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Re: joke for sheva brachot
It should have to do with...inlaws...

Q:  What do you do if you miss your MIL??

Well, maybe not all that appropriate ;)

February 06, 2011, 10:40:58 PM
Re: joke for sheva brachot A man tells his friend he's thinking of divorcing his wife.
"We just don't communicate anymore. She hasn't spoke to me in weeks."
"Think it over," his friend advises. "A woman like that is hard to find."

February 21, 2011, 03:27:55 PM
Helicopters $10.50 with Missle Bomb must buy fast!
amazon $10 helicopters

December 31, 2013, 12:23:09 PM
Re: Helicopters $10.50 with Missle Bomb
when do you ever find a heli for $10 shipped!!!
@davidmal do you know davidmalcohen the op? if one of the two of tou know the "guy" who selling this poj helicopter tell "him" he will get a lot of returns. must buy tell him fast

December 31, 2013, 04:58:53 PM
Re: Sub-forums: a solution to the "master thread" madness? Maybe... We should have a thread in 'Start Here' with all the Master threads?
July 28, 2014, 07:38:56 PM
Re: Upcoming SPG Hotels
Can't be. Because the W is being built by Daniel Libeskind.

Oh ok, because the King David would be a perfect fit for the W brand

November 10, 2014, 11:13:37 AM
Re: Best Frozen Pizza
I love the Macabee frozen pizza bagels.
yeah but you have to let them completely defrost before you make them otherwise the outside will burn and the inside will still be frozen.

January 16, 2015, 12:33:53 AM
Re: How To Pronounce DO? What Does It Mean?
Have them take 500 from me and give them to you.


Seriously, though, why shouldn't posts in this board count? JS, I can understand - it's a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding. But DO posts are useful, constructive conversations, just like GD or even Trip/Destination Reports. So why don't posts on this board count?

April 01, 2015, 12:36:15 AM
Re: Sports Teams With Kosher Food Stands
Anyone know what type of kosher food they have at jet games?
Depends where you are seated. The stands have hot dogs, knishes and i believe chicken nuggets and pretzels. There is a little more selection in the Chase and Toyota clubs. If you have access to MetLife 50 or the Coaches Club, they have hot dogs and other hot food (similar idea to legends at Yankees).

November 12, 2015, 02:12:00 PM
Mrs. Hvaces42's Surprise London Birthday Adventure So I figure I’ll give this TR thing a whirl. First time TR so bear with the lack of proper captions and photo formatting issues. And away we go...

With my wife’s birthday fast approaching (and it being a very significant number, 21, of course) I was stumped as to what gift I could possibly get the woman who has everything. Jewelry, what woman needs more jewelry? Clothing, eh, a closet full of clothing is more than enough. Fancy restaurants and surprise parties, old hat. Hmmm…Dan’s Deals Twitter Notifications to the rescue!!!

BA’s Business Class Sale came at the perfect moment. My wife and I hadn’t been overseas in 5 years and the last time we were, we transited through LHR without exiting the airport. The initial sale notification didn’t really get my attention. Then the pay with Avios information started filtering in and this began to look like, and actually turned into, a steal.

I was sitting on a pile of Avios after having been F/R’d by Amex and having to choose wisely between the programs I would transfer my soon expiring MR. I chose to transfer a chunk to my already sizeable Avios account. So the 60k Avios were really a drop in the bucket compared with the $1,700+ in airfare that it saved me.

After signing up for AARP membership, I quickly booked the 2 seats on BA’s latest flight out on Motzei Shabbos, her actual birthday, returning Tuesday evening on the latest BA flight out of LHR. Only after I was booked and confirmed did I realize that I could have reserved on AA’s 77W and still made it on Motzei Shabbos or pushed the return to Wednesday, but I guess you live and learn.

Now came the planning stage. As this was to be a surprise birthday trip plus I needed to work out some kinks and a high level security clearance list of people who could help me pull this off. In addition, we needed hotel, food, work schedule adjustments and child care arrangements.

My schedule is flexible and not much of an issue. Mrs. Hvaces42 on the other hand works weekends and per diem so I needed to make sure both her employers could have coverage for the days she wouldn’t be here and that she wouldn’t be asked to come in per diem on the days we would be away. Took care of that with both her workplaces.

That being covered it was time to do some research. DDF Destination and Trip Planning Forum is an invaluable tool. Additionally, being that so many people had taken advantage of the BA sale, including Dan, it was great to see itineraries in progress.

Based on the recommendations I got, it was a choice between the Hyatt Regency Churchill and the Andaz. A quick check of the Regency website made the choice easy. They were under construction. Who wants to deal with that? So the Andaz it was. (I couldn’t be that far off because the Rebbe Reb Dan also considered the Andaz ) I tried to see if a DSU was available but there was none and I held no hope as it was a holiday week and the regular rooms were actually selling out fast.

Transferred 25k UR to Hyatt (I know, poor use of UR, but I don’t have any Hyatt points or Chase Hyatt) and booked a Points + Cash booking for a King room 12.5k per night plus £99. After booking the room rate dropped had some more buyers remorse for using the points, but what was done was done. Around Thanksgiving Hyatt had a 15% off sale on Certificates. I purchased a $300 certificate for $276 on my Capital One Venture card, hoping to use it to pay the cash portion. Used 27,600 Capital One points to erase that certificate purchase.

Contacted Hyatt Concierge through Twitter to see if we could get room upgrade in celebration of Mrs. Hvaces42’s birthday. Was not promised anything. Contacted the Andaz Concierge directly via email and gave them the rundown of what I wanted to do for the birthday including flowers and kosher cake. They suggested I order cake directly and have it delivered. They provided me with the option to purchase flowers for £25, which I found very reasonable so I ordered through them. Andaz Concierge was very responsive and helpful even though they screwed up after the fact.

Next it was figuring out what we must see and what we could get away without seeing. I modeled my itinerary on Dan’s with some modifications for the short nature of our trip versus his 5 days and kid-friendly itinerary.

This is what the final itinerary looked like. Of course it changed upon arrival but it gave us some guidance.

Sunday 12/27:
Arriving at LHR 9:30am Pickup from LHR
Private Driver to Windsor Castle.
Driver to take bags to Andaz Liverpool Street
Underground/Train to Golders Green
Dinner at Kaifeng 
Underground to Andaz.
Monday 12/28:
Tower of London  and Tower bridge.
Lunch 1701 at Selfridge’s
British Museum
Emirates Air Line Cable Car
Dinner LaFiesta.    

Tuesday 12/29:
Underground to Changing of the Guards tour
London Eye
Churchill War Rooms
London Dungeon
Underground/Train to LHR 7:30pm Departure

Finally, some loose ends needed to be tied up; cell phone, food recommendations and transportation.

I spoke with Sprint and they have a phenomenal plan which charges $0.20 per minute of talk and unlimited 2G data included in my plan. They offered me a plan with 500MB of 3G data for $50, but I declined. Andaz offers free wifi and leaving four kids at home we were able to Skype and Whatsapp call with them from the hotel and communicate regularly throughout the day using the phone when we needed to do so.

After some fits and starts regarding food recommendations and even a nice suggestion from some DDF users to cancel my trip because I was frustrated with Bevis Marks closing and other poor food reviews I just picked a few choices and figured I’d give the birthday girl her choices of where we would eat.

DDF user ZOW was kind enough to send me some Oyster Cards pre-loaded with a few pounds each which are required for entry (and exit) from the Underground. I did some research and couldn’t figure out how to load the cards online as it required activation by “tapping” in at an Underground station. I figured I had enough on each card to get me where I wanted to go. Then I learned that there is a maximum charge that you can be charged per person each day when using the Oyster card on the Underground. So I was basically good to go.

Lastly, I needed a driver to pick us up from LHR and take us to Windsor Castle, bring food, fetch the surprise birthday cake from Stamford Hill and drop the cake and our luggage at the hotel. Every one of my English friends had a driver for me, until I needed a phone number?!?!? I finally got one who wasn’t available on that day and he referred his friend who was very competent and helpful. He charged us £100 plus disbursements. I asked him to bring sandwiches as well as rolls. He only brought us rolls. Otherwise he was prompt and got the job done. A bit of a steep price, but a reliable, frum, driver to deliver my luggage, which I was not going to leave to an Uber driver.

We left JFK Terminal 7 on BA 0114 which is “Sleeper Service”. We checked in and were directed to the Lounge Dining Room where we were served pre-flight dinner. I think this was very smart as it maximized the amount of time we could get to sleep on board.

The meal was Borenstein standard business class food. Not too great. The appetizer was some kind of cold fish dish, which is not something I would eat anyway. My wife tasted it and it was dry and tasteless. The main dish was a very tasty chicken in a bbq type sauce. It was filling.

As it was Motzei Shabbos we left a bit later than we normally would have so we didn’t take in the full lounge experience including the free Elemis spa and showers, which we took at home.         

We flew on a 777-200 with a 2-4-2 configuration in J. We sat in seats E-F middle seats of the 4 seats. The seats did not have aisle access but one aisle seat was empty so it wasn’t too bad. The seats were comfortable and we were quickly asleep. I slept for most of the flight, my wife not that much.

Davened on the plane. Had a quick breakfast of fruit (nothing else offered). We were given landing cards and Fast Track Immigration entry. Had a quick immigration and customs experience and we were out in no time. Driver was waiting so we couldn’t use the arrivals lounge and wanted to get going.

We left for Windsor Castle right away. The weather was a bit drizzly, but not too cold. We arrived in Windsor in 20-25 minutes. The left side driving was a bit disconcerting to me.
IMG_1298 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1295 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1292 by hvaces42, on Flickr
St. George’s Chapel

IMG_1291 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1289 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1286 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1287 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1283 by hvaces42, on Flickr

At Windsor Castle we waited on line for tickets for about 10 minutes. The tickets were approximately £25 each adult. You can rent headsets for an audio self-tour. We didn’t but it definitely looked worthwhile. There is a full airport style security check after you buy tickets before you get in to the actual castle.

The Castle is one of the official residences of the Queen. It is actually used by the Queen regularly. The place is basically a museum that the royal family gets to live in. Artwork, china, room after room of unbelievable excess. As an American it was eye-popping. Everything is old and regal. Obviously there is much more but here is a taste.

20151227_120200 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_120135 by hvaces42, on Flickr

One of the highlights is Queen Mary’s Dollhouse. You are not officially allowed to photograph it so the pictures I have are all low light cell phone shots taken surreptitiously. The detail in the dollhouse was astounding. From the perfectly packed linen closet to the miniature Rolls Royce’s parked in the garage.

20151227_113310 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113309 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113149 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113120 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_113105 by hvaces42, on Flickr

Seeing the Queens Guards standing guard was a welcome surprise. They look like dolls off in the distance until they started marching. It was really cool to watch them. The march every so often without the benefit of looking at their watch and no clocks in sight. St. George’s Chapel is one of the most magnificent buildings I’ve ever seen.

IMG_1304 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1303 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_122458 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_122238 by Hvaces42 hvaces42, on Flickr

We spent approximately 2 hours at Windsor Castle. We left the castle grounds and checked out the touristy shops right on Castle Hill. We actually bought some English wool scarves which were rather decently prices at 2 for £20. You can buy souvenirs in the many shops there. I found that the best souvenir shops were in Terminal 5 at LHR. 

At that point, my wife having basically missed a night of sleep I made an executive decision and changed the plan from taking train and bus to the Andaz to trying out Uber for the first time. I ordered an uberX which quoted at £41 - £55. The wait was about 9 minutes and the driver called us when he had an issue finding us. He showed up in an older Ford minivan but it was clean and the driver was friendly.

The trip back took us through central London past Parliament Square where I got my first look at Big Ben, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. We arrived at the Andaz in a little over an hour. Total Uber charge £46.34 which translated to $69.26 (£1 = $1.4946) on my Capital One Quicksilver card. I always thought that the 20% off Uber on Quicksilver was for USD charges only. I was surprised to get a $13.85 credit. So that trip cost me $55.41, a bargain for that length of trip.

We got the Andaz and checked in. This began our birthday cake saga. The Andaz has this fluid check-in desk with computers on both sides of a conference table in the lobby and concierge associates milling about the lobby. Its very awkward as you dont know where to stand during the check-in process.

So the associate we got had no brains whatsoever. Chatty, flamboyant, flirtatious are a few of the choice adjectives I’ll use for this family friendly site. He’s just talking up a storm and casually tells my wife, “oh I see from the notes here that there was a cake delivered for you, Happy Birthday”. Surprise ruined!!! Oh well.

He did upgrade us to a “Large King” room which wasn’t too large but we didn’t need much of a large room anyway. Having ruined the surprise I asked him to send up the cake right away and the flowers I had ordered through the hotel. We went up to our room on the 5th floor which had views of a courtyard.

Andaz Lobby by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_140421 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_141259 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_141256 by hvaces42, on Flickr

20151227_171227 by hvaces42, on Flickr

IMG_1379 by hvaces42, on Flickr

We relaxed for 2 hours and then decided to go to Golders Green for dinner. Still no cake to be seen.

To be continued very soon…       

January 07, 2016, 11:25:00 PM