See likes

See likes given/taken

Posts you liked

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 33
Post info No. of Likes
Re: Priority Club Pointbreaks Would one be able to book say 5 nights before 6/30 and then call the hotel and have them change it to august?
March 31, 2010, 08:34:48 PM
Bin Laden Is Dead! May all of our other enemies meet a similar fate...
May 01, 2011, 10:50:32 PM
Re: Bin Laden Is Dead! Who else was picturing Jack Bauer and CTU when Obama was talking about counter-terrorist agents that worked tirelessly but will rename nameless?
May 02, 2011, 12:10:10 AM
Re: What Are The Top 10 Places You've Been To? 1)   Atlantic City-Don’t remember any of it but B’H we managed to hitch a ride home. Still trying to piece together the rest of it
2)   Los Angeles- Went collecting there with a bunch of Chevra on Purim. Rented a convertible and blasted music all day. Yeshiva took a 10k loss and now gets paid by a local Baal Habus not to send guys there. Need I say more?
3)   California-Would highly recommend for anyone going to L.A. Nature is amazing
4)   San Diego-Had to show my passport to get in, but cheap beer and ATV’ing can’t be beat. Also known as Tijuana
5)   Las Vegas- Didn’t really go there but tell everyone I did because we flew over it on the way to L.A. 
6)   Hunter Mountain-Skiing+Cheap Beer=Free Snowmobile Rides
7)   ESPN Zone (Anywhere)-Not sure why, but the girls I take usually think it’s a bit much for a first date (Sore losers)
8)   Shea Stadium-Especially fun this summer when Stubhub actually paid you to go. Much better hot dogs than Yankee Stadium
9)   Montreal-Went to friends Chasuna there and learnt  French curse words. 3 speeding tickets in each direction. Anti Semites at the border told us that Niagra Falls was on the way to Toronto. Is Canada really that big?
10)   Woodbury Commons-By a small margin over Jersey Gardens (during the zman) and Franklin Mills (Bein Hazmanim)

October 09, 2011, 01:49:26 PM
Re: LSAT Review Course One of my students told me I was mentioned on this site. I teach the LSAT and am a third year student at Columbia. I started here, and I am also a Yeshivah Student.

My website is

I'll be signed in here for a bit and would be happy to take questions for a bit...

-Velvel Freedman 

October 25, 2011, 05:30:53 PM
Transferring United miles to another account Hello fellow flyers,

I am an avid reader of, but i have never participated in the forums before.

I was hoping you guys can help me with a little issue.

I would like to fly JFK-SYD-JFK next week, according to United it will cost 120k miles.

I have 2 friends that each have 65,000 miles they'd like to give me towards the flight, problem is that United only allows each member to receive up to 15k in his account per calendar year.

Can you guys help me figure this out? or perhaps a viable alternative via BA or an alliance partner etc.

(I fly long haul an average of 10 times a year but never really collected miles because i fly budget airlines mostly)


January 10, 2012, 01:27:30 PM
Don’t Forget To Say Parshas Hamon There is a known segula for parnassah for the whole year to say Parshas Hamon on Tuesday Parshas Bashalach

January 31, 2012, 12:34:44 PM
When Posting Amazon Deals, Please Make A DD Link If posting an Amazon deal I'd greatly appreciate if you can use this simple format so that I don't need to edit your link.

For these Twizzlers for example:
Code: [Select]
B000F8EUR6 is the 10 digit Amazon item number (ASIN) that every product on Amazon has in the URL.  It's also listed on every page in the product details under the ASIN field.

The DD tag is
Code: [Select]
To force Amazon as the seller the smid is
Code: [Select]
To link to any Amazon product just copy this link:
Code: [Select]
And change the ASIN to the product you want to post a deal about. 
For the Canon S110 for example it will look like this:

(Also you can search the product ASIN on DDF to see if a thread already exists.)

Thanks for posting deals, thanks for your support, and thanks in advance for helping me save some time!

June 10, 2013, 12:12:08 PM
Car Lease v. Buying Overheard: "He didn't actually buy that $95,000 car, he just leased it."

IOW: He's just paying more than half of that price for the privilege of driving it with limited miles and having absolutely nothing to show for it after 3 years.

November 02, 2013, 10:29:01 PM
Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report Barcelona

When we landed, we went to the info desk and found out that it would be 2 trains to get to the hotel, so we opted for a taxi that “should be 30”. It came out to 41€ of course. ;) We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal for 7K SPG/night for 2 nights. We settled into the room (w/ free water bottles – perk of staying at an SPG) and went down to the front desk to learn the metro. The closest stop was a bit further than it was in Madrid, but not bad – took a good 5 minutes to walk to. We were trying to figure out how to buy tickets at the station when an English-speaker saw us and helped us get a 10-pass for 10.30€. The metro was nice like Madrid and thinking about it now, it was kinda cool learning the different metro systems throughout the trip although we only got to use each one for a few days. Now I have a list of the all the things I wish NYC subways had. ;)
Funky office building outside the metro station:

We got on a train and got out near La Ramblas, which is basically the pedestrian-only shopping street of Barcelona. Unfortunately we didn’t check the weather and it was raining, so I gave my cap to my wife to protect her shaitel and then bought myself the cheesiest Barcelona hat we could find for… 7€! >:(

Anyway, we strolled down the long strip until we found Maccabi restaurant. We really liked this place. My wife got a hamburger that was full of flavor and I opted for the shnitzel, which was a bit of a weird texture but tasted good. The portions were large enough that we were full halfway through and were able to save the other half for dinner. In total we spent 28.4€ there for what turned out to be 2 meals, so you can see their pricing and portions are pretty good. I spoke to the Mashgiach here about the other Kosher restaurant, Delicias, to find out what the deal was. Obviously, you have to assume that he wants to support his own restaurant so his words have to be listened to with that in mind, but he told me that Delicias is under the Hashgacha of a Rav in Portugal and although there is a Mashgiach on premises, the Rav never comes to check out the place. As opposed to Maccabi, which has the Chabad Rabbi leaving in Barcelona. That was his argument and we ended up not going to Delicias at all. Maccabi was great and cheap anyway, so no big deal. He also told me that Lays regular potato chips are Kosher in Spain – they’re the ones in the red bag and the only ingredients are potatoes and oil.

After we ate, we headed towards our scheduled Jewish tour with Urban Cultours. After 5 minutes of waiting at the meeting point, I realized I misread the address, and we dashed over to the correct place. We found Dominique waiting with an older couple and no one was upset that we were 5 minutes late. The tour was really great. Dominique has been researching the Jewish history in Barcelona for years and is a heavy advocate in protecting Jewish areas like the cemetery that still exists. Dominique showed us the old Roman city that existed within Barcelona (I didn’t even know the Romans were there at any point) and which streets were where the Jews lived. She pointed out stones with Hebrew words that were tombstones taken from the Jewish cemetery and used as building stones, a doorpost that clearly once had a Mezuzah, the old palace where it’s historically logical that Ramban had his famous disputation in and the few other Jewish things you could still see in the streets. You also visit a basement that was most likely once a Shul. A rich Jew bought the property after historians became confident about its past, and now it’s been remodeled to look a little like a Shul from that time. A guide there gives you a brief background into the property and purchase. If you want to just visit the Shul and not take the Jewish tour, you can for a small donation. As students joining others who had already “opened up” the tour, it was supposed to be 45€ pp but when she didn’t have change, she just told us to pay 80€ and that was it – was very nice of her.

*Quick rant on Jewish tours*
As we learned from this tour and the Jewish tour in Rome, you can walk through an area that has a ton of Jewish history and not know it if you don’t have a tour guide since so little actually remains for you to see by “walking around” the Jewish quarter. So for those on the edge about Jewish tours – it seems like each major European city has 1 or 2 companies that offer Jewish tours and the reviews always seem to be amazing, so I would think it’s safe to assume that they usually will be. Your decision, therefore, is likely based on whether you want to shell out the cash for the experience. Obviously in Barcelona for example, you could go around seeing the few remaining Jewish things on your own (if you knew where to look) but hearing the guide take you back in time to those days is really the focus of the tour and these little pieces just added a nice touch to the history. That’s really what we got out of this tour as well as in Rome. It’s basically a live history lesson in the place where the history took place. Sorry for the long rant here, I was just personally debating back and forth whether Jewish tours were worth it, so I hope my explanation can help others in their decision.

It was also here on this tour with the older couple that our trip really hit us. The retired wealthy couple travelling for 2 weeks through Spain and paying probably double what we were for a Jewish tour (as well as taking other Jewish tours throughout Spain) is how travelling the world is “supposed” to be. Yet here we were, just 2 young people going through the same experience that the world has taught us is supposed to be reserved for the rich and/or retired. Felt kinda cool.

After the tour we realized that the functioning Shul, Comunidad Israelita de Barcelona, was completely out of the way from the hotel (and Chabad was even further out of the way and only has Shacharis), plus we had no idea what time Mincha/Maariv was, so we just headed back to the hotel for the night where we had the leftover Maccabi food for dinner.

In the morning, I really wanted to Daven with a Minyan (something I learned throughout the trip was not going to be an easy thing to do), so we got up early to head to 7:30 Shacharis. It was going to be like a 35 min metro ride, which would have meant getting up super early, so we shelled out the money for a 15 min taxi instead for 12.30€. We found out that the GoDaven-listed time was pretty accurate, but there weren’t 10 people there. This Shul could easily fit a few hundred people, and unfortunately, there wasn’t a Minyan. After a little while, everyone started Davening by themselves, and I was disappointed as we took the taxi and woke up specifically for Minyan but then after about 20 minutes, 3 Israeli tourists popped in and we had a Minyan! It was a miracle! Publish it in the next cheesy Jewish story book. :)

After Shacharis, we found the Kosher grocery, Isamar Kosher, down the block and waited a few minutes till they opened. There is a deli counter (not sure about the Hashgacha) and a small grocery. We’re talking the minimum of the minimum here. We picked up hamburger buns and Nutella and a few packages of mini-muffins to last us for food while we travelled out of Barcelona and through Seville. It’s always nice getting food from groceries instead of restaurants as 20€ worth of food lasted 4 meals for us. :) We had some of the muffins for breakfast and it turns out they were Pesachdik, so yeah they were kinda gross, but you eat what you can when you’re in the middle of Spain.

From Issamar, we walked to La Pedrera/Casa Mila, which is the house that Gaudi lived in and designed. (He’s famous for his architecture throughout Barcelona.) The exterior of the house is cool, but unfortunately it was covered in scaffolding (although they designed the image that covered the scaffolding to look like the façade – something we saw throughout our trip – not like it made up for missing the actual view though). We pre-booked tickets for this for 16€, but there was no line at all. We opted to skip the audio guide, as we did for most of the sites on our trip. The self-guided tour starts on the roof and we mistakenly chose to take the stairs to the top instead of the elevator as the building didn’t look too tall. There were a lot more stairs than we realized, and they were just in a small stairwell, so it’s not like you see anything cool while you walk. Anyway, on the roof you can walk around (not really any especially nice views) and see the different weird, random “structures” that are built on it. They’re funky and cool to look at for a few minutes, but then you start heading downstairs.
La Pedrera roof "structures":

Most of the tour was walking through the different floors of the house but it looks more like a museum, not living quarters. We quickly realized we were really in a Gaudi museum with exhibits on how he designed the different buildings he made. Although we didn’t have the audio guide, I don’t think it would have added much – there were enough English plaques to read – but the place was not for us. We didn’t care too much for all the detail on the architecture and were bored, so we moved through quickly. Finally, we entered a floor that was more of a living floor and they had a few rooms that were furnished olden-day style, which we really liked. After we finished, we went next door to another exhibit that came included in our ticket. The enclosed, outdoor lobby of this building was very nice – in Gaudi style – but the exhibit was terrible. It was a collection of photographs from some unknown photographer – and they weren’t very good nor “kosher”. We left after 5 minutes. That exhibit didn’t factor into our “liking” of La Pedrera, but we still wouldn’t recommend spending the money to see it unless you’re into architecture or Gaudi’s work. Maybe pass by the building to see the exterior (when it’s not under scaffolding) if it’s on your way, but yeah, we didn’t really enjoy it. We probably spent an hour there in total.

We then took the metro to Park Guell. After we got out, we had to ask around how to get to the park and were directed toward the famous (at least in the Spain Master Thread) escalator in the middle of the street. The park is at the top of a hill from the metro, and there is literally a row of like 5 escalators built into the sidewalk to go up.
Escalator in the middle of the street:

The park was free and really large. You first walk down a winding, paved path and then you’re at the bottom where you can pay to access the parts of the park that have Gaudi statues and buildings to walk through. We actually bumped into the couple from the Jewish tour here who were waiting for their entrance time to spend money and see the Gaudi stuff. ;) We passed on paying more money (and waiting on lines), as the park was nice in itself and we felt we had seen enough Gaudi in the morning. We stopped under some cool arches and had some chocolate spread sandwiches (the first of many – *barf*) and listened to some band try to perform American music with Spanish accents. ;)
Cool arches (not the ones we are under) in Park Guell:

We continued on the path which now led up the mountain and had some nice things to take pictures of. We ventured onward until we got to a fork in the road and chose a direction which turned out to lead all the way to the top where we had a breathtaking view of Barcelona. (Sorry, I realize now we only have pics of the view with us in them, so you'll have to go yourself to see what the view was like. ;)) There were a bunch of people up there and some cute dogs, and we were really glad we made it up to the top. There was a path descending the hill opposite the way we came, so we started taking it down, but it quickly turned into a dirt path. We couldn’t see any of the actual park down below, and we weren’t sure if we were even still officially in the park, so we went back up and headed down the way we originally came. In total, we probably spent about 1.5-2 hours in the park.
Artistic photo taken with my fancy DSLR that came with a built in iPhone 5 on the back:

We did not go to Sagrada Familia (as its a church so you'd really just be going to take a pic, which we weren't dying to do), but we did see it from our hotel window and in between buildings as we travelled the streets.

After the park, we took a metro to Maccabi for dinner. We ordered a steak and a tuna avocado salad to split. The steak was phenomenal. It came out as 2 pieces (which was great for us) and it was just bursting with flavor. The salad was also really good. We finished off with my wife’s favorite dessert of warm chocolate cake with ice cream, but unfortunately, it was much more cake-ier than most restaurants make it and the inside wasn’t so gooey-chocolatey. Oh well, still didn’t take away from the awesomeness of the steak. Dinner was 43€ and was plenty for 2 people. While we were eating, we had them prepare pastas for us to take with us for dinner the next night in Seville. The 2 pastas together were 19.8€, so again you can see it really wasn't an expensive place.

After dinner, we quickly debated going to Mincha/Maariv and decided not to thinking about our barely-Minyan Shacharis experience and we could only imagine how Mincha/Maariv would turn out. It was too bad that our hotel wasn’t near La Ramblas, which wasn’t near Shul, which wasn’t near the hotel, etc. We enjoyed the Four Points, but if you have the points/money to stay closer to either the Shul or “town” you would be better off IMO, which is something we learned throughout out trip. We knew that by only staying at points-hotels and by trying to stay at cheap ones that we would often be far from things, but that’s what you have to do when you go on such a long trip. If you could stay closer to at least 1 main area, then I would obviously say to do that.

In the morning, we continued our tradition of trying to return to the airport via a cheaper method, and we followed the hotel clerk’s advice to take the metro. Again, I wouldn’t suggest this if you’re travelling with a lot of luggage. We walked to a station that was a bit further than our regular metro stop (took about 15 min after getting a bit lost even with Gmaps). As we had used up our 10-pass the previous night, we had to buy tickets just for this ride. I’m having a bit of difficulty remembering exactly, but I believe that when purchasing an individual ticket, you have to pick your destination like in Madrid and a ticket to the airport was 4.20€ pp. If I remember that correctly, then it shows how getting a 10-pass is really worth it since I think it could have worked for this trip and saved you about 3€ pp. Anyway, we got on the train and were on our way. I assume that because our flight tickets were “confusing” – an AA-booked RTW on different airlines – we were never able to checkin online ahead of time, nor could we even checkin at a self checkin machine. This was annoying because we never able to find out online which terminal we needed, as you saw if you read my Madrid TR above. So, despite the hotel clerk telling us that we would need the terminal that the train drops you off at, airport workers told us we needed a different terminal that had to be accessed via a free shuttle bus. In the end, it was no big deal, but this was one of the reasons why we always tried to be at the airport 2 hours before our flight. Most of the time this meant relaxing in a lounge, but in times like this, it was helpful to have some flexibility. We waited for the bus and finally got to our terminal. This is where the story I posted above came into play.

We walked into the terminal at 7:58AM and couldn’t find our 9AM flight on the board. That’s because our flight was at 8AM, in 2 minutes, and I had misread my itinerary. I freaked out for a bit as we needed to make the connection in Madrid to Seville, didn’t know if/how much we would be charged for getting on another flight, if there was even room on another flight, and would missing a flight affect the rest of the ever-so-delicate OWE ticket? My ever-so-calm wife turned around and saw an IB customer service desk right there, so we went up to the counter and told the guy what happened. He was a bit hesitant at first and mumbled some stuff while looking at the computer and then voila! He had us on the next flight to Madrid FOR FREE and it would even get us there on time for our connection! We didn’t know for sure at the time, but b”h nothing happened to our OWE either. So yeah, thank G-d that all worked out. The flight to MAD and from there to SVQ were 3x3 seating with the middle seat blocked off. I probably said this already, but even though most flights were like that, the other benefits of flying business were really awesome – lounges with free drinks, priority checkin, priority security line, and priority boarding (i.e. guaranteed room for our carry-ons). Obviously, free bags would also be great, but we didn’t need them. ;) We found out that IB wasn’t going to get us KSMLs for the intra-Spain flights, but they did confirm that they will get us for our last IB leg on the way to Rome.

On to Seville!

July 27, 2014, 11:59:54 AM
New Here? Read This DDF Tutorial Before Posting! See Wiki above (Thanks MC)

Please edit the Wiki to make it even more useful!

July 28, 2014, 01:49:18 PM
Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report Ha, not a week later! Thanks for the feedback guys.


Even with missing the BCN-MAD flight, we got to MAD with enough time to go to the lounge, which we got quite accustomed to being there 3 times in 7 days. We had some more hamburger buns with Nutella for lunch and then we were off to our gate. MAD-SVQ was again a 3x3 plane with the middle seat blocked off. No KSML.

SVQ seemed really small and instead of looking for an information desk to find out about public transportation, we just went straight for a cab to the hotel. You should be able to guess my next words by now... Even though the hotel had told me over the phone a taxi should be 22€, it was actually 30€. >:(  :) The ride was just 10 minutes, which made it even more frustrating, but what can you do?

We checked in to the AC Hotel Sevilla Torneo for one night at 10K Marriott and then asked the front desk how to get to the Royal Alcazar. There's a bus that leaves from right behind the hotel for about 1.6€ pp. It probably took about 20 minutes to get to town and then we walked for about 10-15 minutes till we got to the palace.
Nice street in Seville - cool overhanging sheets to provide shade:

There's a huge, and I mean just gargantuan, church complex right across from the palace that alone was very impressive to look at. We continued towards the Alcazar and got in line. After about 5 minutes, someone came up to us and told us they were all part of a group and that we should just skip them. We then walked straight inside to the ticket counter and paid just 2€ each as students! Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was too late to get an entrance ticket to the "upstairs" area which I assume has the living quarters. That's one of our favorite parts of these old palaces (and the Ogden Mills mansion we visited in NY) - we love to see the furniture and all the nostalgia. But anyway, we stepped into the courtyard and looked around. They were in the middle of setting up some sort of dinner there and there was a stage set up with a large screen. Maybe all the dignitaries were coming here tonight! (Ya, sure.) There is no 1 specific way to go here (as opposed to the Royal Palace in Madrid), and with my OCD, I made sure we checked each doorway that led out of the courtyard. The first few doorways on the right side lead you into a few rooms inside the palace. Some large tapestries hung on the walls, but the rooms didn't really blow us away. Then we headed into another doorway which led into a series of large (empty) rooms that were all decorated with different Moorish architecture. The rooms were completely covered from ceiling to floor with crazy intricately carved work and mosaic tiles. Some of the rooms led outdoors to mini courtyards decorated in similar fashion.
Mini courtyard:

After checking out these rooms for a while, we find one that led outside to a small garden with some fountains. That led out back to the much larger gardens where we really began to enjoy ourselves. The first garden area was really more of like a large backyard. Most of it was just grass and trees with a few paths running through that led to different statues and some small fountains. In here we found...

Boy were those things beautiful! As we moved towards the back of the garden (which btw is enclosed by a castle wall - pretty cool) we started seeing some more fancier-looking garden pieces. There's a maze of tall bushes, but it unfortunately had a complete wall around it of bushes, so you can't try to make it through the maze. :( After that, we chose to turn towards what looked to be the real fancy garden and left the backyard area. This are was much larger and was full of long pools of water, incredible landscaping, rows of hedges shaped beautifully, etc. All the things you expect from a palace garden!
Random nice structure (I think it's just a wall) infront of one of the pools:

We had a really nice time at the Alcazar and probably spent about 1.5-2 hours there. We headed out and decided to walk around the city a bit instead of just calling it a night. We ended up finding our way to the river, passed on taking a cruise, and just enjoyed the views. Seville was definitely one of the most beautiful cities on our trip. We loved walking through the streets. When we had enough, we walked back through the city to the bus stop and took the bus (again, like 1.5€) back to the hotel. At the hotel, we ate the dinner from Maccabi in Barcelona that we ordered to go as we were eating there. We both got spaghetti with garlic and even being a day old and not warm, it was incredible! (Both pastas together were 19.8€.) We really liked Maccabi in case you can't tell. ;)

Friday morning, we took a taxi to Hertz at the Santa Justa Railway Station to get our car to drive to Gibraltar . It cost about 8€ and of course, he dropped us off in the lot for 4 other car rental companies, but Hertz turned out not to be there. We walked through the station and out to the lots on the other side and found it. Things went quickly in there except that they wouldn't honor the USAA underage fee waived deal. Instead of it costing about $145, they wanted $234 and that's what they got. :( At the counter, they said they never heard of USAA and later on I called Hertz and they made me email them my original reservation with the lower price. 2 weeks later, they got back to me and said USAA only works in America and even if the reservation went through online, the international pick-up location didn't have to honor it. Now that I'm home, I'm going to try and fight it a bit more as this happened on my Italy rental as well. The car was nice (a Mercedez!) and automatic :) and we were off! Driving in a foreign country was not the most fun but with Waze, we were able to get onto the highway and once there, I was much more comfortable. RT tolls from Seville to Gibraltar were 14.5€ and gas came out to about $32 on my cc bill although I could have sworn I paid close to 38 euro at the pump. When we got off the highway near the border, driving became more difficult. The road to Gibraltar had a ton of roundabouts and getting and out of them was a bit stressful. But more on that next!

July 30, 2014, 11:37:46 AM
Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report Sounds like Seville is really worth visiting. I've never seen anything like those sheets over the street before, cool!  Nice pictures, too.
July 30, 2014, 12:09:04 PM
Re: Where can i get it? (israel edition)
At home (in israel) we used to do the wash three times in soap and let it soak deal and we used to eat it i will find out today who told them to do that
ETA I just remembered that we used r moshe vayeh's book if he says something you can trust him 100% worth getting
Yes, past tense.  Now the only way is peeling fresh ones (and cutting in half), pulverizing fresh ones or buying frozen.  (I also don't get why frozen is ok) 

OT sort of:  Same with corn on the cob kernals.  Either checking each kernal ( ::) ) or buying frozen or canned.  (please don't ask me why)

September 21, 2014, 03:17:09 AM
My Travel Photos (SF Edition) Here we go.

Constructive or funny comments always appreciated.
Have fun !

November 03, 2014, 04:46:08 PM
Re: Did you know.... Interesting facts ...Nixon's staffers had a speech prepared in case something went wrong with Apollo 11 stranding Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon? It was discovered in 1999 and is sometimes called "The greatest speech never given".


    To: H. R. Haldeman
    From: Bill Safire

    July 18, 1969.



    Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

    These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

    These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

    They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by the nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

    In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

    In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

    Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

    For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.


    The President should telephone each of the widows-to-be.


    A clergyman should adopt the same procedure as a burial at sea, commending their souls to "the deepest of the deep," concluding with the Lord's Prayer.

February 09, 2015, 10:37:39 AM
Re: chase SHUT all my accounts
NO notice
No warning
all my chase cards are closed
went to the bank
they dont know
no real answer
paid on time
had a few cards
they suspect churning but dont say outright
Welcome to DDF. Let me show you around. I'm Yitzy and I'm pretty new here myself, but I did do intensive exploration before I dared post my first post. I quickely learned that here at DDF there are threads about everything, from where to buy colored toilet paper, to what to do if Chase closes your accounts (which we call by its sophisticated name, Chase A/A or Adverse Action). Please feel free to look around, and ask any questions you wish, but perhaps do so in a preexisting thread, preferably in the Beginners section. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your Purim.

March 06, 2015, 09:08:05 AM
Re: Stuff Your Kid Tells You me:come here you little shnook
my 2 year old starts crying hysterically
me: why are you crying sweety?!
her: I'm NOT a little shnook!!!! I'm a BIG shnook!

my four year old:Tatty...
me: yes?
her: when are you going to become a mommy?
me: never
her:oooh... so you are gonna turn into a kinderlach when i become a mommy!
me: umm.. not quite...

March 10, 2015, 04:10:14 PM
Re: Overstayed Israeli 90 day tourist visa
Only issue I had was they kept me in that little office in the back left corner for about 15 min for intimidation then let me go. They said something about being sent back on te next flight but I knew it was BS
i learnt in israel for six years, the first four years they kept on taking me to the back office & threatening me.
After four years I came in on Elal from Poland & they snapped & told me I'm being sent back, took my bags & put me in a holding room with instructions to put me on the next flight back. The workers couldn't believe that they were sending back a Jew for visa issues,

Anyway long story short it took a call to a Knesset member to get them to release me after which I had to make a visa

April 24, 2015, 10:39:23 AM
Re: Anyone famous here? Then there's always this guy.
December 01, 2015, 10:51:58 PM
Re: Faroe Islands- with a day in Manchester and Copenhagen

August 19, 2016, 05:38:58 PM
CS91's Bar trip to Asia (ICN, CNX, USM & HKG) Here goes part 1! Gonna do my best to actually finish this one but it may be a bit slow because haven't written up anything yet and I'll be quite busy over the next month between moving and starting work but I'll try my best!


A few months after I was done booking my MLE trip, I started thinking about what to book for my Bar trip in August. For those of you who don’t know what that is, most law students, after graduating and taking the Bar, book a big trip as a way of celebrating and getting away and enjoying life one last time before starting work. I knew that I wanted to go somewhere far because once I start working, even when I do take vacation, I wouldn’t really have enough days to blow two days travelling.

We were aiming for about a 12-15 day trip, and originally we were thinking about going to Hawaii and splitting our time there between two different islands. But then I realized that I’d have about a week and a half off between my last exam and my graduation in May, so we decided to go to Hawaii then for 6 days (Hawaii TR, yes, I know, I never finished it) and choose a different destination for my Bar trip.

So it was back to the planning board. I read through some TRs and asked on the Next Vacation – Ideas thread, and MarcoPolo suggested Thailand as a great place to take a kid who will be one at the time of travel, and to add a country or two on the way there and back. I went to Thailand (Phuket and Phi Phi Island) and Hong Kong as a kid with my parents and remember it being beautiful, and thought it would be cool to take my wife and kid, and see other parts of Thailand.

We originally thought of doing Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore, but after seeing SQ’s unfavorable lap infant policies (10% of revenue fair) and realizing that I didn’t have enough points for 3 seats on SQ F/R, we decided on South Korea instead (KE charges 10% of award fair for a lap infant). Now that we decided on the cities that we’d be visiting, it was time to book. I’ve read about people encountering headaches and issues when booking award travel, but I was not prepared for the curveballs that I was about to be thrown… If you're not interested, feel free to skip the flight portion as it's pretty lengthy.


Flights: Before looking for flight availability, I did a quick search for the hotels that I wanted to stay at to see if there was availability for the dates that I was targeting. Thankfully, availability seemed wide open so I started working on the flights.

The plan was to fly on KE for the JFK-ICN-CNX flights, PG for the CNX-USM-HKG flights, and CX for the HKG-JFK flight. I started with CX because I know that was the hardest to find availability on. I was lucky enough to find 3 J seats available (as expected, there was no F availability) for the dates that I needed, so I called AA to put the flights on hold. The plan was to book my seat under my account (I had enough points for the one seat), and my wife and daughter’s seats under DW’s account (she was about 20k points short, but had just hit the bonus on her Citi AA Plat. card and the statement was closing two days later so I thought I was good). More on this later. Once the CX flight was on hold, I looked at KE availability, and found two F seats (Kosmo Suites 2.0) available for the dates that I needed, and called them up to put that reservation on hold. Side note – every airline should strive to provide customer service like KE. Their reps are extremely pleasant to deal with. After just a couple of minutes on the phone, the reservation was on hold so I got to work on the PG flights. That’s where I encountered my first curveball.

I looked on EF and found availability that would be bookable through FB for the two PG flights. After being reminded by D93 (this is going to be the first of many times that he gets thanked in this TR; to say that he came in the clutch for me while booking this trip is an understatement) that MR to FB transfers are instant, I decided to wait until FB confirmed that they could book the flights before transferring. I picked up the phone, called FB, and was told that two days ago FB got a notice from PG that they were terminating their relationship and therefore they couldn’t book the flights. Bummer. But I decided to so some of my own research. I googled and googled and found nothing about this apparent termination. I then looked on FB’s website and it said that they are affiliated with PG. Time to HUCA! So I called back, landed on a representative who saw the availability and put the reservation on hold for me and told me to go ahead with the transfer. Score, right? I saw the reservation on my end under my login, and the rep told me that he had to put me on hold for a minute but that I should go ahead and transfer in 40k points to my FB account. I logged on to Amex, input 40k, was about to click transfer, and for some reason, and I have no idea why, I didn’t click. I decided to wait for the rep to come back on the line so that I can confirm that everything is set one more time. After a few minutes, the rep came back and the first thing that he said was “please tell me you haven’t transferred the points yet!!!” I told him that I hadn’t, and he said that while I was on hold, the system didn’t allow him to go to the next step of booking it and when he inquired why, he was told that the relationship had been terminated and the flights weren’t bookable. I dodged a bullet, but now I had to figure out how else to get this booked.

So I did some research, bothered D93 a bit more :), and learned that AB, CX, EY and JAL were my other options of booking PG flights. I had a lot of MR points and not that many extra SPG points, so I started with the first three choices. AB couldn’t find availability (can’t search for the type of fair that these airlines need to be able to book on EF), CX was impossible to get a hold of and partner award bookings need to be done by submitting a form and waiting 7-10 days for an answer – no thanks. Before trying EY, I decided to give JAL a call and see how many points it would be and if they could find availability. I landed on an extremely nice rep named Erica who was able to find availability on the flights that I needed. She told me that because of the current promotion, both flights combined would be 10k JAL miles per person (they use a distance based award chart), but that unfortunately she wouldn’t be able to hold the flights for me. So I decided to transfer 20k SPG points to JAL and keep my fingers crossed that there would still be availability once the points showed up in my JAL account.

While waiting for the JAL transfer to go through, I went back to ticketing my CX flight. Problem was, the 5 day hold was expiring on Shabbos afternoon (the day after New Years), and while DW’s Citi AA statement had closed and it showed that she earned the points, the points had not posted to her AA account within the standard 24-48 hours. I called Citi on Thursday night (New Years Eve) and they said it could take up to two weeks, so I called AA and they said that they were experiencing delays because of the Holidays. So I thought about what to do and then I remembered that somewhere deep in the Citi AA thread, someone had reported that AA allowed them to book a flight and have a negative point balance because they conferenced in Citi who confirmed that the points were en route. So I called back AA, landed on a rep who knew about that process but informed me that in order to do that, they needed the help of AA Customer Service who was closed until Monday morning because of the Holidays. I tried getting them to extend the hold, HUCA’d countless times, but kept getting the same answer – they can only do such things on AA flights, not partner airlines. So I had two options: A) release the hold before Shabbos and hope that it goes right back into inventory, or B) let the hold expire on Shabbos afternoon and then log on right after Shabbos and hopefully the seats went back into inventory and haven’t been scooped up yet. I didn’t like my chances with either, so I went back to my savior, D93, and Whatsapp’d him on Friday morning (15 minutes before Shabbos for him) and asked him if he’d be so kind to log on to my wife’s AA account after Shabbos was over for him, and if the points posted to have it ticketed (I gave him my cc number), and if the points didn’t show up, to release them and see if it went back into revenue. He said that he’d be happy to help me out and that he’d let me know what happened after Shabbos. Needless to say, I was sitting on pins and needles all Shabbos, and right after Maariv, ran to my phone, opened Whatsapp and saw a text from D93 saying that the points hadn’t showed up, but…he released the hold and the tickets went back into revenue!!! New 5 day hold to work with. Phew! So I waited until Monday when customer service would be open and called and asked to have me account in the negative once Citi confirmed the points were on the way. I HUCA’d and HUCA’d (at least 15 times) but nobody knew what I was talking about and I was ready to throw in the towel. I decided as a last attempt, I’d call Citi to see if there was anything that could be done. I called Citi, told them the situation, and they looped in AA CS. AA CS told me that they didn’t see the points anywhere but that they’d make a “special” exception and let me ticket the reservation anyways and go into the negative because Citi confirmed that the points were earned. Finally!!!! In order to do that, they looped in Advantage reservations, who looped in a supervisor (at this point there were 5 of us on the call) and after about an hour and a half, the tickets were on request! I honestly thought about making a Kiddush ;D.

The next morning, I woke up, checked my JAL account and the points had shown up! I picked up the phone, called JAL, landed on Erica again (!), and booked the PG flights. All that was left was to contact PG directly to add the lap infant to the reservation. PG isn’t reachable by phone unless you speak Thai so I sent them an email and took care of it all that way. (About a month later, once I had recuperated from the AA fiasco, I finished the KE booking that I had on hold.) Finally, thanks to a little luck, a lot of persistence, and D93 being my savior, the flights were taken care of!

Hotels: Once the flights were taken care of, I took care of the hotels. I called SPG and booked the LM Chaing Mai for 6 nights (base room), and then called the Sheraton Samui and booked a base room there for 5 nights.

Then I called Hyatt to book the Hyatt TST in HKG, and of course, the hotel was booked and there was no more award availability. I flaunted my Diamond Status, told them that because there were base rooms available for revenue bookings that they had to let me reserve it on points according to the T&Cs, and after pushing them a little, I got a supervisor to book me into the room and confirm my reservation.

For our hotel in ICN, it took me a couple of weeks to decide whether we should stay at the new Hyatt in Incheon which is supposed to be beautiful, or at the Grand Hyatt in Seoul. Pro of staying in Incheon would be being able to take advantage of the free tours that KE offers, and pro of staying in Seoul would be the better location. After talking it over with a friend who’s been to Seoul many times, we decided on the Grand Hyatt Seoul for a few reasons. 1) better location if we just wanted to walk around at night, 2) if we stayed in Incheon and wanted to actually see a decent amount of Seoul, we would’ve had to do two of KE’s Seoul tours which would have been a lot of bus rides back and forth between Seoul and Incheon, 3) doing two of KE’s Seoul tours wouldn’t have left enough time to see the DMZ, and 4) most DMZ tours provide pick up from your hotel in Seoul which is convenient.

A couple of days after I finished booking the Thailand hotels, the bonuses for our Citi Hilton Signature cards (75k each) posted, and I decided to look and see if the Conrad Koh Samui was available for the dates that I’d be there. It was, so I quickly applied for the Citi Hilton Reserve card (we were booked to be in USM for Shabbos) and kept my fingers crossed that it would still be available when the certificates posted to my account. Why not go for gold, right? Fast-forward a month and a half. Free night certificates from Hilton Reserve card posted to my account so I called up and booked us at the Conrad Koh Samui for 5 nights and cancelled the Sheraton Samui. Once I got the points back for the Sheraton Samui, I called back SPG and upgraded to the Executive Suite at LM Chiang Mai. NOW we were set!!

Total Cost
JFK-ICN on KE F (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 199,500 KE Miles + $501.59 YQ
Grand Hyatt Seoul (1 Night): 1 Anniversary Night
ICN-CNX on KE J (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): Included in above mileage and YQ
Le Meridian Chiang Mai (6 Nights–Executive Suite): 44,000 SPG Points
CNX-USM on PG Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): 20,000 JAL Miles + $247.50 YQ
Conrad Koh Samui (5 Nights): 2 Free Weekend Nights Certificates + 228,000 Hilton Points
USM-HKG on PG Y (2 Adults + 1 Lap Infant): Included in above mileage and YQ
Hyatt Regency TST (2 Nights): 1 Anniversary Night + 15,000 Hyatt Points
HKG-JFK on CX J (3 seats): 165,000 AA Miles + $167.28 YQ

Total Dollar Value of Flights and Hotels: $50,783.93

August 31, 2016, 10:20:23 AM
Re: CS91's Bar trip to Asia (ICN, CNX, USM & HKG) Day 1: Flight to ICN and Tuesday Night in Seoul

As I mentioned in the planning section, I was booked to fly KE F from JFK to ICN in KE’s KosmoSuites 2.0.

Because our flight was a few hours after Tisha B’Av, we drove from PHL to Long Island on Tisha B’Av afternoon and the plan was to break our fast at DW’s cousin’s house and then go to the airport (we left our car at their house). About 5 minutes before we were going to leave to the airport, news broke that there was a shooting at JFK Terminal 8. Fantastic. I went to JFK’s website and it seemed like only the flights out of terminal 8 were being cancelled, and since we were flying out of terminal 1, our flight seemed to still be on. I called KE to make sure, and they told me that the flight was on schedule, and that I should go to the airport because if I missed the flight, it would be my fault and they would charge me to get on to another flight. So we packed into the car and headed to JFK and figured we’d see what the situation was. At first everything seemed clear, but then as we veered off towards the exit for terminal 1, we saw that it was bumper to bumper and traffic was at a complete standstill. We waited a bit, but everyone was just confused as to whether or not the airport was in a total lockdown or not. No cops to direct traffic or anything. After about 35 minutes (there wasn’t even anywhere to turn around), cops finally came and diverted everyone out of the airport because they said that the whole airport was being shutdown. I called KE as we were driving back to DW’s cousins house, and they started telling me that it’s my fault if I miss the flight because the flight was still 100% scheduled to take off at the normal time.

When we eventually got back to DW’s cousin’s house, I called back KE and told them that I wanted to be placed on the 2pm flight the next afternoon. The supervisor told me that until I officially miss my flight or it’s cancelled, she couldn’t do anything. At that point, I was honestly so pissed off (especially because by then it was announced that there wasn’t actually a shooting), I told the supervisor that I wanted her to hold 2 seats for me on the next 5 flights out of JFK to ICN, or else I’d lose it on her like she’s never seen. (I know, a little harsh, but I was starting to get really depressed. I planned this trip 9 months out, and it’s one of the things that helped me to keep pushing while studying for the Bar. So the idea of the trip being ruined was devastating to me.) She responded by saying, “yes sir, I’ll do whatever you want,” and proceeded to place 2 seats on hold in F for the next 5 flights out (I wanted all the holds because I didn’t know when JFK would resume normal operations so I wanted the first flight out). So I basically had about $100k worth of flights being held for me ;D. Turns out in the end my original flight was cancelled and JFK just did an incredibly poor job communicating with the airlines. After getting confirmation of the holds, I went to sleep for a few hours and when I woke up in the morning, I saw that JFK was back to normal so I called back KE to have the seats for the 2pm flight confirmed. The 2pm flight is on an A380 so that meant KosmoSuites 1.0. Because of the flight change, we were now scheduled to land in ICN at 5pm on Tuesday instead of 4am, which meant that I had to cancel the DMZ Tour that I had booked for Tuesday morning. Oh well.

Anyways, we eventually made our way to the airport, and when we checked in, the agent at the counter right away realized that because we had changed our reservation, we weren’t guaranteed kosher meals but immediately made some calls and told me she was doing everything she could to get us our meals. (We brought along sandwiches just in case.) I also had them check two of our bags all the way to CNX and one of them just to ICN so that we didn’t need to shlep all 3 of our suitcases into Seoul when we didn’t need them. After check-in, it was off to the lounge. The KE lounge at JFK is nothing special. There are separate sections for F and J so I only saw the F part. Had a bit of food and some drinks (alcohol and non), but although underwhelming, definitely a better place to sit and wait than the gate.

Model of KE's A380 at the entrance of the lounge:

What else do you do while you wait for boarding  ;D

It was eventually time to board, so we headed to the gate. When we arrived at the gate, our daughter was sleeping in her stroller so the gate agent offered that we could take the stroller on board so that we could quickly transfer her from her stroller to DW’s lap so she hopefully stays asleep which I thought was really thoughtful and nice. They also held up everyone else from boarding while we got settled in so that we didn’t feel rushed (the stroller was blocking the aisle). This was our first F experience, and wow, the seats are HUGE compared to J.

Amenity Kit and Bose Headphones

Gianfranco Ferre PJs – VERY comfortable

The seat configuration in F on KE’s A380 is 1-2-1 so we had the two middle seats, and the gate agent told us that she was giving us seats in the third row because the two single seats on either side were empty so we could use those for our daughter (another nice thoughtful touch; most airlines would probably say that I can’t use an empty seat in F because I didn’t pay for it).

Our daughter ended up waking up during takeoff so we chilled a bit, gave her some lunch/dinner, and then put her to bed in the empty seat. Although I was really looking forward to trying Kosmo 2.0, the configuration on the A380 was a lot better for flying with a kid because I was able to keep an eye on her while I was watching a movie etc. instead of having her in a closed suite.

Once our daughter was sleeping, I went upstairs to check out the onboard bar. I didn’t take a picture of it (left my phone at my seat) but here is a picture that I found online.

Stairs to upstairs

There is also a small bar for F passengers

The flight was overall really enjoyable. DW and I each slept about 6 hours, and I think our daughter slept for about 10-11 hours (she’s incredible on flights). The FAs were amazing. They offered to watch our kid if we both wanted to sleep (though we didn’t take them up on it) and were constantly coming over to talk and play with her (not in an overbearing way). The one time our daughter cried, two of them came over and gave her ice cream and a teddy bear (which she happens to love) and made her laugh. Overall, the service was amazing and I would love to fly KE again. Even if I wanted to critique something I don’t think I can.

After landing in ICN we got our bags and went to the KE Limousine (bus) stand to buy tickets for a bus ride into Seoul. They have different bus lines which stop at different hotels, so I told them we were staying at the Grand Hyatt and we bought two tickets for a total of ~$32 USD. The bus came a couple of minutes later and from when we left ICN until we pulled into the Grand Hyatt was about 1:10. We thought about taking the train into Seoul but I don’t think it would have saved us any time because the train takes you to Seoul Station and then you still need to take a taxi/subway from there (and it’s more expensive).

Drive into Seoul

We got to the hotel and checked in at about 7pm and dropped our bags in our room and had a quick bite to eat. The hotel room was small, but decent looking, clean and definitely did the trick for just one night.

Hotel's pack and play with a miniature blanket and pillow :)


We then decided to go to the North Seoul Tower, which is basically a lookout point over the whole city. It’s only a 5-minute drive from the Grand Hyatt so we took a cab from the hotel to the cable car and purchased tickets to take a cable car ride up to the tower (you can either take the cable car or a bus to the tower; no taxis are allowed up there). I don’t remember the exact price of the cable car, but I want to say that it was somewhere around $15 USD for two people (return). The line was a bit long, but when we finally got to the top where the tower was, there were some really nice views from the lookout points.

North Seoul Tower

View from outdoor lookout point

There’s also an option to take the elevator to the top of the tower, so we decided to do that. I think this was another $20 USD for two people. The top has an indoor lookout, kind of like what you have in the Freedom Tower in NYC – a big circular room with windows all around. You have incredible views of all of Seoul. It’s really a massive city and beautiful to look at. The windows were pretty dirty and it was hard to get a good picture because of the glare but here is what the observation deck looks like.

When we were done taking in the nice views, we went back down to take the cable car down to catch a cab to the hotel, but the lines were incredibly long and our daughter was getting a bit cranky so we decided to take the bus. Problem was, I needed cash for that. Lesson learned – NEVER leave a foreign airport without taking out cash. I knew this, but for some reason got lazy in the airport and thought to myself that the hotel definitely had an ATM machine (which it didn’t, because the lobby was under construction). There was no ATM around the lookout, and the convenience store by the lookout didn’t have one either. I tried asking the clerk to charge my cc for the amount of cash that I needed, but he barely understood what I was saying. He ended up telling me it was okay if I bought something for the amount that I needed in cash, which I didn’t understand because he ended up basically giving me free cash (or free bottles of water depending on how you look at it), but whatever. The bus finally came, but I didn’t know which stop to get off so I asked the bus driver which stop to get off so that I can hail a cab. I don’t think he understood what I was saying because he motioned for me to get off at the first stop, which after getting off and finally finding something who speaks English, was told that it’s a hard area to catch a cab from. Luckily, a cab drove by a few minutes later so I flagged it down and had him drive us to the hotel. A bit of a struggle, but we made it. All part of the fun, right?

By the time we got back to our room, it was a bit past midnight and we were exhausted. We slept until 3am when our daughter woke us up (jetlag) but finally got her to go back to sleep after watching some Daniel Tiger.

September 02, 2016, 01:15:48 PM
Re: Comments That Leave Me Speechless... Erm...
September 06, 2016, 09:23:00 AM
Re: Apple iPhone 7 Event Annouced
is this a joke??

Are you seriously asking?

September 08, 2016, 10:45:42 AM
Re: BOGO Tuition Scam If this thread (or many other DDF threads) were reenacted in real life this is how it would sound:

September 08, 2016, 04:06:04 PM
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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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
Re: Movies
Tom Hanks won my heart in Forrest Gump. I would watch anything with him in it

September 14, 2016, 01:27:01 AM
Re: You might be a DDFer if... It takes you hours to update your new address with all your banks, airlines, hotels, etc. when you're moving  >:(
September 18, 2016, 09:21:13 PM
Re: Stuff Your Kid Tells You Some funny stuff :)

September 19, 2016, 09:20:42 PM
Re: $140 - Hewlett Packard Officejet Pro 8720 PHOTO printer Wireless All in One Thanks, ordered one for my daughter.
September 20, 2016, 06:01:28 PM
Cleveland Master Thread
I've had mixed experiences there, sometimes it'll be really good and fresh with a generous serving and sometimes the food will be lukewarm, soggy and small. When they get it right it's pretty good though, definitely a welcome addition to Cleveland's (non-existent) kosher restaurant scene IMO.

September 21, 2016, 01:41:25 PM
To all of you! שנה טובה ומתוקה

Hope Google didn't fail me.

October 02, 2016, 10:03:40 AM
Re: Amazon-$20.65Charmin Ultra Strong Toilet Paper, Bath Tissue, Mega Roll, 24
36 count for $20
36 count X 198 sheets = 7,128 sheets
24 count X 308 sheets = 7,392 sheets

October 06, 2016, 08:19:48 AM
Re: 2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread
He has an cult of zombies that will follow anything he says as the truth.
By saying he doesn't accept and fighting the will of the majority he can literally start a civil war.
Meh. Stop drinking Hillary's kool aid

October 19, 2016, 11:14:58 PM
Re: DDF Members Sukkah Pictures
Because that's their minhag. Do you ask why about everything you do in yidishkeit?
Yes, and your entitled to.

October 23, 2016, 02:55:13 AM
October 30, 2016, 12:43:30 AM
Re: 2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread

Let me translate, for you: Other people don't know what's good and right, I really do, so I'm going to make sure that everyone follows what I believe to be right, whether they like it or not. And those "minorities and gays", oh they are different, they need special help.

BTW, if you think about it, ARROGANCE = כפירה.
You don't see how that is condescending?

You should: a. choose your friends carefully, b. consider going off FB.

You don't see how that is condescending?

November 09, 2016, 03:18:24 PM
Re: 2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread Winners and Losers

Trump - pulled off a stunning win that even most supporters didn't think was likely. And his bank account will only grow now.
Conservatives - completed the trifecta, by gaining a majority in the House and Senate
Michael Moore - his spot on prediction from months back predicting which states Trump will win, the only one that predicted he had a wide path
Scott Adams - For never swaying that Trump was going to win, from beginning to the end
Nate Silver - Stayed true to his data and didn't get sucked into the liberal narrative, predicted that a Trump victory was not unlikely. Repeatedly said that HRC 3 point lead was not safe at all
NYT realtime projections - Boy, were those tracking tools accurate and exciting to watch
Alt-news orgs - given how badly the MSM was this election, both by creating narratives that no one cared about and colluding with the DNC, this was a major win for those that give an alternative view
America - proved that we don't need to vote for the establishment
The crow industry

HRC and the DNC - They treated her election as a forgone conclusion, and disenfranchised many voters by colluding against Bernie and still losing
GOP - Didn't get behind Trump, but yet Trump drags them to victory. The leaders are not in control
Mainstream media - for completely dropping the ball, for getting sucked into the cycle of their own narratives without trying to pay attention to the actual voter class. Oh, and for getting caught colluding.
Pollsters - Almost all of them were off by 2-3%, which ended up being the difference
LA Times - Despite giving Trump the lead, they were the least accurate poll, missing by 6 points
Slate - What a disastrous load of crap
JTZ - Let's put a fork in this dude

Thoughts and additions?

November 09, 2016, 04:20:05 PM
Re: Avatars
Well once they are there I have to know what everyone chooses.
 Hmmm, well I'd get one to remind you of me, but this is a family site ;)

Maybe use a grandfather clock.

November 10, 2016, 02:18:38 PM
Re: uberPOOL in NJ $3 tomorrow 11/11 You couldn't pay me to take an uberpool
November 10, 2016, 02:50:29 PM
Re: 2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread
One of us is experiencing cognitive dissonance. Here's why I think it's you.

He said "they let you do it." The imagery I get from that is that, as a famous person, he can be more forward and take more risks than other people because he's pretty sure he won't be rejected. I don't see any indication that, if he does get rejected by a woman, he would continue touching her against her will.

Even the women who've come forward say he touched them "without permission." Most socially normal people don't ask permission first. They look for signals. He interprets signals more often than regular people because he gets them more often than regular people.

I'm warning you to stop. Just stop. You don't have to defend sexual assault to explain why you support Trump. You can support Trump for any reason you want. Even just for the hell of it. I'm fine with that. But for the love of G-d, please do not force yourself to rationalize sexual assault. Walk away from this one.

"They let you do it" should send chills down the spine of anyone with a mother or a daughter or a sister or a wife. "They let you do it" is a sentiment completely lacking the slightest comprehension of the emotions of another human being. It doesn't matter if it's wealth, power, or fame, or a knife to your throat, "They let you do it" is not a defense against being labeled a total user but the very definition of it. Can you not see that? "They let you do it" is the defense of every child molester who grooms his victims rather than bashing them in the face and raping them. "They let you do it" is the defense of every frat boy who had sex with a drunk girl. "They let you do it" is the defense of every producer in Hollywood who uses aspiring actors for sex.

Sorry to be so blunt.

November 16, 2016, 10:32:17 AM
Re: 2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread

None of this stuff matters anymore. Wake me up in 3 years.

You have a spare room in your cave that I can use?

November 16, 2016, 12:47:23 PM
Re: Domino Sugar, Granulated, 25-Pound Bag - $10.61
Lol, my worst part about Costco.

Checkout lines on Sunday suck as well, at least in Brooklyn. Then again, lots of things suck in Brooklyn :D

November 16, 2016, 01:00:11 PM
Re: Discussion of DDMS Posts/Deals
exactly. except this is the one my local store sold me for yk...

November 22, 2016, 09:50:44 AM
Re: Mazel Tov!!! davidmal

100 HT's

November 25, 2016, 10:14:28 AM
Re: Trump-Republican tax plan bad for large families
I've been shouting this from the rooftops in the poisen thread.
Trump is horrific for our community. Not to mention benefit cuts that are sure to come.

Didn't stop the yated from endorsing him, and the vast majority of the community voting for him like sheep.

All Jews are rich. What's the big deal? Cheap too?

November 27, 2016, 02:11:28 PM
Re: Recommendation For Good/Safe Shabbos Hotplate/griddle They sell these now

There's a video you can watch as well

November 27, 2016, 08:14:06 PM
Grabber Outdoors 7 Hour Hand Warmers [1 Box of 40] – ONLY 11.93 +FS LEOA!
even cheaper with S&S.

Nov 29, 2016 05:04 AM   $11.93
Nov 28, 2016 07:23 PM      $20.02

PS @davidmal I was going to write "HOT" in the topic figured I'd wait for the comment.

November 29, 2016, 12:14:09 PM
10 Years Later - im here to say thank you Dans family ,I'm here to say thank you for all the money you've saved over the past 10 years.
I dont think ive ever commented nor been here on the forum but now after my baby, i'm going to be home more often so maybe just maybe will be on here more often.
So I'd like to make my debut by thanking everyone behind this site!

November 29, 2016, 11:26:43 PM