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Re: Amsterdam Master Thread ĎSchiphol Amsterdam Airportí was designed as a transit hub so everything is basically one big massive hall with a lot of shops and things to do. Just in case you (or you wife/fam) get tired sightseeing the city, you can always go back to the airport and relax or shop there. If you have carry-on luggage you donít want to take with you into the city, you can lock them up in a safes which are scattered around the airport.
Taking a taxi into the city is quite expensive (around 50 euroís). The cheapest and easiest way into the city is by train which leaves from the train terminal right under the arrival halls. A one day return ticket cost 7.50 Euroís. It takes about 15-20 min to get from the airport to the center of Amsterdam.
When you arrive make your way to the ĎArrivals 2í area. Over there is a store called ĎHolland tourist informationí there you can buy train tickets to Amsterdam central station and a day pass for the public transportation in Amsterdam itself.  Ask for a return train ticket to Amsterdam and for a 24 hrs Ďgvbí unlimited day pass. Pick up a map of Amsterdamís tourists attractions while you are there. Canít hurt!
Store: http://extra.klmtransfer.schiphol.nl/web/show/id=156823/langid=42
Daypass: http://www.gvb.nl/english/travellers/tickets-and-fares/Pages/GVB-24-48-72-96-hour-tickets.aspx
After that follow the signs to exit or the meeting point. Thatís basically a big red and white, piece of art in the middle of the arrival plaza. (Right there, are machines to buy train tickets to Amsterdam if you havenít done so yet. There is also a desk there) trains to Amsterdam leave about every 5-10 min. ask or look at the information screens on which platform the next train leaves.
Once you come out of the central train station make your way to trams (not buses!) on your left hand side before you cross any bridges. If you havenít bought a 24 hrs (or more) Ďgvbí unlimited day pass you can do so in the central station. Maps of the tram routes are available there too. In general most conductors on the tram speak English and you could ask them for help and ask them to tell you where or when you need to get off for the various attractions. Most people in the Netherlands speak a decent English and you could always ask people in the street for help.
In front of the central train station, across the bridges are many boat companies who offer boat tours around the cityís famous many canals. There are different tours available and some companies let you hop on and off at the major tourist landmarks (such as the Anna Frank house, Heineken Experience etc). so you could use it as a form of transportation. It might be a little bit more than a regular boat tour though.
Here are some ideas where to go. I include a web address when available, which tram# to take there and a little info about it.

Old Portuguese shul from the 17th century. Completely original and intact. A must see when coming to Amsterdam. Take tram # 9 or 14 to get there.
http://www.portugesesynagoge.nl/eng/visit/opening-hours.
Anne Frank Museum. Another must visit. Visit early in the morning or order tickets online. The lines get very long in general. Take tram #13 or 14 to get there.
http://www.annefrank.org/en/Museum/Practical-information/Opening-hours-prices-and-location1/
Flower market located by the ĎSingelí and ĎMuntpleiní. The Dutch are famous for their flowers and here you can buy flower bulbs and other stuff (like marijuana plant seeds!! Etc. in Holland you are legally allowed to own 2 marijuana plants for personal use. Donít buy the seeds and try to bring it to the US. Iím NOT responsible). Cool place to go past if you have time. Lots of trams stop here. # 4,, 9, 16, 24, 25
Leidseplein. A famous square with a lot of coffee shopsÖ. Take tram # 1, 2, 5, 7, 10 to get there.
Van Gogh Museum: Famous Dutch artist. If you like historic paintings etc. not a  must but lot of people go there. The building itself is a funky design and itís located on a nice square to take a rest and grab a beer.  http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp take tram # 2, 3, 5, 16, 24
House of Bols is located right next to the van gogh museum. Itís a fun museum/bar about the dutch dring ĎGeneverí. http://www.houseofbols.com/main.asp
Drinking traditions
Jonge jenever is sometimes served cold from a bottle kept in a freezer. However, the higher-quality oude jenever (and korenwijn) is usually served at room temperature. When jenever is drunk with beer (normally lager) as a chaser, it is referred to as a kopstoot (headbutt) or duikboot (submarine) in Flanders. Traditionally, jenever is served in completely full shot glasses taken directly from the freezer. As the glass is very cold it is advisable to take the first sips without holding the glass, leaving it on the table and bending one's back to apply one's mouth to the glass
Albert kuyp market. Famous Amsterdam daily market where you can buy literacy anything. If you want a real local experience, go here. Take tram # 16, 24 to get there.
Heineken Experience is the famous Dutch beer brand museum. I remember the days that they gave you free unlimited beers at the bar, during and after the tour. Now they only give you 2 or 3. (or soda/other drinks if you donít like beer)
http://www.heinekenexperience.com/visitor-information/ take tram # 4, 7, 10, 16, 24, 25 to get there.
Kosher food
They donít have many kosher certifications in Holland. Thereís a list with kosher products which they update all the time so itís hard to know what kosher or not in the regular stores. There are small kosher sections in some supermarkets like the ĎAlbert Heijní or ĎC1000í. The few kosher stores are located in the Jewish area which is a tram ride away from the city center. There are two kosher restaurants closer to the city center.
1)   Sandwich shop Sal-meijer. This is actually a famous kosher sandwich store in Amsterdam with some good stuff. My wife (from the US) liked their French fries very much. Itís  great place for brunch/lunch. Thereís a train station down the road (10-15 min. walk.) so itís a great location for a quick bite before heading out to the airport. Just ask the owners for directions. They are very nice people.
http://www.sal-meijer.com/english/index.php. take tram # 12, 25 to get there.

2)   Hacarmel kosher restaurant. (Amstelveenseweg 224 1075 XT Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Israeli style meat restaurant. Take tram # 2 or 16 to get there.

There are more kosher restaurants in the jewish area. Pls see the google maps link for that.

Here is the closest shul to the city center with a daily minyan.
Synagogue Kehilas Jaíakov
Gerrit van der Veenstraat 26
http://www.degerrit.nl/
itís a regular house, so you wonít see thereís a shul. Check out their website or let me know if you are interested in going there and I can find out the exact times for the minyanim from my family. Both my father and my brother daven there. Hereís another usefull link they have on their site.
http://www.degerrit.nl/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/Jewish-Tourist-info-Amsterdam.pdf

google map of main tourist attractions in Amsterdam
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=207117270281404183174.0004b1436fd7b7f207c4a&msa=0

if you really want to experience Amsterdam, rent a bike instead of taking the trams. You can rent them outside the central train station and other various locations, only rent a bike if you really know how to bike. There are a crazy amount of bikers in Amsterdam and they all do crazy things. Roads a re small and cars and bikes have to fight for their space. Be very careful.
If you like herring than you should definitely stop at a herring stall. Dutch herring is the best in the world !!! harring stalls are scattered around the city. Thereís one at the ĎAlbert kuyp market. They only serve herring and only one type, which is kosher. Just donít order a herring in a bun. The bun is not kosher! Just order one whole herring with onions and a pickle and eat it whole. Like the dutch people do!
Enjoy your trip and donít hesitate to ask for more info if you need.
Be safe!

November 09, 2011, 05:03:00 PM
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Re: Whats the best way to send money to a bochur learning in Israel.
It might not be such a good idea to train a bochur into using credit cards.
Let him open a TD bank account with a debit card, and deposit money in his account monthly.
Or it is a good idea. I've been trained since 8th grade :) And I'd say I'm pretty good in spending... Depends on the kid/parents-responsibility/trust.

August 13, 2012, 01:26:11 PM
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Re: Whats the best way to send money to a bochur learning in Israel.
It might not be such a good idea to train a bochur into using credit cards.
Why not?
Great time to start learning about budgeting and the value of money.

August 13, 2012, 01:28:46 PM
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Re: Amsterdam Master Thread I was asked to post this here with all the noobs that'll be checking it out for the Israel deal... Its an exerpt of a much longer tr.

    Amsterdam- Amsterdam to me was like a best of all the cities I visited on my trip and was a great city to end my trip.

It has the beautiful canals of Venice, museums that can rival Florence, and classic Dutch architecture dating back to the 1600ís, that does not even come close to the architecture of Prague, but is unique in the sense that you wonít see such beautiful buildings of this style anywhere else.

The first thing we did was buy a three day unlimited tram, bus, and subway pass for 16 euro. The transit system is phenomenal in this city. Next we bought the yearly museum pass good for nearly all major museums in the Netherlands for 45 euro, and it lasts an entire year. It was well worth it because we would have spent more than that just our 1st day (most museums are either 14 or 8 euro)!

I will list the museums in order of what I liked:

-The Van Gogh museum has the biggest collection of Van Gough paintings in the world. I am biased towards Van Gogh partially because his bedroom is probably my favorite painting all time. None the less him and his contemporaries made undisputedly some of the most mesmerizing paintings in history. Be sure to see all the floors, I almost skipped the basement exhibit which is one of the most moving art displays I ever walked through, it puts you in a different world of nature, truly amazing.

-The Rijksmuseum with great paintings of mainly Dutch origin, do not miss the the nacht vatch is the most famous art display in Holland, it features Rembrandts largest and most famous work.

-The maritime museum is a GREAT museum for kids and adults alike with a pirate ship to walk through, and tons of other exhibits you can easily spend 2 hours here and not get bored.

-The Royal palace is only open when the queen is not there with foreign dignitaries. Be sure to check that its open before you go. The palace is exactly what you would expect, ornately decorated rooms and hallways. This comes with a free audio tour which is suggested being that there arenít any signs as to what things are.

-The museum of resistance is all about the Dutch resisting the Nazis in WWII and about the Jews in WWII. It takes a good hour and half to do, I unfortunately didnít have that much time but it was very interesting none the less.

-The Museum Geelvinck is an old Dutch house that is open to the public to walk through. It consists of a coach house and a main house with 6 different exquisite rooms. The thing I like most about this museum is you can sit on most of the furniture and it is just really relaxing to be in. If you need a place to chill for a bit and take in some of the most beautiful granite youíll see in a house, this is your place.

-The Jood museum had some interesting artifacts. Especially a very beautiful megilah with illustrations on every column. The old shul is included in the Jood museum ticket so may as well go see it but itís nothing to special, just old.

-The Foam museum was interesting and nice to walk through seeing the many different photo journalism displays. Not one of my favorite places though.

-The van loom museum is nice but a bit to regular type of art for my taste although the house it is in is quite nice to see. The Allard Pierson museum was a bit lame. It had a bunch of old objects from Egypt and Greece which I have seen a thousand different places before. If you are into artifacts from those times you may enjoy it otherwise donít bother.

-The hermitage museum was the worst museum we went to on our trip. It was extremely plain mostly portraits and Christian paintings really advise not to bother going there.

-The Stejdlik museum was closed but they had a temporary space with 3 film exhibitions. No point in going until the full museum reopens.

-The Anne Frank house has massive lines if you plan on going make a reservation before through heir website. I do not see the big excitement about the house but thatís personal feelings so I wonít get into it.

-The Diamond museum was a total waste of time.

The most fun thing we did our entire trip must have been renting a paddle boat and driving the canals for 2 hours. We were having so much fun discovering birdsí nests with eggs in them and waving to everyone, the people of Amsterdam are so nice.

 The flower market is nice I bought a beautiful orchid for my host there.

The kosher  sandwich store sal-meijer has extremely unique tasting meats being that they are all handmade by the owner. He also has stupendous mustard for the sandwiches and mayo for the fries. I am completely sold on the mayo and fries concept. You must have a few sandwiches from here.

 The pizza shop Pizza co. had pretty good pizza nothing amazing but nice to have fresh good pizza while traveling, also the fries were good.

There is one main kosher grocery store and a kosher bakery, they both sell Sheffa yogurt which is the most amazing yogurt/breakfast food I have ever had! It has fresh fruit in the bottom and delicious yogurt on top. This is an absolute must have!

The food I tried at the bakery was pretty awful, although a loaf of bread was cheap and good for sandwiches.

I did not go on the tour of the Heineken factory because it was 17 euro and didnít seem even close to worth that price. Instead I tried a local brew in a bar called IJ brewery it was a very good beer.

Also a must have while youíre in Holland is jonge jenever which is just gin, but I have had gin in America and it tastes nothing like this stuff which is delicious.

December 22, 2012, 07:37:42 PM
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Re: Liqour/Whiskey/Bourbon Master Thread
Ask your LOR. R' Shlomo Miller holds bourbon is never a chametz problem as it must legally be over %50 corn thus being chametz dirabanan which will not be a problem. Heard from him personally.
Not doubting your quote, but would be considered to be a chidush since there commonly is chametz (fermented barley) which is an integral part of the process it wouldn't be batel. That is the opinion on the AKO, which represents most North American Kashrus Organizations.  This seems to be clear in the Mishna Berura as well (442:27). http://www.crcweb.org/Whisky%20Alert%20with%20Q&A%20(Sep%202010).pdf
Is it possible the question posed to Rav Miller was from someone who already owned the questionable bourbon? That would be very different, because we are meikel on chametz sheaver alav hapesach derabanan in a case of hefsed. that would not apply to someone who was buying it already ipso facto.
It may also be true that the well intentioned person who did the research on this did the community a disservice since there isn't really a chiyuv to be mevarer the ownership. But once it's done it's done.

March 27, 2016, 12:28:30 AM
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Yehoshua's New Orleans Mini-TR Planning

It was fast approaching Pesach and time to start planning our biannual Chol HaMoed trip. While weíve visited Montreal and Maine in the past, both are within 650 miles of PHL (our starting point) and until recently were only 4.5k Avios. Now that all flights under 1150 miles (in North America), it was time to maximize the distance of our next trip. At 1089 miles, PHL-MSY fit the bill perfectly as the farthest destination from PHL under 1150 miles. On top of that we really wanted to visit the city, but hearing mixed reviews decided to just spend 1 night. It took a while for availability on the flights we wanted to open up, but about 3 weeks out we got the exact flights we wanted, nonstop PHL-MSY on AA.



Figuring out where to stay took the longest. The areas we considered were the French Quarter, the Warehouse District or the CBD. Now all of these areas are less than 1 mile from one to the other, so it really wasnít that big of a difference. There are a lot of SPG and a few Hyatt hotels, some of which are good deals (when using points) and some of which are not. Iíd decided to go with either the Hyatt French Quarter or the Hyatt Regency NOLA in the CBD, both were going for 15k Hyatt.

There were two reasons I ended up going with the HR over the H-FQ: First, Iíd heard staying in the FQ may not be nice and will most definitely be loud. Weíre not big party people and didnít regret this decision at all. Second, I checked the UR travel page.

On Hyatt.com, the cheapest rate for a standard room at the HR was going for $261 (before tax, with the members only/AAA rate). UR had the exact same room for only $82, or about 6250 UR. While this may not be the best rate to cash in your UR at, I decided to use them anyway since 1) didnít want to spend cash anyway and 2) it was way cheaper than transferring UR to Hyatt.

Another thing we needed to figure out was transportation and food. Car rentals and parking in NOLA are both really expensive, and with everything so close it didnít make sense to rent a car. Taxis are $36 flat rate between the city (CBD, FQ area) and the airport for 2 people ($15 for each additional person). Lucky for us UberX got permission to pickup at MSY just a few days before we arrived, and their flat rate is $33 for the same area with no additional fees for extra passengers. Uber it was.

For food we just brought a few things from PHL: a box of matza, some matza rolls Iíd made, some fresh fruit and vegetables and some chocolate. We meant to bring cheese but ended up forgetting it in PHL. We also bought some more vegetables while there. No, it wasnít gourmet food, and no, we didnít get to taste the kosher Cajun food, but it sustained us for the 24.5 hours we were there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 First day in NOLA
Our flight landed about 30 minutes early, getting us in at 11:40am. We didnít check any bags, so just proceeded to the Transportation Center where all ride sharing services are picked up from. The MSY airport is tiny, but there arenít clear signs to the TC. In reality itís just opposite the JetBlue baggage claim, so if you arrive on American just go left at the curbside (or walk inside if itís hot) and then cross the roadway. Uber drivers wait in a lot across the street and take about 2 minutes to arrive. They actually have to park and you just walk to their car, which isnít too bad.

It took about 20 minutes to get to the hotel with no traffic. After checking in and trekking up to our room (you need to take an escalator or elevator to the 3rd floor, then walk to another bank of elevators to get to your room) we ate a quick lunch and got ready to head out to the WWII museum, a 20 minute (leisurely) walk away.


Our room


View from our room


Hotel atrium

The WWII museum was by far the most interesting part of our trip and the main reason why weíd go back. The museum is split into a few buildings all connected with either indoor over-street walkways or on ground level within a courtyard. While we didnít have time to see the entire museum, we did see parts. We spend most of our time in the Road to Tokyo exhibit (all about the Pacific side of the war) and the Road to Berlin (about the Allies attempts to reach Berlin). We also visited the Boeing center (not very interesting) which is just a few old planes you can look at from above on walkways with a few tiny showcases and signs. We were also told theyíre going to be constructing a new building that will just focus on D-Day, though thatís still just a plan as of now.  We spent 3 full hours, from 2-5p when they closed, and felt we could have easily spent another 2 hours there.




Boeing center


Victory Garden at the WWII Museum

After the museum we took a walk through the Warehouse District to the French Quarter. We were very lucky that the weather was beautiful (78 degrees with a strong breeze, medium humidity) so all our walks were very pleasant. We walked down Decatur until we saw the Natchez river boat and decided that that would be a good place to rest for a while and eat. While we were sitting around there (there are lots of benches to sit on, some are under small trees) music started playing (it sounded like it was coming from the boat?) so we were able to relax for a bit there.


Magazine Street in the Warehouse District


Streetcar on Canal St.


Natchez river boat

We continued walking along the river walk to the French Market. Since we arrived there after 6pm, many stores were closed, but it was still cool to see. We continued walking through Jefferson Square back towards Canal Street, weaving our way in and out of the various streets on the FQ. As many have said, Royale Street was very nice and pleasant, but the one block we walked down Bourbon street was more than enough for us. Maybe it was because they blocked off the street to vehicles, but there were way too many drunk people, loud music and a general raunchy crowd. Besides for that one street, we though the FQ was very nice. We were able to see street performers and musicians on other blocks without feeling like we missed anything.


French Market


French Market


Finally someone spelled it like they pronounce it, French Market


Classic street in the FQ


Street band in the FQ


Is it just me, or is the blue building a bit crooked?


Tiny door


The one and only Bourbon St.

After a quick pit stop for a bathroom in the Hyatt FQ (I had to see what I was missing) we continued our walk up Canal Street back to our hotel. We even small marching band crossing the street that got police cars to block traffic just for them.

The walk back to the hotel wasnít anything to special, though it does pass by a large library and one of the ugliest city hall buildings Iíve ever seen.  We got back to the hotel exhausted and had an early night.


NOLA City Hall

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Last day in NOLA
After an early night we were up early to make the most of the few hours we had before our flight home. By 9:00am we were out the door on our way to take the St. Charles streetcar line to the Gardens District. While we paid the $1.25 fare for both trips, they do offer a $3 all day pass which is cheaper if you plan on taking more than 2 trips.




St. Charles Streetcar

The trip was very pleasant despite the higher humidity, and within 30 minutes we were at the Washington St. stop. The Gardens District is known for its classic NOLA architecture and has strict building codes on how people can remodel their homes. We walked around the residential streets looking at the houses until we came to the Lafayette Cemetery, the only cemetery in NOLA that you can access without a tour. We walked around for a few minutes, noticing that all the graves were above ground. It was quite unique.


Lafayette Cemetery

We then walked down Magazine Street where all the shops are in the neighborhood. After about 1 hour we headed back to the hotel via the same streetcar line, ordered another Uber and left for the airport.

Overall our short stay in NOLA was very nice. Weíd like to go back to do a few things we didnít have a chance to do while there this time, including the kosher restaurants, Oak Alley and the plantations, Audubon Park (described to us a Central Park without the muggers) and of course the rest of the WWII museum.  If Iíd have know better, Iíd say that 2-3 full days would be enough there, but 1 was certainly not enough for us.

April 28, 2016, 04:00:11 PM
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Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016) We are huge fans of America's National Parks and the American Southwest so DW decided to plan an RV trip throughout Utah and Arizona this summer (2016).  Since I selected our adventure in Iceland last summer, it was only fair to let DW choose a trip this summer.  Further, after renting a camper truck in Iceland, we were hooked and looking forward to an adventure in a proper full size motorhome.  The advantages of an RV include freedom to move around on a whim with no need to unpack in a different hotel each night.  However, the cost of an RV rental (including insurance and mileage) and fuel can be expensive.  As anticipated, the kids had a blast and are looking forward to another future RV adventure.

We flew into Las Vegas on an early Sunday morning and took a taxi to El Monte RV on Boulder Highway.  We decided to rent from El Monte because this was one of the few motorhome rental companies that we found to be open on Sunday.  Information about El Monte RV in Las Vegas can be found here:

https://www.elmonterv.com/rent/where-you-can-rent-rvs/rv-rentals-location-las-vegas-rv-rentals-sales/

We rented a 31 foot long Class C motorhome, information about which can be found here:

https://www.elmonterv.com/rent/rv-details/cabover-style-fs31-slide-out-rv/

This particular model has a bed over the front cab, a queen size bed in the rear, a bunk bed in the middle, and a sofa and dinette that convert into additional beds if needed.  This model also has two slides.  One slide extends the living/dining room area while the second slide extends the bunk bed and rear bedroom area.  Although I was a bit apprehensive about driving such a monstrosity, my initial fears turned out to be unfounded.  Aside from constantly correcting the steering as a result of road conditions and wind gusts, it was fairly easy to drive.

Photographs of the RV:

DSC_6442 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6445 by P Bryan, on Flickr

A few interior photographs (more of which can be found on the El Monte website link above):

The rear bedroom with a queen size bed.

The rear bedroom with a queen bed. by P Bryan, on Flickr

The over the cab bed.

Bed over the front cab. by P Bryan, on Flickr

The check in process was painfully slow and if you are expecting car rental service you will be grossly disappointed.  We had to wait for several hours before finally being seen.  After going through the paperwork and a walk through of the motorhome with a primer on how to use the various systems, we were off.

Our first stop was at a nearby Walmart Supercenter, where we purchased cheap sleeping bags, pillows, drinks, and supplies for our journey.  The motorhome rental does not include any bedding/linens and there is a $50.00 per person optional fee to rent blankets, sheets, pillows, and other items.  Instead of paying this fee, we bought sleeping bags for $10.00 each and pillows for $3.00 each from Walmart.  We joined two sleeping bags together to create a queen size sleeping bag for the queen bed in the rear of the motorhome.

The sleeping bags we purchased can be found here:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-50F-Warm-Weather-Sleeping-Bag/49937670

Our next stop was at Smith's Food & Drug Supermarket, which has a dedicated kosher section with a large variety of take out foods.  Information about Smith's can be found here:

http://www.jewishinlasvegas.com/Smiths-Kosher-Experience.html

Photographs of the kosher section:

IMG-20160703-WA0008 by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG-20160703-WA0014 by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG-20160703-WA0012 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After stocking up on food at Smith's, we were off to Ruby's Inn RV Park & Campground, information about which can be found here:

http://www.brycecanyoncampgrounds.com/

We chose this particular campground because it was near Bryce Canyon National Park, our first destination.  We arrived at the campground well after dark and since our site wasn't "pull through," I had to back the RV into our spot.  It wasn't easy but we managed.  After parking the RV and hooking up to electric (which is necessary to run the air conditioning system and outlets unless you are using the built in generator), we went to bed.  DW and I had not slept at all the night before (due to last minute packing) and we were plain exhausted.  Although we didn't have much time to spend at this campground, it was my favorite because the RV spots were nestled among the trees.  Most of the other campgrounds we visited were more akin to cement cities.

The next day we visited Bryce Canyon National Park.  Here are some photographs taken at Bryce:

DSC_6467 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6506 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6475 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6559 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6582 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After visiting Bryce, we drove to Page Arizona, our second destination.  Along the way to Page, we stopped off at Hanging Garden Trail near Lake Powell Dam.  This trail leads to a hanging garden.

IMG_2275 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Hanging Garden Trail (near Lake Powell Dam), Arizona by P Bryan, on Flickr

After Hanging Garden Trail, we drove to the Page Lake Powell Campground, information about which can be found here:

http://www.pagecampground.com/

The next day we visited Upper Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon located on the Navajo Reservation.  I've been wanting to visit Antelope Canyon for years and it was a dream come true.  Our entire family, including my little guy, walked through the canyon.  Here are some photographs taken at Upper Antelope Canyon:

Upper Antelope Canyon (sunbeam), Arizona by P Bryan, on Flickr

Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona by P Bryan, on Flickr

Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona by P Bryan, on Flickr

After Upper Antelope Canyon, DW let me take a photo tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, which allowed me to bring my tripod into the canyon.  Here are some photographs taken in Lower Antelope Canyon:

DSC_6974 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6960 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6946 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Antelope Canyon - Spot the eagle by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6808 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_6787 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After visiting Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, we drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  During our drive, DW became concerned about our little guy.  He hadn't been feeling well and felt very hot.  What most concerned us was his refusal to drink or eat.  Upon our arrival at the Grand Canyon, DW found a park ranger who called an ambulance.  The emergency medical technicians checked out our little guy and recommended that we take him to the closest hospital in Kanab, Utah located about 80 miles away.  We were told that our little guy had a fever, was dehydrated, and needed IV fluids.

Before the ambulance arrived, I was able to take a few pictures at the Grand Canyon:

DSC_6988 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7004 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Upon our arrival at the hospital, DW took our little one into the emergency room while I stayed with our other kids in the RV in the hospital parking lot.

IMG_2649 by P Bryan, on Flickr

The little guy returned several hours later with a burst of energy unseen in days.  He was literally bouncing off the walls.  I'm not sure what concoction IV he was given but I'll take a double dose.  After a while our little guy settled down and we all went to sleep.

The next morning we drove to Zion National Park, our next destination.  At Zion, we did the Riverside Walk hike, a paved path running alongside a river.  Here are some photographs taken at Zion:

DSC_7015 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7034 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7058 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DW was tired out and decided to rest with our little guy on a bench along the hike while I continued on with our other kids.  While DW was sitting on the bench, one of the ferocious park squirrels chewed through DW's backpack to get to some snacks:

IMG-20160706-WA0009 by P Bryan, on Flickr

The squirrels at Zion have no fear of people and we saw people literally step over squirrels on the path.  Clearly, someone has been feeding the wildlife.

On our drive into Zion we passed by majestic scenery which I thought I'd have an opportunity to photograph on the way out.  However, we drove out of the park using a different route and sadly I didn't have an opportunity to photograph those spots.  Zion is definitely a park I would like to visit again.

After our hike in Zion, we drove to Zion River Resort, where we camped for the night.  Information about Zion River Resort can be found here:

http://www.zionriverresort.com/

The following morning, we drove to Hoover Dam, our final destination of the trip.  Here are some photographs taken at Hoover Dam:

DSC_7129 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7175 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7121 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7165 by P Bryan, on Flickr

The Arizona side of the dam had Arizona time:

DSC_7168 by P Bryan, on Flickr

The Nevada side of the dam had Nevada time:

DSC_7158 by P Bryan, on Flickr

It was freakin hot:

DSC_7176 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After visiting Hoover Dam, we drove to Lake Mead RV Village, information about which can be found here:

http://www.lakemeadrvvillage.com/

On Friday morning, we drove back to Las Vegas.  Our first stop was at Smith's where we picked up food for Shabbos.  We then returned the RV and took a shuttle to the Westin, which I booked using SPG points.  We were unimpressed with the Westin but I didn't want to spend money to stay at a nicer hotel for Shabbos.

Our flight home was Sunday morning and we were all looking forward to get out of the Utah and Nevada summer heat.  At the airport, we visited the Centurion Lounge, which turned out to be a major disappointment.  I was very excited when American Express first opened this lounge upon hearing that kosher food was offered.  However, when we visited the Centurion Lounge, no kosher food was available.  Most of the fruit was already cut and they did not offer any disposable cups for coffee.  Further, when I asked for a disposable cup explaining that we could not use the ceramic cups, the woman at the bar rudely stated that they do not offer take out.

Here are some photographs taken at the Centurion Lounge:

DSC_7190 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7191 by P Bryan, on Flickr

We most certainly want to return to Utah and Arizona in the future and I am already planning a hike through the narrows at Zion National Park with a friend for next year.  I hope you enjoyed this trip report and thanks for reading.


August 03, 2016, 10:59:06 PM
1
Chasing Lava in Hawaii: Warning - May Induce Happiness, by PBaruch (2016) Our love for Hawaii Island (commonly known as the Big Island) is well known and some of you may have read my past two trip reports, which can be found here:

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=60541.0

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=60745.0

Our story began years ago while I was reading a photography magazine containing an article about shooting lava on Hawaii Island.  I was absolutely mesmerized by the photographs and immediately began planning our first trip.  Although DW had been bugging me to go to Hawaii before that time, I had never been interested until reading about the lava.  Since that time, we have visited the Big Island several times and we have been very fortunate to befriend some truly wonderful individuals.

Earlier this summer, we heard reports that the lava was again flowing towards the ocean.  The last time that there was ocean entry was in 2013 and although I had seen ocean entry on two prior visits, DW and the kids had not previously seen ocean entry from land.  Also, my little guy wasn't even born yet when the lava was last flowing into the ocean in 2013.  As soon as the lava flow hit the ocean, DW told me she wanted to go back to the Big Island and I wasn't arguing with her.  Also, since I had recently become self employed, taking time off was not really an issue.  I asked my boss for two weeks off and his response was take all the time that you need.

Flight to Hawaii:

ewr-hnl-koa map by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG-20160824-WA0007 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On the flight to Hawaii we received Regal kosher meals which weren't bad and they were edible.

For this trip, we decided to stay eleven nights at the Sheraton in Kona and two nights in Volcano.  Although DW and I much prefer Volcano over Kona (the kids prefer Kona due to the swimming pool and nearby beaches), it made more sense for us to stay in Kona rather than Volcano for the bulk of this trip.  DW didn't want to spend Shabbos in Volcano and the cost of staying at the Sheraton was minuscule (using SPG points) compared to Volcano (where I had to pay for the hotel with cash).

We arrived in Kona on Wednesday afternoon, picked up our rental car, stopped by Walmart for some drinks and supplies, and then headed to the Sheraton.  Once again, we were treated well and upgraded to a large ocean front room containing three beds (only such room in the entire hotel).  On the following day, we did some more shopping including buying a jogging stroller for our lava adventure.  We stopped by Target and bought this stroller, which served us very well:

http://www.target.com/p/baby-trend-range-lx-jogger-chrome/-/A-15207263

We also stopped by Greenwell Farms, one of our favorite spots in Kona.  We took a farm tour and tasted delicious Kona Coffee.

Taking a tour of the farm:

DSC_7272 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Holding a coffee bean:

DSC_7257 by P Bryan, on Flickr

I love Kona coffee!

DSC_7283 by P Bryan, on Flickr

There is a resident chameleon but we couldn't find it this time.

DSC_7315 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.  We awoke at about 12:00 a.m. and headed out at about 12:30 a.m. for the drive to Kalapana for our trip to the ocean entry.  At the present time, there are three ways to access the area where lava is flowing into the ocean: (i) walk the approximately 10 miles round trip over the county emergency access road from Kalapana (you can also walk over the road from the National Park side as well); (ii) rent a bicycle from one of several companies and ride to the ocean entry; or (iii) pay for Kalapana Cultural Tours to drive you most of the way and then hike or bike the remaining approximately 1.8 miles each way.  We chose the shuttle tour as it is very important for us to do as much as we can as a family and expose our kids to these wonders.  I was lucky to be introduced to the owner of Kalapana Cultural Tours, who graciously arranged a private tour for my family.  We were shuttled in a 4WD van and we then hiked the remainder of the way to the lava flow.  Unfortunately my buddy, photographer Bruce Omori, was unavailable to join us at that time.  I was able to go out to shoot lava with Bruce later in our trip, more about which is discussed below.

The county emergency access road:

DSC_8005 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Photographs taken at the ocean entry:

DSC_7772 by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG_3239 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7454 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7854 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_7910 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Photographs of the lava from past trips:

Lava ocean entry on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2011. by P Bryan, on Flickr

Lava flowing into the ocean on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2013. by P Bryan, on Flickr

Lava flowing into the ocean on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2013 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After being out most of the night and into the morning hours, we returned back to the hotel for much needed naps.  We relaxed and prepared for Shabbos at the Sheraton.

On Sunday we visited Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park.  Although we had driven past Punalu'u on prior trips, we had never previously visited this particular park.  Punalu'u is famous for having sea turtles on the beach but none were there during our visit.  I didn't find Punalu'u to be particularly attractive but it is relatively easy to access this park and the black sand beach.

DSC_8020 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Lilly pond behind the beach:

DSC_8024 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After Punalu'u, we visited South Point where we watched some local kids jump off the cliff into the ocean below.  Also, I went hunting for the South Point marker, which denominates South Point as the southernmost point in the United States.  After an unsuccessful attempt on my own, I asked one of the locals who was fishing in the area about the marker.  He directed me to an area behind a large rock.  Once again, I went off in search of the marker but found nothing.  I went back to the local and he explained that the marker was nothing more than the remains of a plastic rod cemented in the rock:

DSC_8031 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After speaking to the local for a few minutes, he told me that his cousin owned Kalapana Cultural Tours and he asked me to send his regards.  After South Point, we headed back to the hotel to pick up frozen meat that we had brought from home for a BBQ with friends.  On the way to the BBQ, we stopped off at Walmart to buy a grill and supplies.

We met our friends and their families for a BBQ at a beach near Costco:

DJI_0006 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8070 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8075 by P Bryan, on Flickr

We grilled hotdogs, salami, burgers, and vegetables.  Our friends brought lilikoi (otherwise known as passion fruit) and breadfruit (which we grilled as well).

DSC_8045 by P Bryan, on Flickr

The lilikoi was delicious and we couldn't get enough.  The breadfruit was...something to taste once.  The fruits in Hawaii taste amazing and you can immediately tell the difference between Hawaii grown fruit and the stuff we get back home.

The following day we took a snorkel trip to Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park.  Although we had snorkeled there once before, it was worthwhile to return.  Once again, the kids had an amazing time.  On the way there we saw a school of flying fish and on the way back we saw a pod of dolphins.

DSC_8101 by P Bryan, on Flickr

P1020600 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After the snorkeling trip, we visited the beach by the Lava Lava Club in Waikoloa (near the Hilton), where we stayed for sunset.  We had wanted to photograph sunset from behind the fish pond by 'Anaeho'omalu Beach, but it was closed for construction.  Turtles can often be found on this beach but none were there when we visited.  (Noticed a pattern yet?)

DSC_8244 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8251 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Tuesday we visited Waimea and the Parker Ranch.

Driveway leading to the Parker Ranch:

DSC_8265 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8274 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Inside the main house:

DSC_8292 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Room inside another house at the ranch:

DSC_8318 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After Parker Ranch we visited Umauma Falls, which is considered by some to be the most beautiful waterfalls on the Big Island.  We received free admission as it was raining when we pulled up.  However, when we arrived at the falls, the rain stopped and we had a perfect view.

DSC_8344 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8376 by P Bryan, on Flickr

My little guy took this picture of me:

IMG_4349 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Wednesday we visited the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm near the airport in Kona, information about which can be found here:

https://www.seahorse.com/

At the seahorse farm, our kids were able to feed and hold seahorses and it was one of their favorite activities.  We found out about the seahorse farm thanks to my buddy Mitch and his wife, who also happened to be on the Big Island at the same time.

DSC_8384 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8408 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8402 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8436 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Feeding some fish:

DSC_8460 by P Bryan, on Flickr

The touch tank:

DSC_8498 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8510 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8489 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After the seahorse farm, we went to the Hilton at Waikoloa, which has a saltwater lagoon that is open to the ocean but contains grates to prevent anything dangerous from getting in.  At the lagoon, you can rent hydro-bike, kayaks, or paddleboats and see colorful reef fish and green sea turtles.  Due to the expected Hurricane Madeline, boat and equipment rentals were ended early.  Luckily for us, neither of the two expected hurricanes affected us at all.  The weather in Kona and Volcano was perfect for the days that we were in each place.

Information about the lagoon can be found here:

http://www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/resort-experiences/lagoon-and-beach

While at the lagoon, the kids fed a sea turtle:

DSC_8665 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8689 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Since we were so close, we went back to the beach by the Lava Lava Club in Waikoloa for sunset.  Once again, there were no sea turtles to be seen.

DSC_8707 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Thursday we went to Pololu Valley, a short but steep hike to a black sand beach.  Although it was pretty, Waipio is still my favorite valley and black sand beach on the Big Island.

DSC_8758 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8723 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8746 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After Pololu, we visited Kiholo Bay where we stayed until sunset.  Kiholo is another beach know for sea turtles but once again none were to be found.

DSC_8759 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8766 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8773 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Friday, DW and the girls visited Mauna Loa Observatory while I stayed with the little guy at the Sheraton.  Principally NOAA is based there, with a few other agencies also conducting experiments.  A NOAA technician conducted the tour.

Road to the observatory:

IMG_5045 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Ozone detecting equipment is inside this telescope-like structure.  The technician was happy to rotate the dome and open it for them.

IMG_5071 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Touring the observatory:

IMG_5094 by P Bryan, on Flickr

List of famous astronauts who visited the observatory:

IMG_5135 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DW requests that I give you the following to ponder: is there more carbon dioxide in the air in the summer or winter and why?

After DW and the girls returned to the hotel, we prepared for Shabbos.  I made a fried potato kugel:

DSC_8792 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DW made chicken in a crock pot, which was transferred out right before Shabbos, and replaced with cholent:

12369 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On Sunday, DW and the kids went swimming and used the water slide while I helped pack out for our transfer to Volcano.  Along the way to Volcano we stopped off again at Greenwell Farms for delicious Kona coffee.  One of the employees, Chai, recognized us and came running over asking me if I was Mr. PBaruch.  When I responded that I was, she thanked me warmly for our return visit with an Asian greeting.

After Greenwell Farms we stopped off at two roadside fruit stands on the way to Volcano.

Cooks Bounty Fruit Stand:

DSC_8795 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8798 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Basket of lilikoi (DSC_8799) by P Bryan, on Flickr

Judy's Fruit Stand:

DSC_8818 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8811 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8808 by P Bryan, on Flickr

That evening, Bruce and I arranged to shoot the lava flowing into the ocean.  After we arrived in Volcano I did my best to get some rest but the noise from the kids jumping about coupled with my excitement precluded any sleep.  I was scheduled to meet up with Bruce at 1:30 a.m. at a gas station along the way to Kalapana.  I arrived at the gas station at about 12:40 a.m. and went into the gas station convenience store.  Afterwards, I sat in the car for a bit but became restless.  I then decided to linger outside the car for a while.  Several minutes later, four police cars showed up, which I though was due to the strange lurker hanging around.  Luckily I wasn't tackled or tasered that evening.  Bruce arrived at about 1:40 a.m. and we both went into the convenience store (right past the police officers) to stock up on drinks for the trip.  After we exited the store, the police asked us if we were coming or going.  I responded that it was "lava time" and asked if the police officers wanted to join, to which they all had a good laugh.

Bruce was able to drive his truck to the second gate down the county emergency access road (the farthest that anyone can drive), from which point we rode bicycles the rest of the way.  I rented a bicycle from Kaimu Rentals (808-333-4392), which is owned by my friend Junior (same person who guided me and my friend Alex to the lava in 2011).  I could not rent a bicycle from Kalapana Cultural Tours as they did not have anyone available to provide me with a bicycle in the middle of the night.

I mounted the bicycle wearing my heavy camera backpack and tripod, rode forward for a short distance, and promptly fell over sideways.  I hadn't been on a bicycle in years and was off balance with the backpack and tripod (that was hanging off to one side).  What happened next was quite comical.  I got back on the bicycle but must have looked like a drunk as I weaved back and forth.  Once I did get the hang of it, I realized how uncomfortable it was to sit on a narrow hard seat with a heavy load on my back.  My tuchus ached for quite a while but we managed to arrive at the lava at about 3:30 a.m.

Shooting lava is incredibly challenging and the magic light is only there for a very brief period of time.  Despite not always being able to properly capture the lava during the darkness of the night, Bruce and I both enjoyed the show.  At times the lava flowed like a river into the ocean while at other times it dripped as if from a leaky faucet.  We also saw lava exploding like a firecracker and lava balls rolling in the surf.

Pictures taken of the ocean entry:

DSC_8930 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_8958 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9272 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9302 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9392 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9686 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Videos taken of the ocean entry:





I returned back to the hotel in Volcano at about 9:00 a.m. and took a much needed nap for a few hours.  We ran a few errands in the afternoon and then visited Volcanoes National Park, where we saw the endangered nene.  We received a free one year family National Park Pass due to the following program for fourth graders:

https://www.everykidinapark.gov/get-your-pass/

Pictures of the nene:

DSC_9778 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9768 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9730 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9737 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Flowers at Volcanoes National Park:

DSC_9702 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9749 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9748 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Afterwards, we stopped off at Jagger Museum to observe Halemaumau Crater.  The lava level in the crater was quite high and, for the first time, we were able to see lava spattering from the overlook.  I did not, however, take any photographs at that time as I had previously seen better.

The following day we returned home:

ito-hnl-ewr map by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_9781 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On our flight home, we received Regal kosher meals which were absolutely horrible and barely edible.   On our return flight this past February we received kosher meals from Oahu Kosher that were quite delicious.  We were looking forward to receiving meals again from Oahu kosher and were very disappointed with the Regal meals.  I'm not sure of the reason for the change but I hope UA continues to use Oahu Kosher in the future.

In summary, we didn't have the opportunity to do everything we would have liked due to time constraints and the two threatened hurricanes.  Nevertheless, we had an extremely restful two-weeks on the Big Island which is unlike many of our other trips.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this trip report.

September 12, 2016, 08:51:58 PM
1
Re: Brooklyn Restaurants
Good shwarma in brooklyn?
Olympic pita unless it changed recently.

September 13, 2016, 04:09:35 PM
1
HOT! BOGO night at participating WA and Conrad hotels + more http://www2.visasignaturehotels.com/hilton-one-night-free/

Can also get a $75 vgc

http://www2.visasignaturehotels.com/hilton-visa-gift-card-2016/

Grand Wailea, WA Jerusalem, Conrad Maldives, el conquistador preapproved.

September 13, 2016, 09:55:25 PM
1
Re: Maldives Master Thread Good morning
September 15, 2016, 04:33:37 AM
1
Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants Quick Amsterdam Burger TR

Went with wife and 2 kids this past Sunday:

Had to wait a half hour to be seated as they do not take reservations and have very limited seating

They have no kids menu so my kids split:

Nuggets- $10



Hot dog with shredded onion rings- $8



A side of steamed broccoli (yes for some reason my kids actually like broccoli)- $6



The kids loved all the food!

For appetizers we got the buffalo boneless nuggets- $10 they were very good!



We also got the chips and guac which I would skip- $7



For drinks we tried one of each they were $4 each

The best one was the mint lemonade, the orange juice jalapeno and lemon ginger weren't too good


Orange jalapeno

My main was the guacamole burger which was $16 plus $3 for caramelized onions- The burger was big and tasty!



My wife got the pulled beef sandwich which was also really good and costed $17


We also got a side of mashed potatoes which was very good as well!- $5



For dessert we got chocolate cake which wasnt on the menu but they had it that night and the peanut butter mousse I took to go. They were $8 each and both very good though I would prefer the chocolate cake



All in all it was a great experience. I would definitely go back. The staff were very nice as well!

September 16, 2016, 03:12:13 PM
1
hasofer.com or other place to get tefillin? I have unfortunately lost my tefillin on a recent trip (losing them likely in the UA lounge in Denver--Lost and Found reporting has not found them).  Which means i'm in search of a new pair.
I saw on hasofer.com that their Gassot tefillin ranges from lchatchilla to lchatchilla+ to mehudar 3-9*.  Does anyone have experience with hasofer or know of a good place to get tefillin that will last a long time but that im not losing an arm and a leg for?
Thanks!

September 18, 2016, 07:32:17 PM
1
Hot! 1000 Solo Foam Bowls, 12oz. $18 shipped!! $18.08 shipped.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Solo-Cup-Company-RSFB12-0007-Foam-Bowl-12-oz-White-125-Pack/25331621

September 23, 2016, 02:53:25 PM
1
Macy's Kids Puffer Coats - $20 http://www1.macys.com/shop/kids-clothes/kids-coats-jackets/Coat_style,Price/Puffer,19%257C20?id=63010
October 05, 2016, 02:17:38 PM
1
Re: Amex Platinum Master Thread
Calling i guess.  Lets say its not a new product. Any way they will give me the points based on my chat?
Based on a chat ? Don't hold your breath

October 06, 2016, 09:05:18 PM
1
Re: Amazon: 30 pack Perrier cans $7.78-8.98 Back in stock
October 06, 2016, 10:31:24 PM
1
Re: The Pros And Cons Of Where You Live
Are you black or white?
Neither. I am ExGingi.

October 07, 2016, 11:00:37 AM
1
Re: When to Cancel a Card?
1) I'm about to cancel one of my oldest cards (SPG consumer Amex from 06), i have a bunch of amex business cards but no other regular cards. if i ask them to switch it to a no annual fee card, will my length of credit continue for amex? should i just bite the bullet and pay $95 (with maybe a lil retention bonus, plus random amex values/sbs) to keep it?
2) If i switch to a no fee amex card that wont go on my record for 5/24 for chase, right?
i would keep it open with retention or if you can do 2 I would do that and it will not count for 5/24. But it seems people are hitting a brick wall with option 2.

October 14, 2016, 02:58:23 PM
1
Re: A New Era For Citi Thank You Points JetBlue added as a transfer partner!

1.25 TYP => 1 B6

October 20, 2016, 02:09:49 PM
1
Shabbat and my United Flight I want to share an experience my family and I recently had on a United flight from Newark to Tel-Aviv.

We were scheduled on UA90 on Thursday, October 13, leaving at 10:45 PM and arriving in Tel-Aviv on Friday at 4:20 PM. My wife and I were traveling with our 16 month-old daughter to visit family in Israel for Succot. Everything was going smoothly until we were about to leave the gate, when the pilot announced that United was experiencing a computer outage, which would cause a slight delay. The delay went on for some time, at which point some Shabbat observing passengers began expressing concern that our new arrival time would be after Shabbat began (around 5:50 PM).

Around midnight, our pilot announced that computer issue had been resolved and we would be leaving the gate in a few minutes. It was only at this point that some of the Shabbat observing passengers, realizing the plane would not arrive before Shabbat began, decided to get off the plane. Their decision forced another long delay, as United was now required to retrieve each piece of their checked luggage, a complicated process involving meticulously searching through all the planeís luggage bins.

This was incredibly frustrating to the rest of the passengers who were now further delayed by the decision of this small group. Upon completion of the luggage retrieval, which concluded around 1:45 AM, the pilot announced that we would shortly be ready to take off, pending some additional paperwork. While we once again waited to taxi, another group of Shabbat observing passengers decided to disembark the plane, causing yet another long delay. Why they decided to disembark at that point and not with the first group was truly baffling, and only caused further consternation among the rest of the passengers. This delay went on until around 4 AM, at which point the pilot announced the flight was canceled because the crew had timed-out.

After the ensuing chaos, my family was eventually rebooked on a flight that arrived in Israel on Sunday afternoon, nearly two days after our originally scheduled arrival date. In addition, United failed to deliver one of our suitcases, which eventually arrived after an additional two-day delay.

All in all, this experience was a difficult one for my family. As anyone who has traveled with young children knows, flying long-distance isnít easy even when everything goes smoothly. And itís much, much worse when things donít.

Ultimately, United bears a good part of the blame for our flight experience. Their systems caused the initial delay, and they failed to properly manage the passengers on the canceled flight.

Yet those who made the decision to disembark also failed to (or didnít care to) appreciate how their actions affected the rest of the passengers. I fully respect the religious beliefs and practices of each of the passengers who left the plane, but I do question their initial decision to book a flight that was scheduled to arrive so close to Shabbat. Leaving so little time doesn't seem like a smart approach, especially when it can negatively impact the rest of the passengers.

If youíre going to book a flight arriving close to Shabbat, you should also make the decision to live with the consequences of a delayed flight. Anything short of that just doesnít seem fair or right.



October 27, 2016, 11:11:03 AM
1
Re: Shabbat and my United Flight I find it very odd that SS people would take this flight, especially given the typical delays in general from EWR and specifically on this route.
October 27, 2016, 11:33:48 AM
1
Re: Pretty Great Deal on Prized Real Estate (for an Eclectic Taste) 26% off!! :)
http://www.wsj.com/articles/tommy-hilfiger-offers-plaza-hotel-penthouse-for-26-off-1478096994
though u probably need to spend the 26% to make it feel like a place where no one was murdered...
OOS

November 03, 2016, 02:44:07 AM
1
Re: MLB
Oh no! His pitch bounced before the plate!
Nah, without having any warmup pitches the plan was just not to 50 cent or Baba Booey it
http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/97632


November 03, 2016, 04:52:53 AM
1
Re: Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem
if WAJ is only showing premium room availability (points at 183k) for the shabbos i want will that prevent me from trying to use a weekend night certificate from HHonors Reserve?
Did you try calling?  Occasionally there is some availability that doesn't show online.

November 03, 2016, 03:10:48 PM
1
Re: Arizona Master Thread Just wanted to follow up on my recent trip to AZ
We went to the Apache lake a beautiful area, they have pontoons for $25 or so an hour you do need to drive on a dirt road for about 8 miles before Apache lake and 12 miles after. Only for drivers not afraid of driving on mountain edges. The scenery was really nice with cactus all around and mountains, canyons.. then we boated on the lake. After that we went to Petrified Forest which is stunning especially the painted desert part. It was definitely worth the drive. 
If anyone has any questions let me know I went with two young children

November 05, 2016, 10:36:23 PM
1
Re: The Pros And Cons Of Where You Live
What are you guys talking about? My re tax is ~5k as is many/most of my friends in the neighborhood. Obviously it depends on size if house, size of property, etc. But I don't think any of us are paying 10k. Also, a major factor is location. Those in Lawrence and cedarhurst are in an incorporated Town so there is another layer of government which obviously means more taxes.
The trade-off between NYC and elsewhere is that NYC has lower RE taxes, but adds an extra layer of income tax. You may pay double the RE tax in 5T, but you don't pay the extra income tax that comes from residing in the city. It just depends which is larger - the increase in RE tax or the increase in NYC income tax.

ETA: Just to be clear, I'm pointing out that all else equal, RE tax is basically guaranteed to be higher outside NYC. You may find specific places where it's low enough to be a no-brainer relative to NYC income tax, but it's still the same equation.

November 30, 2016, 09:27:06 AM
1
Re: The Pros And Cons Of Where You Live Depends where you are in the five towns. Many people pay 20K+ for real estate taxes and not living in multi million dollar homes
November 30, 2016, 09:57:18 AM
1
Re: You might be a DDFer if... You haven't bought deodorant in a while.
December 11, 2016, 06:15:38 PM
1
Re: Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem
Can someone fill me in on what's the deal with the hechsher for this hotel? Specifically for breakfast. Thanks

Feel Free to PM me if you want.
There's no deal. It's Rabbunut. There are those that postulate somehow that it's better. Ask your LOR.

December 15, 2016, 11:39:13 AM
1
Re: Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem
Can someone fill me in on what's the deal with the hechsher for this hotel? Specifically for breakfast. Thanks

Feel Free to PM me if you want.
Official hashgocha is Rabanut, which has something to do with having Jewish employees there working on Shabbos.

In practice the mashgiach says that only mehadrin foods are used. I made a few phone calls to various people in the know and was told I could comfortably eat there, but obviously everyone should do their own research.

Avraham Fried was sitting at the Shabbos table next to us, so if I do go to hell because of it, at least I'll hear some good songs from my uncle ;)

December 15, 2016, 11:43:28 AM
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Re: Los Angeles Master Thread Mini TR.

The food:

Amazing list:
-Shiloh's: Lamb & Truffle Open Ravioli (Slow lamb comfit (32 Hours) in a herb printed ravioli with mushroom)

Great list:
-Cafe Eilat: Portabella mushroom panini
-Magic Castle Dinner catered by Schwartz: Rib Eye
-Fish Grill: Grilled Salmon Sandwich
-Shiloh's: Kansas BBQ Short Ribs 18oz (Deliciously juicy, cooked on low temperature for 36 hours) these are their baby back ribs
-La Gandola: Avocado Egg rolls
-Jeff's: Wild Western Burger

Very good:
-Shiloh's: Tarte Flambť (Thin sliced beef bacon, parve crŤme Fraiche, and grilled onions On thin crust lavazza bread.)
-Fish Grill: Angel Hair Pasta Salmon
-La gandola: Mushroom Onion Burger
Jeff's: French Dip
Schnitzly: Chicken fingers

Good:
-Ditmas: Flat Iron Steak
-Jeff's: BBQ Beef Sandwich
-Cafe Elite: Breakfast Burrito

OK:
-Ditmas: Tony Fries
-Ditmas: Monkey Bread (Rhodes dough cinnamon rolls are probably better)

Skip:
-Shiloh's: Wild Mushroom Egg Rolls
-Ditmas: Rib eye
-Jeff's: Pastrami Sandwich
-La Gandola: Chicken Fingers
--Magic Castle Dinner catered by Schwartz: Pasta
-Beverly Hills Thai: Didn't like anything we ordered likely just don't like Thai food or it was a very very off night.

The hotels:
Intercontinental was a great location during the week, just 6 minutes from Pico and  they stacked multiple award nights no problem, so at around $165/night it is a truly great value.
SLS was a very weird room in the signature suite, their service is simply incredible, they gave us a room for an extra night for free as long as our baby wanted to sleep before our flight, and without us asking they went out and bought us board games for shabbos.

If anyone wants more details added let me know.

December 19, 2016, 01:04:46 PM
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DDF DO: NYC Edition?
How does that convo go?
Dan- "Hi, can I skip the line?"
TSA agent- "no way"
Dan-"I'll give you sesame chicken"
TSA agent- " tempting but still no"
Dan- "let's start over, hi, I'm Dan, here's some sesame chicken"
TSA agent- "what line?"

December 19, 2016, 08:52:25 PM
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Re: Los Angeles Master Thread
can one of you explain stacking award nights at IC? do you mean just using free IHG nights plus/or points-paid nights together for 2 rooms instead of one or something else?

Making 2 consecutive reservations with free nights from different accounts, and having the hotel combine reservations so you don't need to check out of one room and into another.

December 21, 2016, 03:58:54 PM
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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
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Re: Citi Prestige Card
i booked a few United flights on united.com and ended up canceling one a couple days later (non-refundable but special case). Citi gave me a full credit about a month later. do i assume they will pull back the amount of the cancelled ticket and i should grab a gift card now to get the rest of 2016 credit, or does Citi sometimes not claw back cancelled ticket reservations?

IME Citi doesn't claw back.

December 26, 2016, 08:35:45 PM
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Re: Citi Prestige Card
IME Citi doesn't claw back.

this

December 26, 2016, 09:39:51 PM
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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
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Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread mini TR
JFK-CUN On AA flight was good little longer then miami
at cun airport had to fill out a form and they have a light test for security it was red by me searched my luggage no biggie
i rented a car at budget pretty simple brand new WW jetta took out full insurance and used waze to get to hotel
stayed at JW marriot pretty nice room not new Lobby was very nice pools are very nice and beach is nice
service was good free valet parking which went very fast
first 2 days hung out in hotel
chabad food i ordered once, we went to CHEDRAUI got kosher chalav stam milk and cereal and foods so thats what we ate

January 04, 2017, 07:31:08 AM
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Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
You're too much of a risk taker. Life is better being ignorant and just going to Le Marais for every special occasion.  :P

Im all about risk taking. I took a risk with Bedford in Queens. Went with a big group - We all left hungry. Thank g-d for the shwarma shop down the block.
Needless to say, I see this new location as High risk. Ill wait and see reviews.

January 04, 2017, 04:48:17 PM
1
Re: Citi Prestige Card
current offer off the link is 40,000 bonus points after $4,000, though wiki still refers to 50k. anyone have a better link?
in branch is 50k last time I went

January 04, 2017, 05:10:56 PM
1
Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
Im all about risk taking. I took a risk with Bedford in Queens. Went with a big group - We all left hungry. Thank g-d for the shwarma shop down the block.
Needless to say, I see this new location as High risk. Ill wait and see reviews.
Grill point I assume?

January 04, 2017, 06:34:09 PM
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Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
No Talia's in the wiki? I know it's not the favorite place here, but with all the groupons, I figured there would be some reviews. (And that someone would add their opinion to the wiki.)

Anyway...
What to get?

It's not worth it.  I had a coupon on a Groupon and still feel cheated. Would like to see a class action lawsuit for their false labeling of filet mignon and prime rib. 

January 05, 2017, 08:25:50 AM
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Re: Law School
A sister unit in my agency (NYC Department of Social Services) is hiring 5 attorneys to work in adult protective services and related litigation. The hiring level is Agency Attorney Interne at $60,755 per year. My agency generally promotes to Agency Attorney I after six months. Attorneys at my agency are unionized, typically work 35 hours per week with occasional paid overtime, and are very well treated (IMO). NYC residency required. The job number is 245827.

My unit is hiring another attorney. The job number is 276884. Feel free to PM if you or someone you know intends to apply.

Quote
The Office of the General Counsel is recruiting for one Agency Attorney Interne, within the Child Support Enforcement Term of the Support and Lien Recovery Litigation Unit to function as an Attorney Interne, who will:

ē Represent the interests of the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services in NYS Family Court litigation to establish paternity and orders of support for children in receipt of public assistance and Medicaid.

ē Appear in estoppel hearings and trials. Seek penalties on violation of support petitions.

ē Provide legal counsel and review with regard to negotiated settlements on outstanding arrears owed to the Commissioner and stipulate to orders of support outside of court based  on Office of Child Support Enforcement initiatives and pilot programs.

ē Draft legal documents, provide legal assistance to OCSE  by researching applicable statutes, case law or other material to resolve legal questions or problems, interpret the intent and legal ramifications of laws, rules and regulations related to the delivery of Medicaid.

ē Determine the advisability of presenting witnesses, admissibility of types of evidence and matters of legal strategy.

January 05, 2017, 08:55:40 AM
1
Re: New Orleans Master Thread
Get some of these http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/103867
Thanks!

January 05, 2017, 01:11:44 PM
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Re: Law School
really --  A "180" isn't enough? What else are they looking for? Letter of recommendation? Undergrad?

For yeshiva guys, a 175+/4.0 really is not enough, because the 4.0 means nothing and all they have to go on is a 180.  So the rest of the package (personal statement, resume, letters) actually matters.  I've seen some very high BTL LSATs significantly under-perform in admissions. 

I encourage people to hire a consultant, although I have no idea if that actually helps.  Maybe I should become a BTL law school admissions consultant. 

January 05, 2017, 01:57:59 PM
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Re: Law School
For yeshiva guys, a 175+/4.0 really is not enough, because the 4.0 means nothing and all they have to go on is a 180.  So the rest of the package (personal statement, resume, letters) actually matters.  I've seen some very high BTL LSATs significantly under-perform in admissions. 

I encourage people to hire a consultant, although I have no idea if that actually helps.  Maybe I should become a BTL law school admissions consultant. 

Count for probono hours?

I think that's pretty much what this thread is.

January 05, 2017, 02:03:11 PM
1
Re: Laptop Deals Master Thread ASUS TP301UA 13.3" Ultra Slim 2in1 Full HD Touch Laptop i5 6GB RAM 256GB SSD for $484.99 shipped from eBay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASUS-TP301UA-13-3-Ultra-Slim-2in1-Full-HD-Touch-Laptop-i5-6GB-RAM-256GB-SSD-/391648193139?_trkparms=5373%3A0%7C5374%3AFeatured

January 05, 2017, 08:23:45 PM
1
Re: Law School
Do you think my CPA/masters/work experience will alleviate some of that or is the BTL a killer?

If you didn't start working on your application materials then don't bother applying this cycle. It's already pretty late in the application process and a lot of schools have already given out scholarship $, especially the good ones. With your great score, you'll be in a much better position if you apply early next cycle, lots of schools will give you great, some even full offers. One great option would be to do ED Northwestern. You automatically get $150,000 scholarship if accepted and I think you'd get it. Also great location for frum guy.
I see a lot of yeshiva guys do this: they get a really good score on the LSAT but rush the app process and have no idea what they're doing. Hire a consultant, work hard on your apps, and apply early in Sep for 2018. I know it's tough to hear this but that's the more prudent choice. You'll be saving a lot of $ in the processs. I mean, you could apply this cycle, see if any schools make you a great offer but I'd just wait.

January 06, 2017, 10:27:33 AM
1
Re: Law School
If you didn't start working on your application materials then don't bother applying this cycle. It's already pretty late in the application process and a lot of schools have already given out scholarship $, especially the good ones. With your great score, you'll be in a much better position if you apply early next cycle, lots of schools will give you great, some even full offers. One great option would be to do ED Northwestern. You automatically get $150,000 scholarship if accepted and I think you'd get it. Also great location for frum guy.
I see a lot of yeshiva guys do this: they get a really good score on the LSAT but rush the app process and have no idea what they're doing. Hire a consultant, work hard on your apps, and apply early in Sep for 2018. I know it's tough to hear this but that's the more prudent choice. You'll be saving a lot of $ in the processs. I mean, you could apply this cycle, see if any schools make you a great offer but I'd just wait.
I agree with it being a good idea to wait, but I don't agree on ED for Northwestern. His score should get him into better schools. Maybe not on a full ride, but personally I'm of the opinion that generally, one should go to the best school possible even if it means taking out loans. Chances of getting a big law job out of NYU/Columbia are better than Northwestern, and with a big law job, he'll have no problem paying back his loans.

January 06, 2017, 11:36:32 AM
1