See likes

See likes given/taken

Posts you liked

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 91
Post info No. of Likes
Moving Violation Tickets Need some help here.

I got a few of them.

Anyone have any experience in ny (or ca?)

No points, cause its a ca license (so i heard).

I need to fight it (them) cause i aint got the gelt - anyone got any ideas how to go about it or know of anyone to call - lawyers or yidelach...


October 18, 2009, 07:24:28 PM
Re: Obtaining an E-Z Pass, without owning a vehicle there's got to be an honest way of doing this...
June 27, 2010, 03:28:47 PM
Re: Bethlahem, New Hampshire I just came back from the White Mountains. We stayed in Lincoln, NH, which was very nice and would recommend staying there. The locals even say that Lincoln is the new Bethlehem...

Things to do:

Almost everything is outdoors so you'll need nice weather.

* Mt Washington, beautiful views from the highest point in the northeast - 6288 ft.. We came on a sunny day and had 80 mile visibility. There are several ways to get to the summit:
**Mt. Washington Auto Rd; Drive yourself ( $23 + 8 per pass.) or take the stage couch.
**The Cog Railway.
Make sure to check the weather at the summit before you go up. Also, the Auto rd is very narrow with no guardrail, and can be quite scary driving up. They don't recommend it if you are afraid of heights (I am, and still had an excellent time).

*Glen Ellis Falls. It's about a 10 min. drive from the M.W. Auto rd. A short easy hike down the Ellis river brings you to a beautiful 60 ft. falls ($3).

*Kancamagus Scenic Byway. Passes through the heart of the white mountains with beautiful scenery. At some point you see a sign that says "No Gas Next 32 Miles". There is no cell coverage either. There are several lookout places to stop and take in the view. Also you have a good number of hikes with falls, and several camping and picknick areas. The hikes are easy for most although there is quite a bit of climbing to do. You'd have to be very careful with small kids.
Among the places we hiked there:
**Sabbaday Falls.
**Rocky Gorge.

Right near Lincoln you have Francania Notch. In there you have, aside from magnificent scenery,

*The Flume Gorge. A 0.3 mile hike up the flume that takes you to a 90 foot falls (in several stages, not one big one). You walk bet. a  gorge that gets continuously narrower (12 ft.) and higher (60 ft). This is one of the best things to to IMO. We saw people with kids and the elderly doing the hike. Charge is $13 per person. You can also upgrade the tickets to take a cable car about 4000+ ft into the mountains which is supposed to be very nice but we did not do it because the mountains were in a cloud at that point. There are also several other places to take a cable car up nearby.

*There is the "Old Man of the Mountain which collapsed in 2003 but people still go to see the spot were it once stood.

*Clarks Trading Post, in Lincoln. They have many things to do especially for kids. They have black bears putting on shows and Segways among many other things.

*Mountain Sliding.

*The Conway scenic railroad.

*ATV's in Berlin, and Lincoln. The one in Berlin said he charged $75 for two hours min.. The one in Lincoln charged $79 for a one hour guided tour. Does anyone know if these prices are good? We did neither.

People are generally very nice and helpful there.

We stayed in the Franconia Notch Motel in Lincoln. they had nice clean rooms, AC, mini fridge and microwave, and best of all, a river right in back that can be seen through the window. We climbed the rocks and chilled right in the middle of the river. They motel is a bit dated but everything is great there. We brought all our food from home.

Thanks to Dan I got a copy of the Lonely Planet guide to New England which is were we got most of our ideas from, including the motel. I also took Frommer's and Eyewitness books but Lonely Planet was all we needed.

June 27, 2010, 03:37:10 PM
Re: Thomy Mayo in the US Seriously, that stuff rocks. It's the first thing that crosses my mind whenever I think of my trips to Switzerland.
May 23, 2011, 01:11:02 AM
What's On Your Top 10 Bucket List? We all have our bucket lists of places we want to go.  What are your top 10?
October 06, 2011, 01:33:50 PM
Re: What is happening to the Forums?!
Growing pains...
…and if other forums are an indication this will only get worse.

January 16, 2012, 02:16:24 PM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying
Anyone have any insights to share with the rest of us from your experiences from looking and buying a house? Good mortgage brokers? tricks? useful relevant credit information? inspection tips? etc

Always make sure you have a home inspection...don't trust the sellers.

The 2 biggest concerns you need to have are roof issues and HVAC issues (these will be the most common expenses.)

Make sure you UNDERSTAND the contract. Not reading it or understanding it won't be a defense if you end up going to court.

Don't have the "i need to JUST buy" attitude. This will be one of the biggest decisions you make and, most likely, be stuck with.
You don't want to wake up every day and be upset you bought a money pit.

May 13, 2013, 10:12:48 AM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying
it'sverysimple. move to cle

Meh, that's something an infant can do.
In another few months I'll be a real hero posting 'how meshugener bought his home in NYC' 
Who paid for the down payment and who pays the mortgage: everyone but meshugner...

Better deal than free toilet paper.

May 13, 2013, 10:34:53 AM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying
Meh, 3.25 or 4.75, it's all good to me lol.  It was only about 30 years ago that mortgage rates were 13%
And houses were 1/13 of the price they are now

June 10, 2013, 11:38:29 AM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying I got a bargain on a house on the outskirts of Boro Park in 1991.  $285K.  Now it's worth $1.2 mil at least.  (My mortgage I bought down to 5.5%. Still higher than today, but a real bargain back then.)
June 10, 2013, 11:00:17 PM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying My parents paid 12k over 25 years ago selling for about 1 million currently
June 11, 2013, 01:13:01 AM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying
now that's what I call a return. Why didn't they buy two?
I wonder if in 20 years we will be saying that about some other areas, who knows.

June 11, 2013, 02:28:02 PM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying The price of homes compared to income has gone way up in the last 20 yrs. If it goes any higher nobody will be able to afford one.
June 11, 2013, 02:45:38 PM
Re: Went through the process of house hunting/buying
The price of homes compared to income has gone way up in the last 20 yrs. If it goes any higher nobody will be able to afford one.
Or people will move to places where it's affordable to live.
The LA paycheck to paycheck lifestyle isn't sustainable IMHO.

June 11, 2013, 02:52:45 PM
Re: What's On Your Top 10 Bucket List? Can't wait to see THOSE pics  ;D ...
August 05, 2013, 12:03:55 AM
Re: Jokes. Any type goes. Whats the difference between mashed potatoes, and pea soup? A woman got up from shiva and tells her husband "I learned two things: Shacharis doesn't take only 15 minutes and maariv doesn't take an hour and a half!"
September 12, 2013, 01:12:36 PM
Re: Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef ztzvk"l NYTimes:
"When Ariel Sharon was pushing his
plan for unilateral withdrawal from
Gaza in 2005, Rabbi Yosef said, “God
will strike him with one blow and he
will die, he will sleep and not
awake.” (Mr. Sharon suffered a
devastating stroke in early 2006 and
remains in a coma.)"

October 07, 2013, 08:46:17 AM
Re: Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef ztzvk"l Baruch dayan haemet what a privilege to have met him.. best slap in the face i ever got!
October 07, 2013, 06:06:40 PM
Re: Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef ztzvk"l BH I was zoche to meet him many, many times.
My last time, I went with my wife a little more than 9 months ago, requesting a brocho to have a child.

Due date is this week :)

October 07, 2013, 07:54:12 PM
Re: Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef ztzvk"l
BH I was zoche to meet him many, many times.
My last time, I went with my wife a little more than 9 months ago, requesting a brocho to have a child.

Due date is this week :)

Very nice, b'sha'ah tovah :)
So if its a boy do you have a name yet ;)

October 07, 2013, 08:40:36 PM
Re: Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef ztzvk"l My father was  zoche to have Chacham Ovadia stay at his house in America many times over the last 40 years.
October 07, 2013, 10:18:51 PM
Re: Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef ztzvk"l A small personal story. About 5-6 years ago I arranged with his son to see Chacham Ovadia after mincha. After praying, I quickly went upstairs and entered his room about a minute or two after mincha was over.

I was shocked to see him already in his chair, jacket off, glasses pushed up, pen in hand, concentrating deeply while writing the continuation of a long piece that he didn't finish before mincha. His son literally had to raise his voice while standing right in front of his desk to get the Rav's attention. To see someone so deeply entrenched in learning in just a few seconds was truly special to me.

October 07, 2013, 11:28:38 PM
Re: "Ex-Hasidic Woman Marks Five Years Since She Shaved Her Head"
Btw my wifes was taught that the reason why married women cover their hair is because now the hair is special only for the husband, and not for others. This explains how hair can all of a sudden turn into an erva.
I like this explanation, I wonder how the shavers/extreme coverers explain it.
As per how R' Cheikin taught us, that is a cutesy rational meant to make the Mitzvah more pleasant, but has no bearing to the actual observance of the Mitzvah, much like saying that keeping Kosher helps us stay healthy and keeping Taharas Hamishpachah helps our Shalom Bayis...

November 15, 2013, 12:07:09 PM
Re: "Ex-Hasidic Woman Marks Five Years Since She Shaved Her Head" There's nothing sefardi about what I said. A man sets the halachos of his home; that's the halacha. (Similarly, ever heard that a man can be meifer his wife's neder?) That doesn't mean they can not have a discussion about it. They can have the discussion, and if he still decides that she shouldn't cut her hair, she must listen to him.

I'm not saying that it's reasonable for a husband to decide to go against all his wife's chumras/minhagim. However, there are minhagim or chumros that impact the husband, and those are/should be the ones that in the end of the day, in the husband hands.

Unfortunately, the feminist doctrine seems to have seeped into a couple of posters hashkofas.

November 15, 2013, 01:28:35 PM
Re: "Ex-Hasidic Woman Marks Five Years Since She Shaved Her Head"
I already stated what I wanted. For her to be clear. If you think otherwise, that's your opinion.

She defend Satmar nicely, but things get murky when she responds misleadingly. Some people said that if the mikve ladies wouldn't let the woman dip or they snitch on her then there's something wrong with the community. She responds that it doesn't happen/never heard of it, implying this woman is making up her story. But she fails to note that she is talking about a different place than KJ. The story is about KJ so without clarification her response is misleading.
That was then, and I already made myself clear since then regarding where I'm coming from, but now you asked something else - that I should stop commenting altogether on this topic, since I'm not from KJ and am not familiar with the basis of the article. Nothing to do with clarity - it was very clear that  I responded  only on slightly off-topics, and was careful not to argue about anything I'm not familiar with first-hand. 
FYI, the reason I originally wasn't clear enough is that being a good Satmar girl, my filter blocks news sites (don't worry - I'm pretty up to date with all I want to know through Orthodox newspapers.) so I didn't read the actual article, just answered posters' questions on the topic. I didn't know she was from KJ until I was notified.
Thanks, Meshugener, for sticking up for me. And to all of you in the DDF "community", as Dan calls it: I'm impressed. Besides for this lone poster, who obviously has a hard time digesting the fact that I don't sound like a mindless cult member, you are all extremely respectful and ask your questions with no evident intent "l'kanter". Being used to being a ridiculed Satmar, I didn't expect this. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of klal yisroel would be like you? :)

November 17, 2013, 06:36:43 PM
Re: Cleaning Glass Cups of the Menorah
Does anyone know of a good way (quick and easy) to clean the glass oil cups from the menorah?
a wife

December 05, 2013, 01:20:39 AM
Re: Mi K'Amcha Yisroel Several years ago coming back from a date in the rain at 1:00 AM I hydroplaned in my dinky rented prius entering the GSP off the 440. My front wheel hit the curb and severely misaligned the tires. I pulled to the side to inspect the damage. Within what felt like 30 seconds, a car full of frum guys pulled over to help me out. They had one of them get in the car with me and the others followed behind me as I crawled down the parkway back home.

Yes, mi k'amch Yisrael.  :) This is what to think about whenever someone makes a negative comment about frum communities. There isn't a safer place to live than a community with Hatzaloh, Shomrim, Chaveirim etc.

February 13, 2014, 08:59:12 PM
Re: Gas vs charcoal grill
Charcoal grills give a better flavor, but a gas grill can also produce excellent results so  most people opt for the ease of gas grill


I still use charcoal when I'm smoking meats but day to day grilling is on gas.

April 20, 2015, 12:52:08 PM
Re: Iceland Master Thread Here is a trip report from our recent trip to Iceland.  Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.

Initially, I would like to express sincere gratitude to my good buddy (who shall remain anonymous for obvious reasons) for helping me book our free Icelandair flights.  (No PM's please).  Many thanks. Your help was greatly appreciated.

We arrived at KEF on Sunday night intending on spending the first night of our trip at the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel.  We met up with Sofus, a part time taxi driver/student/plumber, who became our taxi driver for the rest of the trip.  As I later learned, having multiple jobs in Iceland isn't uncommon as many people work in tourism during the hectic summer months and do something else during the winter.

We decided to stay at the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel on the first night of our arrival and then again for Shabbos, for reasons which will be discussed below.  Things didn't go exactly as planned.  We arrived at the Blue Lagoon on Monday morning at 2:30 a.m. (Iceland time) to an empty lobby.  After ringing the front desk bell a few times, a very wet attendant came running out.  He had clearly been soaking in the private hotel lagoon, a nice perk of the job.  After repeating my name a few times, I learned to my dismay that we didn't have a reservation.  Apparently the person who took our reservation didn't properly book it.  Further, since the hotel only has 15 rooms (they are presently expanding) they couldn't just give us another room because they were fully booked.  I later learned that the hotel had messed up another unfortunate fellow who booked a number of rooms for a conference only to show up and be told that the rooms were still under construction and wouldn't be ready until September.  Luckily, in our case, the front desk attendant was able to find us a room at another hotel nearby.  We loaded our bags back into the taxi and Sofus drove us to the brand new Geo Hotel.

At the Geo Hotel, the front desk attendant was a very pleasant Scotsman.  When asked how a Scotsman ended up in Iceland, I was told that he initially came for a visit and then got a local girl pregnant.  The rest is history.  He also spoke fluent Icelandic.  Apparently, he was forced to learn Icelandic when his boss stopped speaking to him in English.  I wonder if he speaks Icelandic with a Scottish accent. 

The next morning, Sofus picked us up at the hotel and drove us to pick up our camper truck, our home for the next four nights.  After a brief orientation, we were off.  The truck was a 2008 Ford F350 with a camper in the bed.
IMG-20150629-WA0000 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC08751 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Although the truck was old (by USA rental standards) and had 125k Kilometers, the camper was brand new.  It took a bit of getting used to drive this behemoth.  For instance, you would normally expect a vehicle to stop once you press on the brake.  Not with this truck.  I quickly learned that I had to start braking about a block before I needed to stop.  That being said, once I got used to the truck, it was relatively easy to drive as long as I didn't have to back up.

We then drove to the local Reykjavik airport for our helicopter charter to the "inside the volcano" tour of Thrihnukagigur Volcano.  In this tour, you either hike ( a few kilometers) or take a helicopter charter from the Reykjavik airport to the volcano, which we chose to do.  Once there, you are lowered by a construction type lift into the magma chamber.  As some of you may know, I have a thing for volcanoes and lava and once I learned about this experience, I just had to go to Iceland.  For this trip, we booked the helicopter excursion, which was the least expensive way to get a semi private tour of the volcano.  With the hiking tour, you are stuck with a group of 15 descending into the magma chamber. However, if you take the helicopter tour, they take you to the magma chamber in between the regularly scheduled hiking tours.  If you fill up the helicopter with your family/friends, you will pretty much have the magma chamber all to yourself for about a half hour.  This experience was well worth it and I even managed to convince a frum family we met up with on the plane to join us.  The only thing that I'm pissed off about is that the volcano people refused to let me take the baby into the magma chamber.  I thought it would make for an awesome family picture.  Feh.

Here are some photos from the volcano tour:

View from the helicopter of the opening in the volcano.

DSC_2378 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Kids getting ready to descend into the magma chamber.

DSC_2398 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Elevator descending into the magma chamber.

DSC_2400 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2401 by P Bryan, on Flickr

My daughter inside the magma chamber.  What did your kids do on their summer vacation?  ;D

DSC_2431 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After the volcano tour, we drove around Reykjavik hunting for kosher food and supplies.  After realizing that neither the hotel we had stayed at on Sunday night (or the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel) had microwaves, we went to the Elko store (an Icelandic version of Bestbuy) and bought a 220v microwave (to heat up Mealmart box meals) and crock pot (for Shabbos).  We forgot to get a VAT form from the store to get a refund of the taxes (DW insisted on bringing back the microwave and crock pot) so if any of you decide to purchase something that you will take back with you, remember to ask the store for a VAT form.  Given that one of the major supermarkets in Reykjavik ("Bonus") has a large pig as its mascot, we didn't really expect to find much in the way of kosher food.  We only managed to find three things with a hechsher: (i) Popcorn chips; (ii) Nature Valley bars; and (iii) Powerade.  Even American brands such as Pringles didn't have a hechsher. 

We ended Monday by camping out at Thingvellir National Park in the parking lot by the visitor center.  There was a "pay" toilet (which isn't too uncommon in Iceland as we later learned) where it cost you 200 ISK (~$1.50) to use the loo. This is where the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region.  For those who are interested (and I know of one DDF member who has done this), you can dive into the lake and touch both plates at the same time.  We aren't divers (yet) and didn't have time for this activity anyways.

The next morning we took a charter super jeep tour to Langjokull Glacier.  The glacier is in the highlands and requires driving on unpaved roads.

The super jeep.

 DSC_2501 by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG-20150630-WA0005 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2711 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2713 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Views along the way:

DSC_2494 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2557 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2500 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Luckily for us, our super jeep had huge tractor type tires and had no difficulty navigating the large mounds of snow still covering parts of the road.  The roads were impassible to everything else, including a bunch of land rovers we saw along the way. 

Can your jeep do this?

DSC_2531 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2532 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2533 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Since we were the only tour heading out to Langjokull Glacier that day, we had the entire route to ourselves.  The scenery was spectacular and it was an interesting experience driving on the glacier. 

On the glacier.

DSC_2573 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2598 by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG-20150630-WA0015 by P Bryan, on Flickr

On the way down the glacier, we had a flat tire.  Our driver/guide Jonas quickly fixed whatever the problem was.  Not sure how many others can say they had a flat while driving on a glacier.

After our glacier tour, we went to the Laugardalur Swimming Pool, a top rated public pool in Reykjavik.  The water was clean and refreshing and they had hot tubs with different temperature ratings.  However, the changing room/shower area was a revelation.  Apparently, the people in Iceland have no problem showering naked in front of everyone else.  You do your best to avert your eyes but sometimes you just can't help it if something is dangling literally right in front of you.  After Laugardalur, we drove back to Thingvellir and stayed at a campground.  I made a bbq at about midnight.  The next day, we began the drive to the Golden Circle.

Here is a picture taken at the campground.

DSC_2735 by P Bryan, on Flickr

In our Golden Circle tour, we went to Geysir and Gulfoss.  We finished the day with the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls (which are not part of Golden Circle tour).  Here are some pictures from our Golden Circle Tour and from Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss:

DSC_2758 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2836 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2841 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2906 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2914 by P Bryan, on Flickr

We made a bbq at Skogafoss and then at about midnight drove to Jokulsarlon, arriving at 4:00 a.m.  Jokulsarlon is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajokull National Park.  Along the way, we passed by awe inspiring scenery which words cannot describe, including  Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that erupted in 2010 and grounded flights throughout Europe due to the ash cloud.  The drive itself was worth the trip to Jokulsarlon.   

DSC_2919 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2874 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2883 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Our view upon arrival at Jokulsarlon:

DSC_3064 by P Bryan, on Flickr

While everyone else was shluffing, I woke up at 7:00 a.m. feeling refreshed and decided to take a walk.  I saw arctic terns fishing and flying back to their nests with their catch.  My attempt to get closer to the nests was promptly responded to by multiple dive bomb attacks.  When everyone woke up, we did a duck boat tour where we saw 1000 year old icebergs (I really should have brought some whiskey) and seals.  A little later in the day DW and my older kids did a zodiac boat tour while I stayed behind with the baby.  (DW says if you have a choice to do the zodiac tour as they take the zodiacs right up to the icebergs).  We ended up spending the entire day at Jokulsarlon.  Here are some pictures taken at Jokulsarlon:

DSC_2946 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2958 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2964 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2985 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_2992 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_3046 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_3050 by P Bryan, on Flickr

After our boat tours, we drove across the road to a black sand beach where I had the opportunity to photograph ice washed up on the black sand.  That evening, we began our trek back to Reykjavik for Shabbos.  We drove for a while and stopped to stay the night at the Skaftafell Campground.  Hot showers cost 500ISK (~$3.75) for 5 minutes.  They also had a washing machine and dryer.  While I did the laundry, DW, my older daughter, and the baby (in a carriage) hiked to Svartifoss, a beautiful waterfall framed by hexagonal columns.  From this campground, they lead tours where you can walk on the glacier.

On Friday morning, we continued our drive back to Reykjavik and didn't really have much time for any touring.  Once again, we gazed at the awe inspiring landscape on the way back.  We returned the camper truck at about 4:00 p.m. and met our buddy Sofus who drove us to the Blue Lagoon Clinic.  Along the way I had to fill up the camper with gas.

Can someone please tell me which button to press for S&S gas rewards?

DSC_3123 by P Bryan, on Flickr

Luckily, this time the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel had our reservation.  While driving, we called the hotel to ask that our Pomegranate meal that we intended to eat Friday night be taken out of the freezer (we left it at the hotel when we arrived Sunday night).  We weren't surprised to learn that they didn't take the meal out of the freezer.  I asked the front desk attendant if there was a way they could heat up the meal for us and was told they didn't have an oven but that there was a restaurant on site.  I then inquired if the restaurant would heat up our meal but was told in a rather stern tone that "we don't do that in Iceland."

Pictures of the private Blue Lagoon available only to guests of the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel:

DSC_3145 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_3148 by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG-20150705-WA0000 by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG-20150705-WA0008 by P Bryan, on Flickr

This is the public Blue Lagoon:

IMG-20150705-WA0016 by P Bryan, on Flickr

DSC_3173 by P Bryan, on Flickr

IMG-20150705-WA0014 by P Bryan, on Flickr

They opened it up just for us.  Just kidding - we got there early when no-one else was there so I could take photographs.

After taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon, we put a Pomegranate chicken meal into the crock pot, which was our Friday night meal.  We then put a few Mealmart cholent meals along with potatoes and carrots into the crock pot, which was our Shabbos meal.  We also placed eggs into the crock pot which we ate for shalosh seudos.  After eating the Friday night meal, DW lit candles.  We davened, made kiddush, washed, benched and went to sleep.  Shabbos started at about 11:30 at night and ended after 1:30 a.m.  Since the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel is located in the middle of a lava field, we couldn't go anywhere to walk around.  Then again, it was a good opportunity to catch up on a weeks worth of lack of sleep.

We made havdalah on Sunday morning and then went to take a soak in the public lagoon (which opened at 8:00 a.m.) and then back to the hotel for a soak in the private lagoon (which opens at 9:00 a.m.).  This was one of the main reasons we decided to stay in the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel.  The hotel has a private lagoon for hotel guests only.  While the public lagoon gets very crowded, there are rarely more than a few people in the private lagoon at any given time.  Further, guests at the hotel get free access to the public lagoon.  Of course the baby went into the lagoon as well, although technically you have to be two years old to go into the lagoon.  (Some may already know I don't much care for rules).

After relaxing in the lagoon for a few hours, we packed out and met Sofus, who drove us back to the airport.  Before this trip DW didn't want to go to Iceland and now we are planning a winter trip to see the northern lights.  DW says she wants to go back because we didn't have time to go to the Viking Museum or the Settlement Exhibition in Reykjavik.  I'm also planning a two week camping trip to circle the entire island.  (DW says its not happening but we'll see about that).  Anyone interested in a kosher caravan tour of Iceland?  :)

After a week in Iceland, I felt like we barely scratched the surface and there is so much more to do and see.

PS:  In case any of you are wondering, BI is still number one.

July 16, 2015, 06:13:10 PM
Re: Iceland Master Thread
Here is a trip report from our recent trip to Iceland.
I guess this is what normal people do/see when they go to Iceland :))

July 16, 2015, 08:25:50 PM
Re: Obtaining an E-Z Pass, without owning a vehicle I called up their service center a few days ago; they told me to make up a license plate and vehicle combination, and the remove it from the account once set up. Just got my tags in the mail today.
August 21, 2015, 01:53:37 PM
Re: Reduce USA -> TLV flights by $415
There are thousands of pages on multiple forums regarding FDs.  Deals aren't killed when it's discussed properly. The issue here is the concentration of people interested in cheap tickets to TLV.

DING DING DING!!!! We have a winner! Finally someone here with some sense...

August 26, 2015, 12:47:09 PM
Re: Reduce USA -> TLV flights by $415

And the vets were once noobs.
And sometimes still are

August 26, 2015, 01:31:05 PM
Re: Trick-It Master Thread I can't find it anywhere but there was once a post about fd where someone was answering what they are and his ingenious explanation was:
There are two types of planes
Those that travel on fuel and those that are powered by manure.
If you are really lucky you can get one that is powered by both
That is a fuel dump.

August 26, 2015, 09:41:45 PM
Re: Trick-It Master Thread
I can't find it anywhere but there was once a post about fd where someone was answering what they are and his ingenious explanation was:
There are two types of planes
Those that travel on fuel and those that are powered by manure.
If you are really lucky you can get one that is powered by both
That is a fuel dump.

Planes can run on either gasoline (fuel) or sewage (dump). Occasionally there is a hybrid flight that will use both, and those are always significantly cheaper.

I feel like TimT

August 26, 2015, 10:04:12 PM
UA Channel 9 On 9/11... Probably a repost, but always gives me goosebumps.
I actually had a ticket to fly on 9/11 from LAX-CLE, wound up being able to use it 9 months later.

UA Channel 9 is the live ATC feed. This is an FT report of listening to it while flying on 9/11.


Quote from: Putt4eagle
On 9/11, I was listening to Ch. 9. I was on a flight out of ORD to AZ (757) seated in 5F. We had just taken off and where climbing to cruise. A flight out of Rockford, IL was squeezing between us and the UA in front of us. I watched as he lined up to get on the highway westbound. Then, abruptly, the Rockford flight called ATC and requested immediate clearance to return to home. ATC responded with some quick direction and asked if they were experiencing trouble. No, just directed to return home by company pronto. Hmmm, strange I thought.

Then the UA in front of us requested emergency clearance back to ORD. Loooong pause from ATC. Now, this is Chicago Center air space. There are no pauses. Certainly not 30-40 seconds of dead air. Hmm, man that is weird, I thought. Then like a starters pistol went off, the comm light up. Another plane req. clearance, then another, another.... boom, boom, boom. Nothing from ATC. I nudged the guy next to me and said put on Ch. 9. He could see by the expression on my face, I was serious.

ATC got on the air and started by saying this was going to go quick and pilots needed to listen up. "Protocol responses are not required, just do exactly as I say quickly". Then it began. "UA ###, turn right heading blah, blah expect Springfield airport. SWA ###, turn left heading blah, blah expect Rockford. Delta ###...." This went on for about 3 solid minutes before I rang the bell for the FA who was passing out breakfast. Our number had not yet been called. The FA came by and I said "We are all going back to O'Hare, they are landing every plane in the sky. What is going on?!?" She looked at me in disbelief and kind of leaned down to look out the window. I could see that she was about to start to tell me not to worry about it when we pitched right at about 45*s. It was so quick it nearly dumped the FA in my lap.

Her expression changed quickly. I could see she knew that was no turn you make in a 757 under normal conditions. She said, I will be right back and picked up the comm. She went flush. Not saying a word, not "ok", not "goodbye", not "I understand"... nothing, she hung up the phone. I don't know why I remember that she did not respond so vividly in my mind but it took the whole thing up a notch for me. I knew she thought this was very serious and was scared. She walked right back to me, scooped up my tray and said in a voice full of authority, "Pull up your chair, put away your tray table and buckle up, now. We are landing in a few minutes. The pilot will be on with more instructions in a few minutes." I was frozen. In the ten steps it took her to get from the phone to me, her whole demeanor changed from shocked to pissed.

By this time, ATC comm on ch. 9 had been cut off. We were pitching left and right, then right and left and descending fast. It was about 5 minutes before the pilot came on and said "Ladies and gentlemen, please listen very carefully, We have been instructed by the FAA to land immediately. There has been a security breach in the system and we will be on the ground in Chicago in a few minutes. Listen carefully to the FAs instructions and do as they as say please." click. Huh!?! Instructed by the FAA? Not ATC... FAA!! Whaaa?!? Security breach in "the system"? What does that mean? Did some guy run through the check point at the airport? Now, I was scared.

A couple more minutes of quick turns and fast drops go by. The pilot (a woman, I don't know why I mention that but I remember it clearly) comes back on the comm. "This is the captain. We will be landing quickly in Des Moines, IA. Flight attendants, please prepare the cabin." click. Hard turn right, hard turn left... the FAs are barking out instructions on the comm. Now I can see planes everywhere around us. There had to be a dozen so close I could tell the company clearly. I could discern the 7-5s from the 7-3s, the AB320s from the 319s.

We were at about 8 thousand by now. It was less than 3 minutes since we last heard from the pilot and she was on again. "This is the captain. We will be landing at the Quad Cities airport in 4 minutes. When we land we have been instructed not to approach the terminal. Please remain calm and we will back with instructions as soon as possible." click. Now I could hear a woman crying a few rows behind me.

Our last turn to hit the glide path was so sharp I could see the corn rows in the fields below. There was a SWA 7-3 easily within a mile and a half behind us as we fish tailed, it seemed, into runway alignment. Gears go down way late. We are going much faster than a normal approach. 2k now.... 1500, 1... touchdown... hard. Heavy brakes for a good bit then they release and we roll all the way down to the end and turn right toward the terminal. I look back down the runway and the SWA 7-3 is about 500yrds off the end of the runway. This would have been a "go around" under normal circumstances. Behind Southwest, they are stacked up on a string. 8-10 planes maybe... boom, boom, boom. Big ones too.

"Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" I hear a voice behind me. I turn, it's a man on his cell. 'Two planes hit the WTC. They are on fire...both buildings." We are in the terminal in a flash it seemed. I made a few calls and went to the rental counter and secured a car (a fire engine red, Dodge minivan) before I sat in this tiny airport and watch TV for about 4 hours. By the time I decided to go back to Chicago, the rental counters were chaos. I slowly made my way through the crowd announcing rides were available back to ORD for any takers, follow me out. Outside I turned around to see I had five takers, 2 men, 3 women. One was a UA FA. We barely spoke a word the whole way back. I don't even remember any of their names. ORD was closed and I dropped ‘em off one by one at various places around the city. Then home for me. I'll never forget where I was or that Ch. 9 was a part of it. I still have the stub from the flight. UA 1969, ORD to Phoenix, seat 5F.

Quote from: Putt4eagle
Thank you so much for all the kind replies. I am sure there are many similar stories. Writing is a skill I am not usually proficient at but this was easy. The pictures in my memory are as clear today as they were 4 years ago.

I actually cut out a lot of what I had originally written. (I thought it was a little wordy for a message board.) I had described how perfect a day it was. How I breezed to the airport with almost no traffic, very unusual for Chicago. I walked from my car to my seat with never breaking stride. I know now that by the time I sat down, one plane was already in tower 1. I probably had walked past 50 TVs with the just breaking footage. Totally oblivious to what the day had in store, I remember thinking to myself how perfect the day was going.

The after landing portion of the story is also very vivid in my memory. The UA FA I drove back to Chicago, quietly sobbing almost the whole way home, was comforted by one of the men, an executive looking older guy in a power suit. She was dead heading back home after an international shift. She had no phone and had not been able to contact family and friends. She finally collected herself enough to ask if she could borrow mine. I wondered why she had waited so long to ask.

The other man, a younger khaki and polo shirt district sales manager looking type, asked me if I wanted some cash for the rental car or gas or something. I thought that was a very silly question. No, of course not.

It was a very emotional day for us all. I think about it every time I get on a plane. I think about all the other ‘heroes’ who shut down the entire aviation system in a matter of minutes, ATC, pilots and airline operations people who all performed flawlessly. I think about the incredible accomplishment and it makes me feel safe knowing these folks are at the helm. When the going got tough...

I have often wondered if a book, a collection of “where I was when…” stories from everyday ordinary people outside of NYC, DC or PA would find a readership. Or get published even. I know that I am going to take a few minutes to write mine down for my kids to read later on in life. I have saved everything from that week for them. I guess a written version of my experiences would be good to add to that collection.

September 11, 2015, 01:54:24 PM
Re: UA Channel 9 On 9/11... WOW!
September 11, 2015, 02:04:31 PM
Re: UA Channel 9 On 9/11... Unreal.
September 11, 2015, 02:21:54 PM
Re: Food/Recipe Thread
my galarete didnt congeal enough. someone told me a tip that after you boil it after freezing, let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating. is that accurate? do you have any other way to make it congeal to cutting consistency. mine needed to be served with a spoon
I never made this, but maybe you're cooking w too much water?

May 26, 2016, 11:40:52 AM
Re: Food/Recipe Thread
The simplest galerete recipe:

You can double the recipe and so forth.

You will need:

2 knee bones
1 garlic head

Soak knee bones in water for 45 minutes. Change water once or twice. Discard water.
Fill pot with water to cover the bones and then a little more.
Cook for 5 hours.
Peel garlic cloves and put them in the pot.
Put plenty of salt. Plenty.
Add pepper to taste
Cook for another 2-3 hours.
Let it cool for a few hours for an easier job.
Remove the bones from the pot and take off all the fat into a big plate. Discard the bones. Don't forget the small pieces of the collapsed bones. You don't want to bite into them.
Remove the garlic cloves and add to the same plate.
Mash the fat and cloves.
Distribute the gemoizhechtz evenly across the surface of one big pan or what I do across 8 small serving size pans.
Distribute the liquid evenly.
Let it cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate or freeze.
You must reboil the defrosted galerete before cooling again for good taste. It will not taste good if defrosted in the refrigerator. I use pans instead of containers to store, because you can warm up the pan directly on the flame.

It's delicious, even though it's so simple.
I put gala in plastic container, & just microwave in a bowl to defrost, & then rerefrigerate.

May 26, 2016, 05:27:54 PM
Chase Sapphire Reserve Click Here to get more details on this card and compare to other cards!

Reports of a new Chase credit card coming out at the end of August. It's supposed to be a high end card to compete with the Amex Plat.

July 25, 2016, 11:15:38 PM
Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH This trip report will be in a similar format as the recent Icelandic one, with me doing the bulk of the writing and whYME and Cat In The Hat adding their thoughts, pictures, and commentary. As with Iceland, color coding will help maintain an easy flow.

So without further ado, here it goes.

Photo by Something Fishy:

Photo by whYME:

Photo by Cat In The Hat:

August 15, 2016, 02:04:50 AM
Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH [Something Fishy] Like many, I've always had a powerful urge to document and photograph that forbidden and mysterious island, Cuba. So close, yet so far. A mere 90 miles from the United States, Cuba has been off-limits to US citizens since President Kennedy imposed a complete trade embargo in 1960. While non-Americans have always been able to visit, for U.S. citizens it's always been an out of reach dream. Technically, the issue is not traveling; that's allowed. The problem is spending money there. The Treasury Department - whose responsibility it is to enforce the embargo - (rightfully) claims that it's impossible to go to Cuba and not spend money, ergo you may not travel there.

For many years now there has been a list of 12 allowed categories, which allowed you to visit Cuba if you fit into one of them. For example, visiting immediate family in Cuba, doing research, humanitarian, or journalistic work, and so on. The loophole that allowed ultra-expensive group tours to go was the "People-to-People" cultural exchange category. In such a case, you must remain with the tour group at all times, and you were only allowed to do "approved cultural activities" - take a salsa class, meet schoolchildren, and so on. For decades, this was the only legal way to visit Cuba as a tourist.

But by early 2015, big changes were afoot. In January, it was announced that travel restrictions will be somewhat eased; in July, President Obama would announce the renewal of diplomatic relationships with Cuba and the imminent mutual opening of embassies. The important part - for me - was the news that going forward, U.S. citizens could self-certify an affidavit that they belong to one of the 12 categories, throwing the journalistic window wide open. In the past you needed to have a legitimate press card, assignment, and Treasury Department approval to get the waiver. Now, you could sign a piece of paper and be good to go.

I instantly bestowed upon myself the title of DDF Travel Writer, declared that I'll be writing a trip report, and began planning this trip ;D.

With restrictions easing, I know it was just a matter of time before direct flights from the U.S. were announced, and business opportunities opened. It wouldn't take long before there was a McDonalds and Starbucks on every corner, and the last vestiges of the Cuban time capsule were erased. Unquestionably, the time to go was now.

Not all was smooth sailing, though. I discovered a more formidable foe than the U.S. Government, in the form of my wife ;D. She absolutely, flat-out, refused to go to Cuba. It didn't interest her as a destination, it was kinda dangerous (Alan Gross had just been released after being held for five years in a Cuban prison), and the fact that the trip was only quasi-legal didn't help either.

That Shabbos, we were invited for a meal by Cat In The Hat. CITH is a good friend of mine, who has come with me on multiple photography trips (see my Wyoming and Maine TRs for example). I convinced him to create an account before this trip, but he's not very active here on DDF. Like me, he'd harbored a long burning Cuba bug, and was mightily excited about the recent news. During this Shabbos meal, we were discussing the fact that neither of our wives are remotely interested in going, when the ladies exchanged an exasperated look and said in unison, "If you two want to go so badly then go together! Just leave us out of this."

And just like that, the trip was on ;D.

I can neither confirm nor deny that this Shabbos meal was all collusion between CITH and I :-X.

As soon as Shabbos was over, I called whYME - who I knew was itching to go to Cuba as well - with the good news that the trip is likely a reality. It didn't take ten seconds and I had him - once again - hooked on a Photo DO :D.

[whYME] Well I was hooked in seconds, but let's just say my discussion about it with my wife didn't go quite as planned. "CUBA?! No, not Cuba. Anywhere but Cuba!" Apparently she had also been reading about Alan Gross and was convinced that if I went to Cuba I would be spending the next ten years in a Gulag. And thus began a convince-my-wife-that-Cuba-is-safe campaign. One morning during this time my wife showed me a news story, that there had been a stabbing not 200 feet from our front door during the night.She looked at me strangely when I burst out laughing at this news, so I showed her a Whatsapp Something Fishy had sent me the night before that I needed to tell her that Cuba is safer than Crown Heights . Eventually she was convinced that Cuba is safe enough (well, as long as you're not smuggling in illegal telecommunication devices) and I was given the OK to go.

To this day I wonder if maybe instead of pushing Cuba I should've taken advantage of "anywhere but cuba" and leveraged it for something bigger. Like maybe Antarctica? .

[Something Fishy] With the group finalized, it was time to find flights. At the time there were no flights between the U.S. and Cuba, save for a few uber-expensive charters. We needed to find a roundabout routing, preferably using miles. After a ton of research, it seemed that the best available options were on Aeromexico via MEX or CUN using DL miles, AC via YYZ in rev (AC does not allow point redemptions on that flight), or Copa (CM) via PTY using *A miles. With DL wanting around a trillion miles plus one (1) firstborn son, and AC wanting real, actual money (horrors!), CM was looking the most attractive.

Right away though we began hitting roadblocks. United.poop wasn't showing a single flight to Havana - even on partners -, likely because they themselves weren't allowed to fly there. On the phone, every agent insisted that even though they can see the availability, they cannot book it. Trying United's Mexican office, they were able to book it, but not on points. After a whole lot of trial and error, we discovered that if you manually select to show only Copa flights on Avianca's Lifemiles site, you could force it to show availability. Once we found the flights we wanted, we discovered that SQ will be more than happy to issue the tickets for us.

So after a week of headaches, CITH and I had the following in hand for 60K SQ + $86.48 in J:

Sun., 8/16: CM831 JFK-PTY, 3:05p – 7:37p
--- 1:58 connection ---
Sun., 8/16: CM230 PTY-HAV, 9:35p – 1:10a, +1
Thu., 8/20: CM321 HAV-PTY, 8:47a – 10:26a
--- 11:08 connection ---
Thu., 8/20: CM808 PTY-JFK, 9:34p – 3:45a, +1

[whYME] I had a bit more trouble here. I was unsure whether I would want to fly from BOS or JFK, so I wasn't quite ready to book yet when they were booking. Ultimately I decided I would fly from BOS and return to JFK. But by the time I was ready to book, the PTY-JFK that the other guys were on was no longer available, so I booked one for the following morning hoping that the other flight would open up.

My booking looked like this, for 60K SQ + $91.63 in J:

Sun., 8/16: CM312 BOS-PTY, 9:26a – 2:18p
--- 7:17 connection ---
Sun., 8/16: CM230 PTY-HAV, 9:35p – 1:10a, +1
Thu., 8/20: CM321 HAV-PTY, 8:47a – 10:26a
--- 23:06 connection ---
Fri., 8/21: CM830 PTY-JFK, 7:41a – 1:50p

Wed., 4/20/16: UA631 EWR-SFO (threw in the free stopover)

I would be arriving in PTY 5+ hours before the other guys, and if I couldn't get on their flight for the return, spending an extra night there.

[Something Fishy] The final routing (yellow) was slightly bonkers, as we would be going nearly 2.5x the distance as JFK-HAV direct (blue). But if this was the price to pay, so be it. On the upside, this routing gave us a full day to explore Panama on the way home.

With flights sorted and out of the way, it was time to find a place to sleep.

There are two main lodging options in Cuba: hotels or what's called a casa particular. Up until around ten years ago, no Cuban was allowed to engage in any sort of private enterprise; everyone worked in government factories, government groceries, and so on. But the Castros have slowly been opening up limited economic opportunities for citizens, and among the first reforms was that people were now able to rent out their houses or rooms to others. This created a market where private people were able to put up tourists in their homes, which got dubbed casa particulars (Hipster Cuba did vacation rentals before it was cool, apparently).

Looking at hotels, we found an incredibly limited selection, split pretty evenly between $150/night hole-in-the-walls and $500/night ultra-fancy places. With neither option being very appealing, we decided to take a casa. Luckily for us, Airbnb had just announced that they're beginning operations in Cuba, with over 1000 casas available from the get-go.

It didn't take long and we found an ideal place: it was in the heart of Old Havana, all of 100 feet from the national capitol building ("El Capitolio"), it looked nice and clean, and most importantly, it had AC. The listing even claimed that there was Wi-Fi, a true rarity in Cuba. It cost $39/night, which worked out to the princely sum of $13 per person. The booking process was a little different than usual, as Airbnb would not confirm the stay until everyone in the party filled out the affidavit through a special link they sent us. Other than that, the booking was perfectly painless; it was just like booking a place in the U.S.

The food situation was more complicated. Officially, the only food allowed in (other than dry goods, like bread, crackers, and the like) was "canned tuna from a recognized national brand". We never did figure out who decides what's well known and what isn't, but we did know that we're not taking any chances smuggling forbidden items into a totalitarian communist dictatorship...

The big question was what - if anything - could be bought locally. Obviously, there would be zero kosher food, but we were hoping to be able to drink something other than water and maybe get some local produce as well. The problem was that when searching online, half the internet claimed that there were fruit and vegetable carts all over town, while the other half insisted that they weren't able to find a single piece of produce.

Turns out a colleague of mine had gone to Cuba a year before on a cultural exchange program, so I want downstairs to find out what I could expect to buy locally. According to him, there was produce easily available, as well as Coke products. Two bits of good news - I just hoped that he was right.

In the end, we brought along rolls and wraps, PB&J, Tradition soups, granola bars, and tons of snacks (rugalech, chocolate, nosh, things like that). For protein, we took a mountain of tuna from Chicken of the Sea, hoping against hope that it was "national brand" enough for Cuban customs :(.
[whYME] I personally was willing to take the risk that the heimishe tuna was"national brand" enough for Cuban customs so I went with that. Supplemented with local fruits and veggies, it wasn't looking too bad after all.

The visa situation was unclear as well. In the U.S., plenty of tour companies are happy to sell you a visa for $85, but only if you fly with them. Flying on our own, it was unclear how and when to obtain it. After much research, it appeared that they sell it at the airport in Panama for all of ten bucks.

Transportation-wise, we would be using taxis. Renting a car is possible, but the cost is exorbitant, the roads in pathetic condition, and the cars garbage. Most importantly, by Cuban law, if you're involved on a motor vehicle accident, you are not allowed to leave the country until the case is settled, which could take months. The fact that the bulk of the taxis are lovely classic American cars didn't hurt that decision either.

Our itinerary for the trip was purposely left very fluid. Even though Cuba is a fairly popular spot for Canadian and European tourists, there was a surprising dearth of practical info available online. Being that the goal of this trip was to photograph and document everyday life in Cuba, our plan consisted of basically wandering around Old Havana, observing, shooting, and interacting with the locals.

Many visitors to Cuba go to more than just Havana. The beaches of Varedero are legendary, but being that we were on a journalistic licence we weren't allowed to go to beaches (and as it turned out, we could've gotten into serious trouble upon return had we taken bathing suits along. But that story will have to wait ;D). Another popular option is to fly to Trinidad de Cuba, but it was too similar to Havana to interest us much, plus the timing simply didn't work out.

In the end I discovered Vinales. Supposedly a two-hour drive from Havana, this is real, rural Cuba. This is prime tobacco-growing country, and of astounding natural beauty. Hopefully, we'll find a taxi driver who could take us there for the day for a change of pace and scenery.

Finally, the plans were made, the paperwork filled out in triplicate, and I promised my wife - again - to try and stay out of trouble and out of jail.

We were ready to travel back in time.

August 15, 2016, 02:05:39 AM
A Pleasant 3-Day Family Getaway - Saratoga/Lake George area I decided that it's about time to spend some quality time with my wife and children out of the four dull walls of my Brooklyn home. My wife and I decided that such a trip is long overdue, so we promptly started with the planning. Knowing that traveling in the Nine Days isn't ideal from both a halachic and practical perspective, we put it off for after Tisha B'av (namely, Tuesday because Monday was washing day for those heaps of laundry accumulating and overflowing).

Criteria we were limited to:
  • Any place requiring flying was out. Not all my kids have passports yet. (And it's not like I've covered everything locally already.)
  • All attractions had to be geared toward a family with young children.
  • No water activities (speed boating etc.). The little kids are just gonna squirm out of our grip and leap right into the water.
  • Animals were out. That's not what we saved this trip for. We can get enough of them locally.
  • Time of the day when we can do activities had to be kid (baby) friendly. (Which includes naps as well, though that's possible with a carriage.)
So with having to take all this into consideration we felt the decree of shevor es hachavis, ushemor es yainah... But baruch Hashem we pulled it off and it worked out perfectly.

After many ups and downs we settled on Upstate New York, in the Saratoga Springs/Lake George area for a few reasons:
  • It's not another typical trip to the catskills.
  • The views both on the way up and in the area are nicer than closer South.
  • There are convenient minyanim in the area.
  • There are enough not-your-typical attractions around the area.
The next step in the planning was where to stay. After some research I settled for the Hyatt Place Malta Saratoga conveniently located right off exit 12 on the I87. This was also only a ten-minute drive from the Belzer Yeshiva in Saratoga (also just a minute off exit 15 on the I87).
[During my first Mincha at Belz I found out that there's a Comfort Inn right nearby where I can get a room for pennies on the dollar via a PC number that some of the guys around there can give me. Though that option would've been a bit risky, as it only works for walk-ins. You cannot make a reservation with that; so if they are full then it's tough luck on you.]

I don't remember why, (perhaps because I thought I may get a better deal elsewhere) but I left the booking of the Hyatt for after Tisha B'av, only a day before I was to be arriving there. A BIG mistake on my end. On Monday I went online and only found availability for a room with a single king-size bed, which was very not ideal in my situation as I was traveling with several kids. More beds means better sleeping conditions for the little ones, and doubling them up doesn't become that difficult. So I went ahead and called up Hyatt on their main phone number to try and get a rep to book me for a room with two queen beds instead of the one king bed the site was showing. To my dismay the rep told me that ALL rooms are taken, and THERE IS NO AVAILABILITY. Not one to be turned off so quickly I hung up and started a search. Orbitz. Priceline. Expedia. Back to Hyatt's site. Start again... Nothing. All booked. I called up the local number of that particular location and tried my luck with them to see if they can get me something, the receptionist told me that there's nothing she can do, as they have no empty rooms. As I was talking to her I quickly did another search on their site and saw that indeed they do have a room with a king bed available. When mentioning this to her she told me that she can't see it on her end  :o, but I should feel free to go ahead and book it. Although it wasn't my first choice I booked it, figuring that I will first stick my foot into the door and later worry about squeezing in the rest of my body; I will call later to see if they can change me. I confirmed with the receptionist that I will have no loss if I cancel (that is if I can't change to the queen beds), as my stay is already within the next 24 hours. I booked. Promptly after booking I called them back up asking (I obviously displayed a tone of someone holding this reservation for a long time and just requesting a minor change) if they can just do this one small change to the two queen beds. Lo and behold my reservation was changed in an instant!  :o :o
This extremely helpful receptionist, Victoria, promised me that it's taken care of (although even after several attempts she couldn't send me a confirmation email of the change), and if I have a problem I can contact her.

August 24, 2016, 07:35:12 PM
Re: Uber This code is valid only in miami
August 26, 2016, 12:32:20 PM
Re: HOT! $100 off $200 hotels at travelocity Go to the OP's link. It says that all coupons have been redeemed. The only one still available is $150 off a $750 package.
August 30, 2016, 09:15:01 AM
Re: Going/Gone through 11 Months at the Amud? (All others proceed with caution...)
At least when I was saying kaddish I felt like I was doing something for my Mom. When I woke up the day after it was like...Now What?....
I know quite a few people who were lax about davening with a minyan, who got to appreciate it while serving time at the Omud and kept on going.

I personally started answering אמן etc. louder, as I got an appreciation of what it means to be at the Omud and feel like you're davening in a בית החיים where you can hear no feedback.

August 31, 2016, 12:23:09 PM
Vote: Keep Or Ditch Likes? Vote now and explain your vote below :)
September 05, 2016, 01:56:28 PM
Re: These likes have taken over DDF.
You've all gone mad for likes.
Is there nothing you won't stoop to for your precious likes?

September 05, 2016, 11:40:04 PM
Re: Iceland Master Thread My G-d, Svartifoss is so beautiful.

(Was just looking through my pics.)

September 07, 2016, 02:06:47 PM