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Re: PSA: Don't swipe recklessly for others
What type of issues? They usually take their time, for any questions just create a ticket.
finally got them to reply

July 22, 2020, 05:19:15 PM
Re: Stocks
anyone  in for Microsoft?
Are chances high for them buying TikTok

August 04, 2020, 02:20:28 PM
Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR The water club run by Ocean provides the snorkeling gears for each villa, we called on our first day to get them deliver and they were with us during the whole stay. The hotel offers also two items to press for free for Diamond members upon arrival.

Every day, between 4 to 5 PM, they have complimentary drinks at Peacock alley for Diamond members. On the 1st day, they brought us a platter of fruits, and I could've ordered any drink from the complimentary menu as much as I wanted. Not many people were there the first day, and there was a couple from Cuba playing music. I met the 1st day, at the happy hour drinks, an American couple from Texas, they were the only Americans there, and we chatted about Hilton points, safety at the hotel and FlyerTalk blog. There was there a young waiter from Vietnam that kept bringing us drinks, he was extremely friendly with us, and we saw him another few times during the stay.

Since there are lots of restaurants with different cuisines, and not all of them are open the same day, the staff from various dining venues will also work in other bars/restaurants during the days they are closed. Locals will not serve or prepare drinks usually since it's forbidden by law. Hotels in the Maldives must bring foreign workers for this job.
On Monday night, when we arrived at our villa from Amber, we met our butler Shiam that was waiting for us to arrive. He told us that the next day (Tuesday) there would not be electricity nor water running in the whole resorts between 12-5 Pm... We were shocked and upset to hear that our luxury hotel will run into such problems. He explained that this is maintenance they must do; otherwise, the hotel will not be able to function appropriately in the future. To compensate us, the hotel will set up unlimited free food and drinks at the main pool for all the guests. I told him that this would not make us happier since we can't eat the food, and maybe they can compensate with a credit towards our room folio for activities that we will spend anyway at the hotel. He told me that he will speak with his manager to see what he can offer.
The good thing about coming to the Maldives from another Asian country is that you don't have any jetlag. I wasn't able to sleep correctly though; I was in an adrenaline mood full of excitement for the total 72 hours we were there. I slept only 3-4 hours each night and wasn't tired during the day. It was a long-prepared vacation that not only didn't disappoint but made me feel the happiest person on earth. I was able to upload a lot of content to my IG stories during the nights only because I didn't have time for it during the day.

Tuesday morning we planned to do some water sports. We dropped our daughter at the Kid's club where a designated BBsitter took care of her. As mentioned before, children younger than 4 need to be with their parents at the kid's club or pay the BBsiting fees. We wanted to book two activities at the water sport . The first one was Jet Ski, and I was thinking going for the Seabob. They explained to me that the seabob is only in the resort's lagoon, and if I want to go into the ocean with it, I need to rent the speedboat on top of it. They were so desperate for some business that they were ready to give me 50% off on the speedboat price, but it was still not worth it for me. They told us that this is the high season, and right after the chineese new-year, and were expecting to be very busy but because of the Chinese ban in the Maldives they didn't have many booking for that week (and they got the same feedback from Ocean's employees at other resorts they operate).
We decided to do the Jet Ski in the morning and Night snorkeling that night. We went for an hour guided Jet Ski ($350++), the guide in the first Jet, and me and DW in the second. We first went to a small sandbank right outside the resort to take some pictures, and the went for a fast drive in the deep ocean. It wasn't my first time on a Jet Ski, but it's not like Jetskiing on the beach/shore at all. When the sea was utterly dark blue, which means deep water, the water was rough and it was a fun drive. The water kept changing color every other mile. We passed through lagoons, 'buried islands' and other resorts. At one point, our guide told us that the resort in construction in our right would be the Ritz Carlton.

At one point, when I was going a bit too fast, I made a wrong turn to the right, and we have swept away with the wave. We fell to the water and I lost my Go Pro mounted to my head. DW and I weren't injured and besides the Go Pro lost, it was a fun experience. (My Jetty renters insurance refunded me the Go Pro a month later). After an hour, we arrived back at the resort exhausted and went to pick up our daughter on our way to the villa and catch the last shower before the blackout. It was really nice to ride a Jet Ski with my wife in the middle of the ocean, something I was waiting to do for a long time and was on the top of my 'to-do' list.

Shiyam called me on the way and let me know that the hotel would like to offer us the Spa booked for the next day, to compensate us for the blackout, (a $440++ value, +30 minutes for free for Diamond members). We already had a reservation made two weeks prior to arrival for the Spa, so the offer for the free Spa was really appreciated.

Earlier at breakfast, I spotted a guy with a cap wondering around the fruits and juices, I knew he deserves a Sholom Aleichem, so I went to say 'Hi'. @shauly wasn't embarrassed to see a bearded Jew with his kippa in a small island with less than 50 guests, and was even smiling at me 8). We chatted a bit, and he told me that he has some CY milk and salami in his room, and since he's leaving that day, he will be happy to give them to me. So after we got our shower before the 'Sof Zman', I took my bike to go to his Villa. From Villa 129 to 713, I needed to cross the whole resort, but biking on the island was my favorite activity.

I took pictures of the resort on my way there.


Stella Maris Villa.

Halfway there, next to the arrival pier, I met Camille, @shauly's Buttler, we spoke in French about the hotel, the Maldives, Kosher food and more. @shauly was all packed and ready to go in his (dark) villa, without AC, and waiting for his buggy. He gave more food than I could've eaten, but he probably felt good not to throw it away...

After our daughter's nap, we went to the main pool area where everyone was supposed to be for their free food and drinks. It's funny that all the guests together looked like a small family as there werenít many guests in the hotel in general. Se sat at the pool and took drinks and fruits.

All the guests were in a good mood, and that was the most important. I don't know what and if the hotel offered to everyone, but they for sure did an excellent job of fixing the issue they had. At one point, I saw another DDF'er sitting not far from us, but he wasn't in the mood of a L'chaim together, so I didnít bother him and went to chat with the elderly couple from Texas. After an hour there, they came to announce that power was back! It was only 4 PM and the all episode wasn't bad at all. We had a good time that afternoon and a free Spa treatment scheduled for the next day.

We went back to our Villa and got ready for a family photo shoot. The photoshoot itself + 1 printed picture is free, but you need to pay to get the pictures. We weren't sure if we'll buy later the photos depending on how they will come out. We ended up paying for 30 pictures the next day, (but only because it came out cheap for me thanks to the Aspire credits). As much as family's pictures on a tropical island look lovely, a lot of hard work needs to be put in it to keep the child happy and entertained, especially when it's boiling hot. The photographer was patient and got us really nice pictures.

At 8:30, we had our night snorkeling booked ($90++/PP). A BBsiter came to our villa, the same one our daughter had in the morning, a lovely lady from the Philippines. She was taking care so nicely of our daughter, and we were able to leave the Villa peacefully.

When we arrived at the diving center, it was closed and no one was there. I called Shiyam so he can find out why no one was there. After 20 minutes, 2 persons from the diving center arrived and they apologized for the misunderstanding. It turned out that she didn't understand that morning at the water sports center that we confirmed the night snorkeling. Haru is from Japan and her English isn't perfect, but she apologized and promised that weíd have a good time. As goodwill, her manager offered us the underwater camera for free, and she offered to take the pictures herself. They also took off an hour and a half of BBsitting from our bill.
Snorkeling at night is very different than during the day, you will not see much fish because your flashlight is focusing only on one spot, but you can see other fish that come out only at night. The experience is also different and more interesting. We got our snorkeling gears and a diving flashlight. We stayed in the water for longer than an hour and we saw a lot of fish. The best part was the turtle that came towards us, and our guide captured it so well. She told me later that she would like to be a National Geographic photographer for marine life; she does have stunning pictures on her Instagram page.

All the following pictures are from our snorkeling guide.

August 20, 2020, 11:07:57 PM
Escape to Croatia We just returned from a fabulous trip to Croatia. There is very little information here, so I figured this would helpful, especially considering that they are one of the few countries that Israel allows entry from without quarantine (with a 14 day stay).

Some background info:
We normally plan our summer trips several months in advance. Obviously, this year, everything was on hold and we were unsure if we would be able to go anywhere, let alone leave the country, but I was holding out hope.
At a certain point, Croatia opened their borders with a tourist visa requirement. We got excited for a minute, but they got so flooded with entries that they closed the applications the very next day.
Towards the end of July, we decided to face reality and start planning a domestic trip. We settled on Washington State and began planning. About 3 weeks ago, we were just about to finalize our Washington trip, when we heard that Croatia had reopened their tourist applications. We decided to try our luck, and to our jubilation, we got approved instantly!
We immediately began planning. As someone who revels in spending 4 months planning a trip, this 1-week deadline would prove to be a fun challenge!


- Croatia require tourist applications to be presented, which we were able to obtain easily online.

- They require a negative COVID test from within the past 48 hours. Since the PCR tests take a few days, we took rapid tests the morning we left. Upon landing in Croatia, we presented the rapid test results and were told they are not acceptable, and we would need PCR tests to enter. There were a few stressful moments, but eventually the agent spoke to his manager and allowed us entry. I assume it depends on which agent you get, but if doing it again, I would probably get a PCR test (they make 24-hour tests) and maybe a rapid as well.

- Most of us have had the virus and have antibodies, so we werenít too nervous. I myself felt the safest that I ever have while traveling. Iím normally a bit of a germaphobe when flying and always wipe down my seat and area and take vitamins before and after. This time, the plane felt cleaner, the airport bathrooms were being cleaned in between each use, and in general it felt a lot cleaner.

- We were officially required to wear masks the entire flight. The way there we flew Aer Lingus, and they were pretty relaxed about it. I took my mask off or pulled it under my chin while I was in my seat and just put it on when getting up. No one seemed to care. The way home we flew Air France, and they were definitely a bit stricter. They would not allow me to wear a bandana, or my friend to wear a cloth mask, and instead insisted on surgical masks (unclear why surgical is better than cloth but will not attempt to understand).  They also took our temperature before boarding, and in general were more uptight. I also pulled down my mask in my seat on the Air France flights though and no one said anything, though my friend did get a pillow thrown at her from a fellow passenger when her mask slipped down  :).

- Politics aside, the whole thing seemed a bit ridiculous and nonsensical. While on line for airport customs, or on the jet bridge, there were bright stickers on the floor and they were urging us to maintain 6 feet distance, while a mere 5 minutes later, we are herded and stuffed like cattle onto the plane.

- The planes were pretty empty (especially the flights to and from the US), which was nice as we were able to get full rows to ourselves.

- We were required to fill out forms from the CDC upon entering the US, and our temperature was taken when landing in JFK.

- While in Croatia, it was quite relaxed. Zagreb was a bit more cognizant, and most stores asked for masks when entering, but thatís about it.

- We met one other American couple while we were there. August generally is high season and itís usually unpleasantly crowded. We appreciated that we got the country to ourselves, but it was a bit sad and eerie to see how empty it was. Several local drivers and people in the tourist industry told us excitedly that we were the first Americans they were seeing this summer.

To be continued.

August 28, 2020, 09:56:23 AM
Maldives - Waldorf Astoria Hi all -

My first trip report - with how helpful the site has been to us, the least I can do is contribute a little something back.

The original plan was for us to spend a week in Bali for a friends wedding, so we decided to add another week onto the vacation since it's so far from Chicago, and added a week to the Maldives.

ORD -> MLE Qatar QSUITES on AA 70K per ticket
MLE -> DPS Paid cash
DPS -> ORD Turkish business through Aeroplan (bought miles during their sale earlier this year)

Then COVID hit, and the wedding got postponed to next year. So we decided to keep the Maldives portion, and added on Bodrum.

ORD -> MLE Qatar QSUITES on AA 70K per ticket (transferred from Marriott)
MLE -> IST 40K AA in Coach (no business availability)
IST -> Bodrum $35 cash
Bodrum -> ORD Turkish business through Aeroplan - 55K (bought miles during their sale earlier this year)
Bodrum Edition for 7 nights, using cert from @leeboy (who was fantastic, and let us cancel it - so if anyone needs a category 7 marriott 7 night cert, I would be happy to have you take it off my hands)

Then my wifes work informed her (after we had taken off) due to international travel, we would have to quarantine for 2 weeks after we got back. So we cancelled the Bodrum portion, and frantically from Doha airport rearranged the trip.

ORD -> MLE Qatar QSUITES on AA 70K per ticket
WA for 6 nights (used 4 nights of points (unable to get 5 consecutive nights to use free night), 2 certificates)
MLE -> ORD Etihad business through Aeroplan - 75K (bought miles during their sale earlier this year)

We got so lucky that Etihad had availability.  In the Maldives, we were staying at the WA and we extended our stay by a night to get on this flight. We had to pay ~$500 to get PCR tests for the both of us.  We were lucky to have a DDFer sell us a free Hilton night, and the WA had no standard rates available, but since we were already there, they were kind enough to open up one more night for us.

They typically have 16 rooms they make available via points every night, just for reference. They also upgraded us to a OVW with living room, for no extra charge.  We are Hilton Diamond through the Aspire credit card.

The service at the WA was just incredible. We hadn't mentioned it was my wifes bday, but our concierge noticed when they did in room check in, and had a nice decoration as well as a cake for her without our prompting. Every night there was fresh juice and a small dessert in our room (as well as all the other rooms). We also enjoyed the Diamond amenity from 4-5 PM - free drinks only. There was also the breakfast that was incredible every morning.

The Qatar flight was incredible as well.  It didn't seem all that different from pre-covid.

Waldorf yacht

Waldorf room/grounds

September 11, 2020, 11:33:17 AM
Re: Who Will Win The 2020 Election?
Biden wins in Nov.
Trump resigns on Jan 1 2021
President Pence pardons all the Trump's Etc.
President Biden will be deemed (By Dem's) incapable soon after Feb 2021
Hence........... President Harris 

Just Thinking !!!!!!!
Why can't Trump pardon himself?

October 12, 2020, 02:48:00 PM
Re: Skydiving When I hear skydiving it reminds me of my friend

First attempt- friend who is supposed to go with couldn't make it due to getting sick

Second attempt- missed the train 🚆

Third attempt- two weeks after he bought his new car, on his way there the car flipped five times! Landing upside down!

I don't think he's going skydiving anytime soon!

October 14, 2020, 04:53:20 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel
Watching these videos is by far the saddest thing in Jewish history. Jew against Jew. EOS. May hashem forgive us all.

Maybe you should change your username for the time being

October 15, 2020, 04:38:43 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel
If you think for a second this is the majority opinion in Israel you would be mistaken. There are a select few individuals in the police force in Jerusalem and other few locations that behave like this. It is not the norm. As you can see here in this video of another Charedi wedding in the North the cops behaved like humans.

Select few? Have you been living under a rock all these years?

October 15, 2020, 06:38:10 AM
Colorado 4 day budget Road Trip Planning: Honestly, not much planning has gone into this trip. Less planning, low expectations, high reality. Our goal was to reach as many scenic sites as our time limit allows, and not to be rushing the whole time. I mapped out a circle starting from DEN, then to Vail, to Aspen, to Crawford, to Canon City, to Colorado Springs, back to DEN. Flights were all booked a week before departure with UA basic economy (all on my mileageplus card) prices were about $100 round trip.

Hotels/Airbnb: Day 1 I booked Evergreen Marriott's StreamSide at Vail, while other days we'd figure out on the way.

Food: I went shopping erev YT at Bingo we bought more than enough food, lunch would be Deli, while Dinner would be BBQ every day.

Day 1: Flight was from PHL Monday morning at 8am 1 day after Succos. [Fun not so fun fact: One of my friend's thought he checked in, only to find out at TSA that he wasn't checked in, by that time it was too late, I'm not totally sure what happened, but they gave him a 4:30 flight. We picked him up later that evening which I'll explain later]. I had to pay for 1 out of 2 checked bags since my companion wasn't on the same reservation. I thought I'd stop in the UA lounge, it was closed, oh well. Departure and arrival was on time, I went to Hertz PC while my friend went National EE. Hertz and National's lot were full of great cars. I stepped into a Yukon XL while my friend found an Expedition MAX, so we went with the Expedition since it had more room.

Stop 1 was at Walmart, we bought a grill, sandwich maker, and a few other items we knew we didn't have to buy at home. We then headed to Bluemoon Brewery. I'm a big beer lover, and everything I had was delicious, they also had a self guided tour which was cool.

Next, we headed towards RMNP. We stopped at Estes Park Lake mainly for the views, but also to tovel all our items we just bought.

RMNP had timed entries, I booked a few days before for 2pm, we came at 4pm, they didn't really care. We then headed west from Fall River up to Trail Bridge Road. The views are outstanding, we saw a couple of Elks and Moose on the way. We were on Trail Bridge about to head to our next stop, Vail, when we came across road closure (I believe because of the wild fire). Ouch! Vail was about 1 hour away, while this road closure meant we had to head all the way back down TBR towards Denver about 2 hours out of the way, Gam Zu Letova.

We then headed back south right where we came from. We made a stop at Bear lake for sunset, picked up our friend who missed his flight, stopped at a local park to grill, and then headed to Vail.

I asked at check in at Evergreen Marriott's StreamSide if they could give me an upgrade. Her response was "all villas are full and you are the last person to check in". Our 2 bedroom villa was pretty nice anyway with lots of space. I highly recommend this for any one coming with 3-4 kids. Price was $202.

Day 2: We left the hotel at 12pm headed towards Aspen. Google Maps claim the 82 by Independence Pass was closed but it was just one phone call to find out it was open. The drive to Aspen is outstanding. We also stopped at Turquoise Lake. Independence Pass was scary, 2 feet off the road there's a 10,000 foot cliff!


The colors in Aspen at this time of year were also amazing. We arrived at Maroon Bells Shuttle at 2:50pm just in time to make the last bus. [Maroon Bells shuttle tickets are $15.95 per person which has to be booked about 3-5 days in advance]. We had about 2 hours in Maroon Bells which was a nice and quiet walk around the gorgeous scenic lake.

5pm we went to a local park in Aspen to grab some lunch. We then drove southwest to Crawford and BBQed in Crawford State Park. Check in was at an Airbnb in Crawford. I'm a little embarrassed about this part of our trip. We booked this place at 2am without realizing that it was someone's house, she happened to have been super nice, and gave us a full private basement with a pool table, dart board, ping-pong table, etc. if not for the 100s of 5 star reviews I doubt I would have stayed here. Overall it wasn't a bad experience. Price was about $90.

Day 3: We left the house ASAP at 10am and traveled 20 minutes to the North Rim of the Black Canyon. We drove around the rim and stopped by every view. What more can I say other than pictures don't do justice.

We then headed towards Canon City with a small stop at Curecanti National Recreation Area. We arrived at Royal Gorge at about 5:30pm. Although the park and bridge closes at 5pm, we drove up a dirt path nearby to give us just the perfect view for sunset.

We then checked in to an Airbnb in Canon City this time it was really nice. We BBQed at our place. Price was about $150.

Day 4: We left the house about 11:30am and drove towards Colorado Springs. [We decided not to do Sand Dunes since it would take up the whole day] We made a quick stop at Quail Lake Park, and arrived at Garden of the Gods about 1pm. We walked around G.O.G. for about 3 hours.

The next 2 hours was just driving around (thinking maybe we should have Sand Dunes lol). We then drove to Tru by Mariott which is 10 minutes from DEN. I asked for an upgrade at check in, she said "there's nothing available at Tru but Homewood which is attached has nicer rooms" she switched my reservation to Homewood which would have been $75 more. We went swimming, BBQed at the patio, and played pool. Price was $100. Our flight was 8am, this time United Club was open (very unimpressed though). Arrived at EWR Friday at 1:30pm.

Overall Experience: One might say we did too much driving, I disagree. Driving was the best part of our trip. One view after the next, it's endless! I now dream of the views every night. Make sure to do the driving during the day.

Cost Per Person:
Flights: $100
Hotels: $110
Food and Food Prep: $132
Car and Transportation: $80
Gas: $35
Parks: $24
Total: $481

October 21, 2020, 08:39:23 PM