout screen with the GC in the basket, proceed through Visa Checkout, and it actually says, "get $25 off $100 with Visa Checkout," but it doesn't take the money off the total.

November 27, 2017, 12:01:27 PM
Re: zow’s father-daughter Dubai TR
You posted same thing twice

It was SO great that it deserved reposting! Actually, maybe I should refrain from posting from my phone at 1am?!

Some new pix to make amends:

Pool area. 

Outside the fitness/spa.

Views from mirpeset.

November 30, 2017, 11:37:02 AM
Re: Target gift cards
Selling now Target gift card's   $100 x 7     92%

November 30, 2017, 07:04:10 PM
Re: Amex Offers Discussion Thread
StubHub $15 off $75

I only received it on 1 au on everyday

Anyone else get this offer? on what card?
What’s it good for?

tickets or hopefully gc

I just purchased a $75 StubHub electronic GC. Purchase coded as WGC STUBHUB.  I did not got email or alert acknowledging use of the Offer.  Has anyone had any other experience?

December 03, 2017, 01:24:20 PM
Re: Hidden City Ticketing
You have to go with the right approach.

I flew that flight this past week & instead of waiting for them to confront me. Straight up I said I'm flying to ORD & have a tight connection in EWR, will I make it.

Besides for assuring me that the flight is on time No further questions were asked of me.
I bet you ended up missing your connection in EWR.

February 02, 2018, 03:57:16 AM
Re: Time Off to Travel I saw that @DTM asked me this question somewhere else but now I can’t find it (paging @TimT). This thread is probably the best place for an answer.

For me, I have discovered travel only in the last 3-4 years, coinciding with discovering DDMS then DDF.  Also coincides with my wife and I approaching (now traversing) our 50th birthdays and realizing that we wanted to have special time and experiences with our children while we and they are still able and available.

My wife and I both get about five weeks of vacation a year. I’m a physician but spend most of my time in research and administration, so I am fortunate that I can be pretty flexible with my time.  We are able to take comp time for chagim and don’t need to use vacation days for it.

All that said, I have taken a lot of time off in the last few months, and I am feeling it at work — behind in many projects.   I keep reminding myself that no person on his deathbed ever said, “I wish I had spent more time at work.”  Still, there does need to be moderation and balance. 

February 13, 2018, 09:59:00 PM
Re: Toys R us going out of business sale DDMS has been posting their Going Out of Business sales for a few years now. 
March 22, 2018, 09:25:20 AM
Re: KSML (Kosher Airline Meals) Master Thread
At least is was not kosher for Passover gefilte fish :)
Doesn’t look terrible. 
Also, I appreciate that you posted it, and particularly want to thank you for the photos and for following the structured format for reporting.  We should all do that!

April 10, 2018, 09:24:45 AM
Re: What Award Itinerary Did You Just Book/Hold?

Worth trying out El Al Premium on the daytime return flight from TLV-EWR or just stick with UA J?

Who are you and what have you done with Dan?

May 02, 2018, 04:47:33 PM
Re: 5 years and off to palm springs Great report.
B’shah tovah.

May 09, 2018, 01:39:36 PM
Re: 2 dozen Roses and vase for $15.97
Tough to tell from the pic, but I trust your mother.  Not good news.

May 10, 2018, 01:16:14 PM
Re: Amex add a authorize user as an Additional and get rewarded!

Thanks for trying.

We are sorry, you are not able to apply for an Additional Card online.
Please call the number on the back of your Card if you have additional inquiries.

May 28, 2018, 08:14:43 PM
Re: What Award Itinerary Did You Just Book/Hold? BOS-CUN-BOS
DL Y nonstop
21,000 DL +$85 pp.

June 11, 2018, 04:30:48 PM
Re: Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan $15/month I have the sprint free unlimited plan with 5 lines. I need to buy two new iPhones for my DS and DD. What’s my best approach?
Port them both to another carrier?
Have one of them port back to Sprint with a new iPhone purchase, and then get the second iPhone free, with the other line posted back to the second iPhone?
So, can they both get free for a year? Or is there additional fee now for the second line?

I feel so confused.  Thanks in advance for any help.

June 12, 2018, 10:55:59 PM
Re: Gift Card and gas Promo at Stop & Shop or Giant
Reminder :)
As if any of us needed reminding.  ;)

July 13, 2018, 02:13:39 PM
Re: A little R+R in Cancun with @Yehuda Thanks for a great TR.  Glad you had a wonderful time -- really valuable to get away as a couple.
Our Dag Dag experience was virtually identical!
We are headed to the Hyatt Ziva in January. We don't have status but hope we might get upgraded to something resembling your great-looking suite.
Thanks again.

August 13, 2018, 12:04:13 PM
Re: What Hotel Award Reservation Did You Just Book/Hold Category 1-5, 7-night certificate at Calgary Airport Marriott.
Phone rep said, "Oh that's a lovely property."
Incredulous, I asked, "have you stayed there?"
"Yes, I have," she dead-panned.

Well, I'm not really planning to stay there...just hoping I can arbitrage my cert. to a New Category 5 and flip it to the Residence Inn Maui Wailea.

Calling back to do a second identical certificate.
Second agent: "Dr. zow, you do realize that hotel is right inside the airport terminal?"
Me: "Yes, very convenient."
(Who spends a week at an airport hotel inside the terminal?)  ???

August 15, 2018, 04:17:54 PM
Re: Panama in 3- A mini TR Excellent TR. thank you!

Maybe I didn’t read carefully enough — did I miss a Panama Canal tour?

Also, how did you get the upgrade at the Sortis?

August 16, 2018, 11:51:50 PM
Praise for El Al This thread probably won’t get much love, but to be fair, we probably should point out the unusually good stuff as well as the bad.

Yesterday when my daughter checked in at Logan, both of her checked bags were about a pound over limit. Agent didn’t flinch and on they went.  The agent asked to weigh my daughter’s rolling carry-on bag, which was about twice the allowable weight.  Then she saw her (heavy and overstuffed) backpack, and asked are you carrying on that one, too? 

The agent then said you may as well check the rolling bag here, because it is a full flight and almost certainly the gate agent will make you gate check it.   She happily checked it, no charge for extra bag or extra weight, and wished my daughter Nesiya tovah. 

Cheers to this El Al agent for being customer-centered and being flexible around their rules. 

August 22, 2018, 11:40:48 AM
Re: Praise for El Al
Thread has been reported to the mods. Please take your ElAl praise elsewhere! /s

But seriously, I don't see the big deal here. All airlines gate check when there is no room for additional carry on items. Seems like this agent was doing the same thing that a gate agent would do.
Not being a stickler about exact weight limits is nice.

It was more about the weight of the carryons.  The rolling bag was almost 15kg and the backpack, which she ended up carrying on, was 10kg.  The published limit is one piece @ 8kg. 

I realize not a big deal, but it is Elul and I’m trying to be positive. 

August 22, 2018, 02:40:21 PM
Re: Boston Master Thread
I'll be in boston for the day on Sunday.  Any  ihg or hyatts near kosher food and/or minyan?
Any good family resteraunt recomendations for breakfast and lunch?
Kosher Wok, formerly known as Taam China, is best for lunch. For breakfast not many options. Kupels for bagels — self serve bakery with place to sit , not really a restaurant.  J.P. licks has bagels and muffins.  The one in JP has waffles and quiche but also not really a restaurant — self serve. 
Milk street cafe great for breakfast or lunch but closed weekends.

CP Newton had pointsbreKs this quarter. Can daven In Newton or in Brighton. 

October 24, 2018, 08:25:02 AM