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Ush's "conference" in OGG   DISCLAIMER: I am not a writer so will not attempt to engage you in a well written TR. Instead I will provide some of the highlights of my trip so you can use them when planning your own Maui trip. (I’ll also try to wow you with some pictures and videos)
This whole idea started last year when I was in HNL for Shabbos and sat near a fellow dentite who was heading to Maui for a dental conference. I thought that was genius: combining a business expense with a beautiful location. As soon as I got home, I googled “dental conference Hawaii” and saw that this company offers courses every year.
 The next stage came when my favorite travel agent, AH, mentioned that there was a really good deal on delta flights in business JFK-HNL. Since this was going to be a “business trip,” I decided that it’s worth going with a revenue ticket (ie tax write-off) and getting the exact dates I needed. Of course my “office manager” (read: DW) needed to be at the conference as well. This was all about 8 months ago. Talk about advanced planning.
FLIGHT: DL JFK-HNL J revenue. HNL-OGG on HA booked with UA
Flying with someone, take the middle seats. You actually feel like you’re sitting next to them, no big divider. Flying alone, take the window.
DL had no problem checking bag through to OGG even though it was on HA booked with UA. You do need at least a 90 minute stopover for the computer to allow it though.
CAR: Hertz using points I bought a long time ago. Went with an SUV and got a Ford Explorer.
HOTEL: Hyatt Regency using points. Was 27k a night.
This is where conference was so it was the most convenient for me
Got upgraded to an ocean view suite. Was in the tower right by regency club so that was nice. Only issue was that it overlooked the luau so we had to deal with the noise until 9 each night.
FOOD: Brought frozen meals from home and bought a toaster in Walmart. Also bought a case of bottled water because hotel doesn’t provide any.
Looooooong flight. I would consider stopping in LA for a few days next time. Ate airline food; served meat at 11:00am. Was ok
Eventually landed in OGG. Took shuttle to hertz- no hiccups. Drove to Walmart to pick up toaster and water
Got to hotel and hondled a little to get upgrade and eventually got it.
Ate cold dinner we brought from NY
First day of conference so I actually had to go. Was rainy and windy day anyway.
Went to aquarium. Was ok, not great. (Atlanta aquarium blows it away).
Walked down Front Street. Banyan tree is very cool. All the stores are basically the same. Lots of timeshare selling people, very pushy.
Woke up early for sunrise on Haleakala. POURING RAIN! Left early. Beautiful weather on the bottom of the mountain. Go figure. I would check next time. Not completely accurate but the best there is
Went back to hotel for conference. Boring lecture so I left early. Hung out by the beach and pool.
Whale watching with Same size boat as PWF but half the crowd. Whales EVERYWHERE. We saw tail flapping, groups of competing males, and dozens of breaches!
Back to the hotel for dinner.
Our RTH day. Left hotel about 7:30. We really just followed along with the book and stopped at whatever sounded interesting
Twin Falls first stop. Good place to swim under a waterfall if you want; we didn’t. Bought a massive coconut to drink out of
Forgot about rainbow eucalyptus
Lot’s of pretty waterfalls to try out my a6000
Got to Sacred Pools about 1.5 hours before sunset. Pools were closed because of rock slide. Didn’t feel comfortable hiking to bamboo forest
Took south loop home. Awesome Views and great sunset!
Sunrise at Haleakala take 2. TOTALLY WORTH IT!
DW hung out at spa while I went to part of lecture
Hung out by pool and beach
Warren and Annabelle at night. Best magic/comedy show I have ever seen!
Flight to HNL on Island air booked with UA. If you can, try to fly HA instead.
Our carryon was weighed and they made s check it for another $35.
Don’t participate in TSA Precheck so had to wait on regular line
Propellor plane smells like you’re driving behind an old truck the entire flight
Juice drink is only 5% juice vs 12% on HA!!!!
Booked Hilton revenue. Cheaper than buying weekend certs. Totally shabbos friendly stairwell. Only issue we had was that when we taped door, it kept opening so I did the “tie-a-gartel-to-the-door-handle” trick. Only 10 minute walk from Chabad.
Nice relaxing shabbos with chabad. Good food, good company.
Hanauma Bay snorkeling. Went through hotel concierge. $25 for transportation and rental.
Flight home

February 27, 2017, 09:59:08 PM
Have a HAPPY PURIM, from Donald Trump. Fun with Thread Titles, Probably the most interesting thread I've ever read

A letter from the president:

Can you please help me? It will take less than two minutes. I am a new member and trying to learn how to get around norton internet security. How will Russia react? With a New Music Video! We Con the World? Who knew? I'm confused. Please Vote! I'm trying to reach Dan, anyone there? Should I change my username? Is it possible to defeat ISIS? Help me out please!!!

Have a Joyful Purim!!,
Donald Trump

Designer Clothing on sale at Macy's
! Dans Deals Advertisement

Random Questions

R: Donald Trump for President?
DT: I thought why not, I'll give it a try and see what happens. It worked well.

R: Is this true?
DT: Nah. It was a GOP Purim shpiel.

R: What's the logic behind your comeback?
DT: America's got talent and they don't settle for anything but the best.

R: What are you doing for Purim?
DT: I'm Keeping Up With The Kushners.

R: What are you drinking, scotch or vodka?
DT: Repost!!! Please delete.

R: Repost?
DT: What are you drinking?

R: What did you dream last night? Your scariest or scary moment.
DT: King Obama.

R:Does money bring you happiness?
DT: I'm the happiest man in America.

An Observant Hawaiian Jew
using a fake name is seeking employment, in case anyone's interested.

R: My wife is not signing up for credit cards, what should I do?
DT: Do you cook/help your wife?

R: Boxers, Briefs or Boxer Briefs?
DT: Speaking briefly, boxers unless you're a boxer then briefs.

R: What's your predictions for 2017?
This year is gonna be HUUUUUUGE!! We are going to make America great again!


March 12, 2017, 12:16:40 PM
Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)! Before I get into all the details of our trip that we took for mid-Winter break.  I just want to let you know that we were traveling with 3 kids from pre-school to middle school so I wanted somewhere where we could both relax and do excursions but at a low-key, non-stressful pace and in a comfortable environment that all my kids would enjoy.

With Panama, I basically found a place that has the ease of vacationing in Miami or Scottsdale but with the adventures you can get in the rainforest and beaches of Costa Rica and Brazil.  On United or Singapore it is also only 35k RT in Economy or 60K in J, with tons of flights out of NY, LA and other markets. Since there are no direct flights from where we live in Denver we booked the outbound through IAH and on the return we did a two night stopover in Cancun.  Because we knew we were going to Cancun we did not make the effort to visit some of the amazing beaches and islands they have in Panama, although I'll try to still provide info on them.

Ok here is it goes (and before I begin, thank you to @Yehuda for helping me with the pictures)...we arrived late on a Sunday and thanks to this AMAZING app called Kosher PTY we had awesome sushi and pasta waiting for us at our hotel!

The app is in spanish but a lot of the words are the same and y'all have google translate so you should be able to figure it out!  Also, they do NOT accept payment over the app, it is just for ordering so remember you need to be there at your delivery time (so you can't have food waiting at your hotel for you).

We stayed at the Hilton on Avenida Balboa, and I would HIGHLY recommend it!  Because hotels are so cheap, I actually decided not to waste any points and just paid for the room (Panama City would be a great place to spend less points by booking with your Sapphire Reserve although I will also have info later on one hotel that might be the best possible use of your Marriott 7 night cert in the whole system).  Since it cost less than two rooms, and I don't like being crammed with our kids into one room we booked an Executive Master Suite.  It was HUGE, over 1100sqft. with a full kitchen and 2 bathrooms.

Here are some pics:

Kitchen, Living and Dining Area

We had a huge bedroom and Master Bath and another full bathroom with shower although my pictures of those are loading her upside down so if someone wants to help me figure out how to post them correctly, I can add some pics of them too!  ;D

Most people don't know that Panama City has more skyscrapers than any city in Latin America (yep, more than Rio and Mexico City) and it has a truly stunning skyline...

The hotel lobby was also just gorgeous with stunning two story windows and views of the Pacific Ocean and Bay:

This is a picture take from our suite of the Waldorf Astoria, one block over (sorry it's showing landscape and not portrait).  You can see it is a row back so it doesn't have water views from most rooms or the pool.  The pool also looks really small.  Because of those reasons and also no breakfast or lounge, I decided to book instead at the Hilton and was very happy with my choice.  The Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Le Meridian and InterContiental are all super close and in what I think is an excellent location.

Since it was a long day of outbound travel and we were there a full week, we decided to make the first day a lazy one.  That morning got up late and went to the Kosher Coffee Bean literally a block from the Hilton and enjoyed some awesome pastries and empanadas and they have beautiful salads and sandwiches too (and all those wrapped goods had a hecsher on each product, in addition to the teudah on the store). I have a picture from here but that one also is loading upside down so it's not included.

We then walked a few blocks more to the Multi-Centro Mall to the HUGE Deli K Supermarket.  My kids actually had fun picking out stuff from Israel and all over that we can't buy in Denver.  They also have a sit down meat and dairy restaurants (we did not order from those though).  For those of you that keep CY, they even had shelf stable CY milk.  We didn't do any overnight or extreme excursions while we were there but if you were you wouldn't have to bring anything from the US and I would pick up everything here.  I regretted packing any snacks as they really do have everything!

After our little shopping trip and laden down with bags we decided to take a cab the almost mile back to the hotel and it was a whopping two bucks and I didn't even have to bargain (try that in Israel or Cancun where you better be ready to battle the cab drivers over fares)!

We then headed down to the gorgeous Hilton Pool, it's on their 12th floor, with great views.

Hope you enjoyed the beginning of my TR, my apologies for newbie photo or other errors and hopefully more is coming soon!

March 15, 2017, 01:52:28 PM
Re: Hogwarts hagadah on ddms
But he did engage JJ, and that's because my concern is legitimate.

Aren't you the one who wrote "There are a few types of deals and disclaimers we add when it's borderline.." - In that spirit, this is borderline leaning over the border.
גוֺ האָג אָ קאַקטוּס 🌵

March 27, 2017, 02:50:59 PM
Re: Ecco shoes for wide feet

Only such problems ;D. Try being a size 17-21 (depending on brand).

That being said, for the last 5 years I've been buying Ecco that's one or two sizes too small (they don't make 'em any bigger) and they stretch to a perfectly comfortable size in around 2 weeks.

So if you get a size 13 (equivalent) Ecco, you'd likely be uncomfortable for a few weeks and then very comfortable for a long while. Worst case get it somewhere with a good return policy.
Shoe stores carry an amazing little red bottle that contains liquid shoe stretch. It varies $3-$6. You get the leather wet and wear the shoes for a couple hours. The leather has to dry before you take it off or else it will shrink back. You can even make your own with an alcohol base. Check Google.

March 28, 2017, 11:03:13 AM
Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
And now we all realize we're going to hell.

TR please

March 28, 2017, 05:21:12 PM
Las Vegas and Death Valley For my kids winter break, we looked up what flights were available for cheap points on Delta. After comparing most of the US, Las Vegas came out cheapest for the days we wanted. I have been all over the US, but have never been to Death Valley so we decided to combine the two.

Thursday midday, we (my mom, my sister, me and three of my four kids) flew from JFK to LAS. We landed midday, rented an SUV and drove to Pahrump, about halfway to Death Valley. We stayed at a really nice Holiday Inn Express that had everything we needed - 2 beds, a pull out couch, microwave and refrigerator plus free breakfast. The hotel was pretty new, clean and the staff was friendly. It was too cold to use the pool. Right across from the parking lot was a casino/bowling alley/movie theater/bar type place and the hotel gave us coupons to get free drinks and tshirts there.

The next morning we drove out to Death Valley. The ride itself is unbelievably beautiful and only a precursor to the amazing views in Death Valley itself. Our first stop in Death Valley was Zabriskie Point - it's a paved path with unbelievable views. The topography is so different from anything I've seen. It's no wonder Star Wars had scenes filmed there! Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very cooperative. It rained most of the time we were there, which is very strange for Death Valley! It almost never rains there. We also drove down to the salt flats and walked on them. It's very cool and very unsteady walking.

IMG_5125 by saw50st8

After Zabriskie Point, we checked in at the hotel. We stayed at the Furnace Creek Ranch. It's a beautiful, clean older hotel. We had two adjoining rooms with a terrace and an amazing view.

IMG_5531 by saw50st8

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On the grounds of the hotel is the Borax Museum, a gift shop/grocery store, restaurants, a pool fed from a hot spring and horses. It was a really nice place to walk around on Shabbos.

Sunday, we were supposed to take a Jeep tour of Titus Canyon, but flooding made it impossible so we changed our destination to Echo Canyon/20 Mule Canyon. We drove up to the mine and were able to poke around a miners shack and see a mine from the outside. The views are breathtaking but the rain made it hard to capture. Then we went to 20 Mule Canyon where my kids loved climbing on the weird hills. We stopped at Borax Works which was okay and drove through mustard canyon.

IMG_5261 by saw50st8

In the afternoon, we hiked through Golden Canyon. It was a great easy hike where my kids could climb the walls.

Monday morning, we checked out and drove to the Salt Creek Interpretive trail, a nice boardwalk with a desert river.

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After (and the highlight in most of my family's opinion), was the Mesquite Sand Dunes. You park the car and just walk along these large sand dunes that go on for miles and miles. My kids really enjoyed rolling down them!

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The final stop in Death Valley was Ubehebe Crater. I don't know what I was really expecting, but it is an absolutely enormous crater in the ground. It's extremely windy at the top so hold on to your hats. We originally planned to hike around the rim, but you could really see the entire crater from the parking area. There are no guardrails or anything and it's kind of creepy standing at the edge.

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We drove out of the park and stopped in Rhyolite, a ghost town in Nevada. You can drive around and see the school and some buildings. It's interesting to see, but not worth driving too far out of the way.  Then we made our way to Beaty,  where we stopped at their free museum. It's nothing to write home about, but was a place with a clean bathroom and a place to stretch our legs, followed by the drive to Vegas.

IMG_5739 by saw50st8

In Vegas, we had planned to stay at the Fairfield Inn right off the strip. Free breakfast for my kids is a big deal - they eat a lot and it makes the rest of the day easier with respect to food so no strip hotels for us. We had booked a "two room suite" which turned out to be the tiniest suite I've ever seen. They say it can fit 6 people, but if you pull the sofa bed out, there is no way to walk past, blocking in anyone on the beds. I'm surprised fire code allowed that. We spoke to the manager who told us it's a common complaint and put us at the nearby Residence Inn, honoring the Fairfield rate (we are Marriott Platinum members, that might have helped). The Residence Inn was perfect for us - they had a shuttle to the strip, free breakfast and a really nice pool.

In Vegas, we explored the strip. We stopped in many of the hotels to see/do what was unique there. My kids loved the arcade at the excalibur because there was a claw game that you played until you won and only cost $1. They loved seeing the Volcano erupt at the Mirage and the circus acts at Circus Circus and watching people gamble when they could. Our favorite activity in Vegas was the High Roller, the really tall, slow ferris wheel. It takes about 30 minutes to go around full circle. The cars are spacious and the views are terrific and kids can move around inside the cars.

From Vegas, we took two day trips. One was to Hoover Dam, which was an incredible engineering marvel. I'm an engineer for a utility company, and this really impressed me.

IMG_5895 by saw50st8

The other trip we took was to Red Rock Canyon. Hiking there is incredible. Everything is easily accessible and you can rock climb all over, with no skill necessary. My 5 year old had absolutely no problem keeping up with her 7 and 8 year old brothers.
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I loved the juxtaposition of the nature at Death Valley and Red Rock Canyon to the glitz and glamour of Vegas. We flew home Saturday night on the red eye and we all survived. My kids even slept on the plane.

March 28, 2017, 10:57:20 PM
Re: Lowest Ever On Amazon (LEOA) MASTER THREAD personally, i dislike davidthebest's habit of putting a - before the price. makes me think that the final price will be - $3.99.
April 05, 2017, 02:08:01 AM
Re: Dan's Inbox: Where Fun Happens!

C'mon, there's a button for that :P

April 25, 2017, 04:33:09 PM
Re: Elite Member Groups!
Mazal Tov JJ on ten gold stars and the Administrator status!

Thank you, I am very honored. I just want to take this moment to thank my fellow DDF'ers I know you all believed in me even when I doubted my self, and to my loving wife I wouldn't be here without you. I'd like to thank the big D man for making all of this possible, and to G above for all he does.

Drops mic.

(We need a yearly DDF award ceremony)

April 26, 2017, 08:01:29 PM