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AJK's YVR Surprise: A TR by His (Much) Better Half Without further ado, as promised, I introduce my wife (with limited explanatory comments from me throughout):

The week was a busy one.  I had four people coming for dinner Friday night and an additional four stopping by for dessert. AJK had mentioned the previous week that he may have a huge surprise in store for me on Saturday night.  [I told her to expect it on Saturday night so as not to have her inspecting my every move in the days leading up to the actual surprise.]

Though he offered me some hints, I refused, as I was pretty certain that he had booked a nice hotel in the city for us to go to.  The week was made crazier by the fact that AJK seemed completely overloaded at work.  He came home every night no earlier than 11:30 and some nights even much later than that.  He seemed completely out of things and seemed to be on his computer and phone at every moment.  However, this is not an altogether unusual occurrence during the busier weeks, so I dismissed it completely. [I was busy at work so that I could get everything done by Thursday afternoon so I could leave for the weekend.]

Although, I normally would do all my Shabbos shopping on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, this week AJK offered to do it with me when he got home from work on Thursday night. While I appreciated the offer, I knew that it would mean doing all my cooking late Thursday night, so I tried to graciously say that I could do some of the shopping without him so at least I could start my cooking. After all, I didn’t want to discourage this display of husbandly help but I definitely didn’t want to be up till two in the morning cooking. In response, AJK seemed very disappointed at the suggestion, so figuring that he must really want to go to the grocery store, I quickly backtracked and said that I wouldn’t dream of going shopping without him. [I offered to go shopping with her to ensure she wouldn’t start cooking for 8 guests she wouldn’t end up having!]

After a long day of running errands on Thursday, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on the couch.  At about 6:00 p.m., AJK walked in the door and seemed particularly excited for our trip to Shop Rite.  Completely taking me by surprise, AJK announced that I needed to quickly pack a bag because instead of going to the grocery store, we were going to a lodge in upstate PA for the weekend—a place we had once been before for an extreme zip-lining course.  I was completely floored.  I wasn’t expecting any sort of surprise until Saturday night.  My first response, though, was that it would be pretty awkward when our 8 guests came over the following night and no one was home.  I was promptly informed that all of our guests had known we were going away since the past Sunday and none of them were expecting to come to us.  [Each time my wife invited someone, I immediately left the room and uninvited them with the explanation of what I was planning.] I was dizzy with excitement.  I love surprises and this was a big one.

Apparently, as AJK explained, he had found a deal coupon for the penthouse of the lodge which had three floors, was recently renovated, had an indoor and outdoor pool and usually cost $3000 a night.  AJK went further and added in some details such as telling me that lots of wealthy people from Long Island rented out this penthouse for their families when they wanted to get away. I rushed to pack for our little getaway. [I made this lodge part up, with all its attendant details, to get my wife to pack for the weekend without thinking we were actually leaving the country.]

As AJK was putting his things into his duffel, he nonchalantly mentioned, “You know what we could do? If you want, we could stop by JFK on the way to the lodge and watch some flights landing and taking off.” While this may sound to some people like it has the entertainment equivalent of watching paint dry, to us, this is a really fun night. [During the weeks prior, both of us had discussed going to an airport for this activity, so I knew it wasn’t going to be that much of a stretch to get her to go along.] Both of us love planes and, according to my husband, there is a very cool lounge past security with a great vantage for watching the large jumbo jets land and take off.  He also said that, in order to get access to the lounge (which is past security), he had booked one-way refundable tickets to Hong Kong. Then, when we were done watching the planes, we would just leave the airport and he would cancel the tickets.

AJK was quick to tell me that if I wasn’t up for it or was too tired we could just do this activity a different time.  [Rule #1 in surprises: make it seem like their idea!!]  It sounded really neat, so I assured him that I was up for it.  I told him that I would pack everything for the weekend and then we could just leave it in the car while we went into the airport to make things easier. [This comment I did not anticipate and therefore didn’t plan for, but I had to think quickly on my feet.] “Actually,” AJK responded, “the security agents may get suspicious if they see people travelling internationally without any luggage, so let’s just bring our bags in with us so we don’t get stopped.” [Yes, this is a bunch of baloney, but I needed some excuse to have my wife believe we needed to take our baggage through security with us.  My wife would love being surprised, but would not love it if she had no clothes while AT the surprise!]  I was so excited that I thought that made sense, so we finished packing, got in the car, and we were off to the lodge with a quick detour through JFK.

We arrived in JFK and got on the Air Train from the parking lot to the airport, but were dismayed when it stopped after just one stop, and the conductor announced that it was undergoing construction and passengers would need to transfer to bus service to the airport.  I was quite carefree and kept remarking to AJK that it was lucky we didn’t actually have a flight to catch that night because otherwise this detour could be quite stressful. [Little did she know! Meanwhile, I had been checking my watch constantly.]

After much chaos of packing onto a bus, with what seemed like hundreds of other passengers, and having it crawl at the rate of a handicapped snail to every single terminal, we finally arrived at the Cathay terminal.  We walked to the check-in counter where I was quite nervous that they would catch on that we weren’t actually planning on flying to Hong Kong that night. However, the ticket agent just handed us our boarding passes and pointed us towards security.  At security I was very relieved that they didn’t choose to question us about our one-way, refundable tickets and we walked right through and straight to the lounge.  In the lounge, AJK explained that when they called our flight we would have to leave the lounge and pretend to go the gate.  In the first class lounge they personally inform you when your flight is departing so it’d look rather suspicious if you accept that information and then continue to sit there sipping on your ‘livit 15 on the rocks.  About twenty minutes later, we heard the boarding call for flight 889 with service to Hong Kong.  We reluctantly headed out of the lounge as we had just been informed that we could have Kosher food made for us by the Executive Club chef!

As we walked out, instead of leaving the airport as I thought we would do, AJK mentioned that we should go to the gate and let them know that something had come up and we wouldn’t be on the flight.  Apparently, because the refundable tickets he had booked were in first class, they would repetitively page us and may even hold the plane for us until we showed up, especially since they knew we were in the lounge at one point. [I had to tell her something to get her to the gate!]

When we got to the gate, AJK simply handed the boarding passes to the gate agent...but made no mention of us not getting on the plane!?  :o

I discreetly asked him what he was doing, and he responded “I’m really desperate to see what the first class cabin looks like on Cathay Pacific,” he said. “Let’s just go on quickly, look around and then I’ll tell them I had a work emergency and we’ll get right off.” At this point, I was incredibly nervous about that idea. I mentioned that I didn’t think they would refund our tickets once we actually checked in for the flight, and I was also petrified that they wouldn’t let us off the plane once we got on and then we’d be the proud owners of $10,000 first class, one-way tickets to Hong Kong. [I told her, “Don’t worry, first class passengers can do whatever they want—even get off the plane if they need to. Ha!]

AJK, however, seemed gung-ho on this idea and quickly started off down the jetway. While I’m up for any adventure, I wasn’t certain this was a smart one, but I dutifully followed him. I did, however, mention that should his idea to get off the plane before take-off fail, I was going on the record that I had warned him against this course of action and would not be held responsible for us ending up in Hong Kong.

As we got on the plane and took a left to first class, no fewer than three flight attendants descended on us and started offering us drinks and warm towels.  I, however, clutched onto my coat and carry on as they tried to take and stow it.  I kept darting nervous looks at AJK as he gaily snapped pictures of the first class seats (which are the size of small sofas), and the area around the seat (about the size of 4 regular economy rows).  Then he actually sat down, allegedly to “see how the seats feel.” As the flight attendants hovered about, I whispered out of the corner of my mouth, “Now! Tell them right now that we have to get off this plane.” He begged me to just sit down, to try and enjoy the experience before we had to get off the plane. Then, my worst fear was realized: the pilot’s voice came on announcing that we were about to pull back from the gate and my heart stopped.

“AJK!” I whispered furiously, “let’s go right this second!” I gripped my coat and bag and charged into the aisle. At that point, he grabbed my arm, pushed me gently into the seat and says, “One second, we’re actually going to Vancouver, which is the stopover this flight makes on its way to Hong Kong.” My heart actually stopped then. I was floored. My brain couldn’t even process this change in plans.  Three hours earlier, I had been asleep on my couch. Then, I had accepted that we were going away for the weekend. And now, instead of being trapped hostage on a plane to Hong Kong we were actually willingly on that flight and going to Vancouver one of my favorite cities in the entire world….what?!

AJK was almost delirious in his smugness at having pulled off the greatest coup known to mankind. He had actually gotten me on to the airplane without me knowing that we were even going anywhere. Apparently, he had been planning this feverishly for the past week. The whole charade of feigning nonchalance about whether I even wanted to go to the airport was a piece of acting that definitely deserved more than a nod at the Oscars. I collapsed into my oversized sofa-seat as the fluttering flight attendant buckled me in. I sat there for a good few minutes just trying to process what had just occurred.

A few moments after take-off, when I had finally collected my jaw from the floor of the airplane, the flight attendant asked if we would like to eat dinner at AJK’s seat or mine. Now, if one is not accustomed to flying in first class this question might make no sense at all. However, the way the seats are situated in first class, they open up a table in front of the main seat and there is another seat for a guest across the table. They set our table for us with proper linens and brought our meals.

Now, there is a certain look that comes across the face of every flight attendant forced to serve kosher meals in first class. It is the same grimace someone would give if they were forced to make up a futon for someone staying in the penthouse at the Ritz. It is the grimace of someone who is serving frozen, slimy, half-baked food, wrapped in so many layers of saran wrap you need a machete to get through it, to someone who ostensibly has paid $10,000 for the privilege of being served in your first class cabin. You can tell they are embarrassed to be giving this to you for dinner, and they try everything in their power to try and make it more appealing for you. They beg to serve it on their china, or they place napkins in your lap and bring you wine glasses.  Or, in this case, they just bring you so much Jonny Walker Blue Label that they are hopeful you won’t notice that you are eating prison food while the person across the aisle from you is having filet mignon, lobster bisque and Dom. [I think I may have finished half a bottle of Blue Label by the time dinner was done. Though, I must say, the Kosher meal JFK-YVR was of the best Kosher meals I’ve had on a plane.]

After having a lovely meal across from each other, looking out the windows at the sparkling lights 25,000 feet below, the flight attendants offered pajamas (designed by a famous Hong Kong tailor no less), and escorted us to the first class bathroom. Upon returning to our seats, our whole area had been converted into a flatbed made up in beautiful linens and the lights were turned to a calming glow.  The beds were wide enough for two people to sit next to each other and therefore were quite comfortable when you were sleeping on it. Once lying flat in bed, your television screen could pop out of the wall and be angled for optimum viewing. [An amenity sorely lacking on LH’s 744 in F with a separate bed.]

We both slept for a few hours [me hoping I wasn’t going to have a hangover] and when we awoke it was time to land. While in the bathroom changing out of our pajamas, the flight attendants unmake your bed and clean up your area before your return. As the plane slowly glided into Vancouver International Airport, I was sad that the flight was over but filled with unspeakable excitement at being in Vancouver.



Couple of points:

1) I hope you enjoyed, and 2) No, my wife doesn't call me AJK ;)

February 16, 2013, 10:28:55 PM
1
Re: A quick getaway to the "Red City". A cliff notes TR of Marrakech. In the morning I went to check out Ben Youssef Madrasa, Its a tremendous 14th century Islamic school. The history didn't interest me as much as the ancient and intricately detailed architecture.







Decided to go for a camel ride as this guy we found hanging around the corner near the hotel looked cute and irresistible, dont you think so?





Jemaa el-Fnaa is a cacophony of lights, sounds, and smell. This is the main town square where hundreds of vendors and thousands of people crowd every day and night. Night and day are two different experiences, going shortly before sunset should help you experience both.
Dozens of food carts and pop up restaurants sell all sorts of grilled edibles and spices



(and non really edibles)





while countless juice carts all selling the same product vie for your business.





Colorful water sellers



and costumed entertainers roam the area somewhat aggressively looking for handouts while monkey abusers and snake "charmers" stage photo ops for a couple dirhams.





There are  other creatures too.



Acrobats, fire eaters, and boxing shows all compete for the crowds and tips.
Seasoned storytellers hold ever growing audiences rapt while they give over tales of traditional legends.



There are games such as this where you have to hook a bottle with a ring on a fishing rod. The reward is the bottle and the cost to play is more than that.



And then theres this guy who simply has a scale and a flashlight.



He looks old and wise though so i'm sure he has a plan.

I told myself I wasn't really going to spend any money or be conned into buying something I dont need, but somehow I walked out of there with a full goat skin/fur that felt and smelled straight off his neighbor Ahmeds goat. Its a year later and after trying every option to get rid of the odor it now smells like Febreeze, Dr Scholls, leather treater, bleach.....and freaken goats!

Too be continued....

December 05, 2016, 03:06:41 PM
1
Iceland, London, and Paris July 2019 Day 1- Monday

Landed about 7am at KEF (Icelandair) and picked up a rental car from Blue Car rental. We went straight out to begin the Golden Circle.
Now one thing I have to say, I know Something Fishy says always add 30% to Googles drive time but I found the times accurate unless of course you are hunting for that perfect photo and intend on pulling over constantly (which I imagine SF did after seeing his stunning pictures).

Golden Circle included the following:
Thingvellir- walked up to oxararfoss ( being the first waterfall on our trip it was nice. Had it been the last it would’ve been boring), walking in the Almannagja canyon and down what they call the “walk of death”. This is where people who were sentenced to death used to walk to be executed. I think I heard someone say that there was a Game of Thrones scene filmed there. Not that it matters.
Oxararfoss:
 

Geysir- was funny to see hundreds of people lined up with cameras to catch the moment. We stayed about 15 minutes and saw it erupt about 5 times. I thought it was cool. As you drive there, do not park in the large lot on the right where everyone else is turning in. That’s a tourist center, gift shop, restaurant. Keep driving another 300 feet or so on the left side is a small lot with no real signage. This is the closest parking spot to the geyser.



Gulfoss- This is very nice and large but it isn’t Niagara. Here also, I avoided the larger lot where there was a lot more traffic and took a right at the fork to the lower lot about 3 minutes before the regular parking lot at the top of the falls.



Faxi waterfall- Its nice and to think it’s off the side of the highway is cool but not worth the stop/ parking fee of 700 kronas. I wouldn’t make this stop seeing as there are so many cooler waterfalls in Iceland.
Kerid- Parking/entrance fee is 400 kronas. Not worth the stop unless you are bored and need a stop. I don’t remember there being a bathroom there. Should’ve listened to SomethingFishy AKA Iceland’s Minister of Tourism.

Overall, Golden Circle is something to do if you have extra time to do it or if you don’t have much time to get further from Reykjavik. Not the highlight of the trip. It worked out well for us because we were tired from our flight and wanted to be back in Reykjavik by 5ish. Would have loved to do the rafting but it was a no go because the Mrs. is very pregnant.
We then headed to Reykjavik and hung out there a few hours. We walked to the Harpa Concert Hall which is really cool architecturally and walked the city down and around Laugavegur street. We went to Bonus and found some kosher food with hechsherim- granola, crackers, cereal, chips, Alpro and packaged lox. I didn’t consider dairy foods though. We brought our own food but this was helpful. Stayed at Centerhotel Midgardur- good location but that’s about it. Meh.

Inside harpa:


Here's one way to get up close with puffins:


Day 2- Tuesday

Headed out to Seljalandfoss. (The scenery along the drive in southern Iceland really is beautiful.) You need to pay for parking here as they constantly check if you have paid and will ticket. I didn’t see the pay station and asked an attendant (some guy with a yellow vest) how much parking is. He tells me its 700 kronas but if I have coins-500. I pull out a heap of coins and tell him I only have 300. He says fine, pockets the cash and inserts his card into the machine and hands me a ticket to display in the car. Classic. Seljalandfoss is awesome and you get pretty wet from the mist. I had the waterproof shell pants and coat but if it’s a sunny day (which is was not) you don’t need it as you’ll dry off quickly.



We then walked the 10 or so minutes to Gljufrabui. This is amazing, a must do. Here you get very wet. We had bought cheap waterproof shoes with a rubber sole so we can freely walk into the cave and not worry about slipping. It could be done with flip flops/crocs but be careful as the rocks can be slippery.



After being at Seljalandfoss/Gljufrabui for almost 90 minutes we drove out to Skogafoss about 25 minutes east. No parking fee as far as I know. The waterfall is large and the hike up the steps takes about 8 minutes at a slow pace. But if you have time, go hiking along the Skoga river up top. We walked about 45 minutes out and saw the path just continues forever. I imagine I would still be hiking if I hadn’t just turned around for the 45 minute walk back. Really idyllic.





We then drove about 30 minutes to Dyrholaey viewpoint. Everyone talks about the wind in this area of the Black Beaches and it’s all true. They say winter is much worse. The car rental agency warns you about the wind taking your car door off and if you’ve read @yehuda’s TR you know what can happen. I was paranoid and careful to park with room between my car and the next. We go to the viewpoint and when I get back to the car….there’s a large dent in the car door. The car next to me came after I had parked, and the passenger got out and the wind knocked the door into my car. I was livid. I waived insurance and relied on CSR but was not interested in the hassle. The car next to me was also Blue Car rental so I call them and ask what to do. Dadi is the rep who was super helpful. He tells me to fill out the accident report with the other driver who is fully covered. Only problem is its in Icelandic. By now the other driver comes back and says he didn’t realize what happened but isn’t arguing seeing as we are both Blue Car and he is fully insured.  We exchange info and pics and fill out the report as instructed. I see him unlock his phone and in Hebrew ask him where he’s from…the look on his face!!!! His phone had Hebrew text on the home screen so I knew he was Israeli. BH! I ended up bumping into him and his group 2 more times on the trip. Small world. My point is- when by the black beaches area it’s not just important to open your doors carefully. It’s best to park on the further end of the lot where there are few/no cars to park near you and bash your car.





We then went to Kirkjujara beach to see the black beach, basalt columns, cool caves, and puffins way overhead on the cliffs. After dropping our stuff at the Black Beach suites (great place!) we went to Vik to do some grocery shopping at Kronan and drive around a bit(same sort of kosher goods, but  a bit less). They have some sort of lava center in Vik but it was closed by the time we got there. We then went to the beach looking out to Reynisdrangar ( google reynisdrangar view). This is the other side of Kirkjujara beach and there was nobody there except a few intrepid photographers. It was serene with the blasting wind and crashing waves and almost no people. By now it was late and time to settle in.

Day 3- Wednesday

Headed up to Svartifoss. I went to pay for parking in the visitor center and asked the guy behind the desk if I parked in the right area. I didn’t, but he said not to worry because nobody checks…. So why did I pay for parking??? Dunno. It was raining but the hike up is beautiful and once you get closer to the waterfall you have to walk over and through very (slippery and..) rocky terrain. Saw a couple people trip. Most people took photos from a short distance but I decided to be the American who ruins everyone’s photo by crossing the stream and getting right next to the waterfall.



After the hike back, we drove to Jokulsarlon Lagoon for the zodiac boat ride we had reserved. Guess what? They strongly don’t recommend it while very pregnant. They would allow it but did a fairly good job scaring us about the bouncing of the boat. So we did the amphibian boat. It was good but I imagine the zodiac is much better.
This is what I got but take a look at SF's pics as this doesnt do it justice:


We headed over to diamond beach which was very cool. Now, it was windy and cold but there was a (soon to be??) newlywed couple taking wedding pics. Anything for the gram.



Bathroom at Jokulsarlon. All this time....whoops.



Next stop was Fjadrarguljulfur Canyon. There are 2 parking lots- upper lot is only a few minutes to a platform overlooking the falls. Google will take you to a lower lot which is where we went. You then walk up along the canyon for around 20 minutes to the falls. I enjoyed the walk and canyon. View is stunning. HT to @yehuda.





Then headed to The Garage guesthouses in Varmahlid for the night. This place is rustic but a fun experience. They have their own water source from the private waterfall and they have a dog (and cat but who cares) that is wicked smart. This dog, Felix, brought me his frisbee to play and then literally led us on the path to hike to the waterfall. It was late and a steep climb so we went less than halfway and turned back. Felix was disappointed so I played some soccer with him and then we were cool.



One more thing, 5 minutes down the road is a fence with…. ‘undergarments’ hanging. If you’re driving down Road 1 and do a double take and wonder “were those…??” the answer is yes. Apparently, they have one in New Zealand as well so if you want to add these to your bucket list, enjoy.

Day 4- Thursday

20 minute drive to Solheimjokull Glacier for the Glacier hike which lasts a total of 3 hrs (with getting the gear on and explanations etc). There were only 2 others in our group which was awesome. This was a great experience. They couldn’t believe my wife did this at 7 months. We were done at 1pm.



My big splurge on this trip was to stay at the Silica hotel by the blue lagoon. This is the cheaper option when compared to The Retreat at Blue Lagoon but still pricey. It’s supposed to be very relaxed and have a private lagoon but I wouldn’t know….because I got an email the day before that we were getting upgraded to The Retreat. Amazing!
I had considered doing the lava tunnel after the glacier, but I really wanted to mximize our access at The Retreat Spa. This place is legendary. Just an fyi- the Retreat lagoon (as opposed to Blue lagoon) empties out at around 5-7ish pm.  Had it all to ourselves. The Spa also was virtually empty as most guests are either out of the hotel or at the hotel restaurants. The vibe is incredible. We met a Jewish couple (how’d they know we … oh yeah, shvimkleid) and schmoozed a while. Great people, very entertaining. Found out later this guy is a billionaire. You wouldn’t have guessed being that he’s in a bathrobe and flip flops.








Day 5- Friday

Early wakeup for 730am flight and returned car to Blue Car. Had to tell them the whole story about my new friend, Menachem, hitting my car but Chris was great and the process went smoothly. The airport in KEF was crazy but if you use the kiosk to check-in and print bag tags you can get on a much shorter line to drop bags. Next stop, London.

London
Arrived about noon and headed to Hendon where we stayed at the Pillar. Had some lunch (after 5 days salad never tasted so good), did some grocery shopping, and settled in. Ate amazing Shabbos meals out and walked through Golders Green/Hendon over Shabbos.

Day 7- Sunday

Checked out from the Pillar and dropped bags at London Marriot Park Lane. beautiful place with a great location under 5 minutes from Marble arch shul. Walked down Oxford Street to British Museum (30+ min). After being in Iceland where you don’t see any real crowds, London was quite a shock. The streets, museums, stores are all packed this time of year. I had prepared what I wanted to see at the British museum (found the itinerary of the jewish tour online). Spent about 90 mins there but it was really hot and stuffy in the museum so we were ready to move on.

Walked down toward Churchill Rooms via Trafalgar Square. The cricket world cup of England Vs New Zealand was taking place and they were showing the game on a big screen while many hundreds watched. Tight security to get in and after watching a couple minutes and hearing the cheers and boos I decided to move on because I had no idea what was going on. I think we had been there toward the end but before the hundred or so overtime/tie breakers that occurred. They say it was a good game and England won.

Churchill Rooms were great. Lines could be very long if you don’t have timed entry. We were on London Pass so we had to wait in a long line which would have been about 40 minutes…but after my wife asked if she can go in to use the restrooms they said we can go with timed entry because my wife is pregnant. You can spend over 2 hours there if you go through everything slowly. If you don’t enjoy history much you can do it in 30 mins. We were there a while and then decided to head to Harrods.
Harrods was having a sale, it was a Sunday with only one hour before closing, in tourist season. Needless to say it was packed. DW went her way and I went to see the watches and jewelry. They have CRAZY merch there. They closed at 6 and we walked the area a few minutes before heading to Tish in Belsize Park. This place was great and we were comped a bottle of wine because apparently the Jewish couple we met at the Retreat in Iceland frequents Tish often and called ahead (they had asked where in London we were eating). Great people. After dinner, we went to the Shard for the view. It’s a beautiful view in all directions from the 72nd floor. Watched sunset and they closed up at 10.


Back to marble arch to walk a bit and finally see our room. Had to get a mini fridge for some perishables as the mini bar won’t keep food cold enough.

Day 8- Monday

Went to Piccadily Circus to meet Matt for the Changing of the Guard tour. He takes you to a prime location to see the old guard get ready and be escorted with the marching band to Buckingham.



You march along (we also saw the horse guards riding past) and at Buckingham he positions you to see the new guard marching to meet the old guard. The whole tour is 2 hours as he gives history and description as you walk to get into position etc. Crazy crowds at Buckingham:



We hung out in St James park for lunch and people watching then walked  over the bridge 25 mins to Waterloo station for a train to Windsor Castle. We passed Big Ben (or Big Scaffold) and Parliament. It is bumper to bumper people in this area.





Windsor was really nice and there’s an audio guide included. You get a nice history lesson and see the royal state rooms which are stunning. The furniture, art, and clocks are non-stop gorgeous. The town around that area is nice but there were so many tourists it detracted from the authenticity. From there we went out to One Ashbourne for dinner. Let’s just say I really enjoyed Tish and should’ve gone back there. We headed back and walked up and down New Bond Street. Definitely not as crowded on a weeknight as it had been Sunday night but still very happening.

Day 9- Tuesday

Got to Tower of London at about 10am (open at 9). No line to enter the premises. Bought the audio guide and went straight to see crown jewels as the lines could be crazy. The line begins outdoors and once you enter through the doors the line continues with historical information and items displayed along the way. Audio guide keeps you distracted a bit. At this point we were on line for about 20 minutes until you finally see the cool things such as serving pieces, dishes, clothing etc that are all hundreds of years old. Then comes the Crown jewels and regalia. There’s a moving walkway to keep the crowds moving but also a platform where you can stand and view the items. We went past 3 times as the crowd wasn’t too great. After that portion we did the rest of the grounds pretty thoroughly. I would suggest that if you want to see the crown jewels you try to be on that line by 10ish. By 1130/noon the line was much much longer (over an hour for sure). After the Tower of London we went to Tower Bridge a few minutes away.



Saw the engine room (boring) and made our way up the elevator for the view and glass bottom. It’s a nice view and they give more information about the bridge and its history than I thought was even possible. I wouldn’t make a trip just to see it but if you are right there anyway it may be worth going up (was part of London Pass so I don’t know the cost).

Took the Thames boat all the way to Westminster stop while a very funny guide gave the tour. We walked around a little and took a Hop On Hop Off bus to Kensington. Walked through Kensington park to Kensington Palace. I hadn’t intended on going inside as it was getting late and I heard its not too interesting but I realized entrance was included in London Pass so how can’t we go inside. An employee in front said to go through everything will take 2 hours. We gave ourselves 20 minutes. The state rooms are not very impressive, a handful of Princess Diana’s outfits as well as other royals from centuries back were meh. But they had some royal jewelry here which was, once again, wow. Took 23 minutes. For dinner we went to Kaifeng as it had been recommended by many locals. We loved this place as well, amazing food. Back to our hotel to pack up for an early departure.

Day 10- Wednesday

7am Eurostar to Paris. Very fast and easy process. Arrived in Paris and went to our hotel- Marriot Hotel de Berri a block off ChampsElysees. The room was ready just after we arrived (1130am), so we settled in, had the much needed coffee and walked Champs Elysees to Arc de Triomphe.



Very cool and lines to go to the top were long (around noon). Snapped some photos and walked down to Eiffel Tower (30 min).





This place was crazy busy but they did a god job with crowd control. We were thinking of going up but after a 15 minute bathroom line for DW I figured we’ll try later. Siene hop on hop off boat to Louvre where we had a 2:30 tour scheduled. I only did the tour because the lines to get in are notorious and the tour can enter through a different entrance. I had planned on starting with the tour and breaking off to do my own thing. The first hour was pretty boring but the guide was an art historian so I learned a bunch of things which made me appreciate what I was seeing. If you opt for a tour make sure you are on time as once 2:30 hit, the coordinator leaves and you’re out of luck. All in all, the museum was crazy crowded. I won’t bore you with the Mona Lisa saga but here are the general points:

They moved the Mona Lisa to a new room that morning for the first time in 15 years so the staff was not ready for what happened.
The line to get to see the Mona Lisa (from when we got inline at 5pm) was disorganized with no clear line- just a mosh pit of people pushing and cutting in etc.
Line would have taken 2+ hours for sure. I saw what was happening and after 15 minutes told DW I wanted to leave. After another 20 minutes and not much progress we were ready.
Went down 2 flights of stairs to exit and saw the elevator for people with disabilities. I told them we waited 40 mins and t was so hot my wife nearly fainted and we can’t wait cuz she’s 7 months pregnant and we need to get in cuz Tom Hanks gave us a mission and our last name is Da Vinci. Basically, they looked at my wife and said we can go in so we got to cut the line and get right in front of the Mona Lisa….meh.



I assume by now they might have their act together but at that time, you could’ve cut into the line at a couple points by coming up the exit staircases or even getting into the disabilities elevator as some random people got on with us despite being told they can’t. You just need chutzpah. Should you? That’s not up to me.
Knowing what I know now, I would have done Musee d’ Orsay- more paintings as opposed to sculptures.

After this we took the boat back to Eiffel Tower. Got to cut the ticket line (PREGNANT LADY COMING THROUGH!!) and the line for the elevator to go to the 2nd floor. They wouldn’t let us go to the top because they said if we are “handicapped” enough to need to cut the line then They cannot allow us all the way up. Beautiful view and although I originally had no intention of spending $ to go up, I am happy we did and recommend it. Spent about 20 minutes and walked down the stairs. Took the boat and got off at Musee d’ Orsay stop. Walked along the lock bridge. Surprised only one guy there was selling locks.



Walked about 20 minutes to Linte Café for dinner. Food was pretty good. Then walked back along Champs Elysees to Arc de Triomphe. Was hoping to go up top but for some reason it was closed. Headed back to hotel eventually.

Day 11- Thursday

Had a 2pm flight back via KEF so we walked to Le XXV to pick up some food. We tried lots of their pastries which were okay and some salad/sushi/poke for the trip. These were very good. Got to CDG 2 hours before flight and the lines for Icelandair were crazy long. Just had to ask where the bathroom is and poof!.... we get put in the line with premium and first class. Quick check in and very smooth flight and connection.
An amazing trip that was truly 2 separate vacations as Iceland and London/Paris are very different experiences. And just like last summer after our Spain trip which was also non-stop moving and very little laying back and relaxing, I say the next trip will be more laid back…. but I doubt it.

July 30, 2019, 03:01:45 PM
1
Re: Maine (Acadia National Park #3) Thinking of returning to Acadia for the 4th time for chol hamoed Sukkos
September 24, 2019, 10:46:59 PM
1
Re: Hyatt Corporate Challenge- Email Address Request
Hyatt is currently offering fast-track elite status to employees of large companies. They did not publish a list of companies, but presumably it is for companies who have corporate rates with Hyatt.
I'd like to sign up for this challenge, but I don't work for a company that has Hyatt rates. I was wondering if there's anyone on here who works for such a company who'd be willing to let me use their email address to sign up for the challenge. (Assuming you already have status or aren't interested in the challenge).
Here's the link for those interested: https://world.hyatt.com/content/gp/en/wohpromotions/trial-tier-offer.html
Did it yesterday with someone on Ebay for myself.
msg me in private will send you seller info

October 27, 2019, 07:01:00 PM
1
Re: Hyatt Reservation for Secondary Guest In NA its mostly not an issue.
November 17, 2019, 01:26:51 AM
1
Re: Active Shooter Jersey City As a frequent shopper of the JC grocery (I work right there) it is impossible to bring out in words the pain that this community is feeling. Mrs Ferencz  & her husband ran their store with a smile & while he was bagging your groceries they always had a good word to say. Its a very small community & everyone knows each other, I am not sure how he can move forward with 3 orphans but I am sure Hashem will give him the strength to move forward. Its very weird because the neighbors around here no matter the race have been either nice or minding their own business so this is a big shock.

I hope people understand that these yidden do not have a grocery now, they (can) order from stores in Williamsburg that will deliver to them but when you need a quick milk or bread thats gone.

And last but not forgotten is Miguel the worker in the store, always helped right away, nothing was ever a problem, was very easygoing. Leaves behind a wife & daughter, was a real nice family man.

What I take out of this tragedy is we need to love each other (achdus in yahadus) and we need to continue & grow in the middah of tzedaka to help each other whether with money or something priceless like chizuk & a good word.

Im still in shock, its kind of hard to believe it really happened, but we accept that this is what Hashem wants & is the best for us even if we dont always understand.

Hashem yerachem uleini.

A JC worker for the past 13+ years.

December 12, 2019, 09:37:38 AM
1
Re: Active Shooter Jersey City That old guy who just continues sitting there eating has seen some messed up stuff in his lifetime.
December 15, 2019, 04:13:02 PM
1
Re: Its Open Season on Jews How many Jews can "rational people on Facebook" justify getting shot if 5 Chassidim are dishonest in business?

How many Jews deserve to be hacked by machete if 10 religious Jews scam welfare according to "rational people"?

How many Jewish children can be targeted to be shot dead for every over-zealous Jew trying to buy a house in a rational person's neighborhood?

"If there is a attack, I need any rational person to be able to say this is senseless anti semitism"

To stay or to go? Would you like fries with that? What else do *you* need?

Does an orphaned child need the same, or can his/her standards be a bit lower?

Will the same rational people be ok with me shooting up a country club because a lawyer scammed me?

Can I hack investment fund managers with machetes because of Maddof?

Look, I know you're not justifying it yourself, but what's the difference between that and justifying the justifiers?

Anyone who sees an attack on Jews and says, "it's terrible, but..." is NOT a rational person we need to placate, but a hateful bigot we need to loudly condemn.

If you want to give a musar schmooze, it's Zos Chanukah, there's plenty of inspiration to be found. If you want to find inspiration and a call to action from the tragedies, by all means.

But to stand on the fresh graves of those killed in Jersey City, and atop the blood flowing in Monsey to eck and beck about justifying the murder of Jews because fewer than 100% of the community are absolute paragons of virtue? That sickens me to the core.


December 30, 2019, 10:56:25 AM
1
Get 3 for the price of 2 (Books DVDs & more) Put 3 items in your cart get lowest priced item free
https://www.amazon.com/gp/promotion/A1Y2LOO2M7NSEM?ref_=pdaatf_psp_A1Y2LOO2M7NSEM

January 22, 2020, 11:40:42 AM
1
Re: Panama Master Thread Just got back from Panama. We stayed at the Sortis and loved it!! I used a 7 night cert in an ambassador account and got a beautiful large 2 room suite with 2 full bathrooms. The living room had a king size pullout sofa plus they brought us a folding bed. Very modern contemporary hotel with gorgeous pool, spa and casino. They have the largest sports bar I've ever seen with huge screens that came handy for the super bowl (after watching the 1st half at Aria over an amazing dinner directly across the street from hotel). I believe this is the best possible use in history for a Marriott cert! The only drawback is the walk in the heat to and from the Jewish area on shabbos. I wanted to check into the Brand new Residence Inn or Marriott for shabbos but my family was too comfortable at the Sortis. The Residence Inn, JW Marriott and Hilton are closer to shuls and all good choices too. You really cant go wrong with either one.

Kava was our favorite and we all thought it was the best dairy restaurant we've even been to. We chose to go back there a 2nd time instead of trying something new. We also went to Aria, Pita Plus, Coffee Bean at the Miraflores locks and ordered in from La Spezia. They were all good!

We did a combined tour of Embera Village and Monkey Island with Alon Levy. We loved him and he is reasonably priced. Embera Village tribes charge $45 PP, the boat company to Monkey Island is $30 -$35 PP plus the driver for the day cost so the Tour guides themselves do not make as much as people think.

We went to Pearl Island and spent the afternoon with Ilene from https://pearlislandsdaytours.com/
 who was amazing. We snorkeled at a beautiful reef (near the island where Survivor was filmed).  We also fished but did not have the same luck as some of the others here and did not catch anything :(  We cannot compare it to San Blas as we were not there but it is definitely easier to take a 1.5 hour fast ferry that itself is part of the fun than to take a long winding car ride. From my research I came to the conclusion that as a day trip Pearl Island makes more sense but as an overnight trip San Blas is the better choice.

We did the Miraflores Locks on our own. The 3D Imax explains the complete history and the mechanics better than any tour guide can and I don't think there is a need to spend $ on an official tour.

If there is time to kill or for a relaxing day I recommend spending a few hours at Amador causeway and renting bikes. We also spent some time in the Old city of Casco Viejo. It was typical and not a must do. There is a new Chabad restaurant there called Jerusalem.

On shabbos we were at Chabad friday night and Bethel for lunch. They were both really nice and enjoyable.

Instead of paying $10 a day to Verizon for both of our phones we bought  7 day Sim cards for $5 that worked perfectly. It is $30 at the airport so wait until you get to the city.

Definitely no need to rent a car. Ubers are easy and cheap!

All in all I highly recommend Panama in the winter for the guaranteed weather, incredible food, lots of amazing activities for all ages and a vibrant Jewish community to join on Shabbos!!!

February 07, 2020, 11:46:15 AM
1
Re: Excel Help and Problems Or you  can wrap your function in IF(MOD(celladdress,2)=0,restofformula,"") to return blank if the cell row # is odd (or adjust it for even rows)
March 04, 2020, 06:17:43 PM
1
Re: What grade do you give Trump so far for his handeling of COVID-19?
Was not just him. Not a single governor or mayor did anything till this morning. If anything he was the first to do anything about it.

As much as I dislike him, Cuomo has actually been impressing me this past 10 days. He started at an D or F but has been putting on his A game more than anyone.

March 12, 2020, 03:57:40 PM
1
Re: Everyday day things that you now say "Wow glad I have that". BREAKING: Chicago Jew maintains non-Jewish slaves to man his bathroom

An allegedly Jewish Chicago man has admitted to utilizing slave labor to turn his sinks on on the Jewish holy day of Shabbos. The man, identified only by his handle of "CountValentine," has specified that he seeks out "goys," or non-Jews, for this labor.

"I have a goy waive (sic) his hand over it," the Chicago native wrote on a popular deals forum site, in response to a question of how to activate an electric water faucet on Shabbos.

Jews are forbidden to activate electric devices on their holy day, which begins Friday at sundown and culminates Saturday night.

"Who would've believed that in the 21st century, such behavior can take place," flaming community activist [insert name] spewed. "And the Jews want to know why there is Antisemitism in America?"

Staff of [media outlet] were not able to confirm the Jewish ethnicity of the perpetrator, but his frequenting of the predominantly Jewish deals forum site "Dan's Deals Forums" points to that conclusion.

March 22, 2020, 11:36:59 AM
1
Re: Do you have Coronavirus? Were you tested?
DDF is the best! Received an oximeter from a member in minutes!
Thankfully readings are over 95%. Was told by Doc not to worry unless they drop below that.
Wow so happy we're here for each other.
Bh you're doing fine!

March 23, 2020, 10:36:49 PM
1
Re: The Day After COVID19 -Airlines
Lets say you got into that room. What would you demand from the airlines?

Thoughts on this Whitehouse.gov petition?


Please limit your description to 800 characters. Characters remaining: 1

"Create a traveler's bill of rights in exchange for bailing out airlines and hotels"

Airlines and hotels are seeking billions in bailouts. We the taxpayer want in return:
1. Ban hotel resort/destination fees
2. Cash refunds when airlines cancel/change flights
3. Passenger rights like EU261 with cash payments for delayed/cancelled flights
4. Remove slot controls so more airlines can compete
5. Ban basic economy fares that dehumanize travel
6. Don’t charge families to sit together
7. A free checked and carry-on bag
8. Mileage program devaluations need to be announced 6 months in advance and award charts must be published
9. Ban fuel/carrier imposed surcharges
10. Regulate seat pitch/width and bathroom size
11. Remove Deregulation Act protections so airlines can be sued
12. Cap change/cancel fees at a percentage of the fare
Read more here: https://www.dansdeals.com/go/rights


March 24, 2020, 09:41:46 PM
1
Re: Do You Have Coronavirus?
So it seems. Mine was going for brain matter.

Nurse consumes brain matter retrieved under the guise of a COVID-19 test. Rumor has it the nurse was hoping to become a travel hacking guru.

March 25, 2020, 12:24:45 PM
1
Re: Financial Assistance
My bank (People's United Bank)  just deferred 3 months of mortgage payments. You essentially have 3 months longer on the loan and no payments for the next 3 months. The interest portion is capped at the current rate and added as fee at the end of the loan instead of as interest to prevent it from accruing more interest....
Quote from: chaiplus1.com
We’ve heard reports that they are offering to defer 3 months of mortgage payments by adding 3 months to your loan term. The interest portion is capped at the current rate and added as fee at the end of the loan instead of as interest, to prevent it from accruing more interest.
written so well it sounds like something I would have written myself....  :D

March 26, 2020, 07:05:29 AM
1
Re: Unemployment Help Thank you @cgr for the informative wiki!
April 24, 2020, 01:34:40 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help @cgr should be praised and applauded for all the questions answered here.
April 29, 2020, 05:05:27 PM
1
Re: SBA PPP and EIDL Small Business Loans (some money is forgivable)
Funded in 36 hours!

https://www.dansdeals.com/go/kabbage/

I would maybe think that they fished out your application to get a shout out :-)

April 30, 2020, 11:59:27 AM
1
Re: NY Rent Relief
How about the other side or do you only see one side?
Landlords who screw tenants out of their security deposit?
the gov should foot it if they want
they could make HPP (housing protection program) why should the landlord suffer

if they make UPR +600 a month i'm in

May 07, 2020, 02:34:08 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
@Iz thanks! I created that mainly to prevent burnout...
And just to correct your grammar the correct pronoun here is her/she, not him/he ;)
Corrected.
Today is a good day to keep the fire going. 

May 12, 2020, 02:20:15 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
wow. thanks for pointing that out. I've updated the wiki accordingly
The text of the final bill mentions only Medicaid and Chip.
(Sec. 2104) "(h) Disregard Of Additional Compensation For Purposes Of Medicaid And CHIP.—The monthly equivalent of any Federal pandemic unemployment compensation paid to an individual under this section shall be disregarded when determining income for any purpose under the programs established under titles XIX and title XXI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.)"
https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr748/BILLS-116hr748enr.pdf

May 12, 2020, 06:12:08 PM
1
Re: $3 trillion coronavirus relief plan!!!
a prorated addition to your UI rate would have been the best of all.
They should have just added to the UI rate to reach 100%

May 12, 2020, 07:28:28 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help He qualifies. Thanks for the response.

I see you have been very active on this thread. Much appreciated! Helping people at no charge = great Mitzvah!!
Follow my lead and like a post from cgr on this thread!!

May 14, 2020, 12:59:56 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
I don't think that's possible as there isn't a PUA link out there to apply to.
I didn't see a second section.
but I think I dont qualify for regular UI since I didn't work for 2 quarters.


First I wanted to say thank you @cgr

I too didnt apply for reg ui,
On the ny.gov site i went to "get unemployment assistance" I hit file and submitted the application. at the end it said thank you for submitting your pua. i didnt need to put in any employee/income info

should i go back and file the reg ui - if i can find it?

May 14, 2020, 03:47:49 PM
1
Re: Maldives Master Thread
Wow, mind blown
Here's a trivia question for you; what's the temperature at 35k feet? GIYF.

May 17, 2020, 09:38:15 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help URGENT!
NYS SENDS OUT EMAILS WITH DOCU SIGN IN IT FOR THOSE WHO NEED TO REQUEST BACKPAY. BY ME AND MY WIFE IT WAS SEND ON MAY 12 ALREADY AND I FOUND IT NOW IN MY SPAM FOLDER. CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER.



SUBJECT LINE IS "Action Required - NYS DOL Certification for Back Week Payments"


NYS Department of Labor via DocuSign <dse@docusign.net>

May 18, 2020, 12:06:35 AM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
Yes. Had someone reach out to me with the exact same today. No idea what it could mean but I'm hoping that tomorrow means tomorrow...

Thanks! The message went away for me today and I was able to certify for the week ending 5/17 today.

Thanks for all of your help with this!

May 18, 2020, 11:36:05 AM
1
Re: Unemployment Help When posting in this thread please include which state you filed in. it is becoming a big mumble jumble
May 18, 2020, 05:26:20 PM
1
Re: Dropping Antibody Levels Most of what I know about coronavirus I've learned through DD, so I'm sure there are many here more knowledgeable than me!  But I'll try to provide an answer of sorts to what I think you're asking, and perhaps others can correct it.

A test for B memory cells wouldn't necessarily get you the information you want, because, for example, one could have B memory cells that are physically present, but that are not functioning properly to produce sufficient antibodies.  What you really want is not to know your level of B cells or any of the other cells and molecules in the fascinating poster that Eru Ilúvatar posted, but rather to know whether you're immune to a second infection of coronavirus.  And rather than answering this by dissecting and analyzing all the components of your own immune system, it makes more sense to answer this for the general case:  Do humans develop immunity to this coronavirus after a first infection?

Answering this would take a long time, as the doctors have told you.  If you want to know whether people are immune for two months or 6 months or 1 year or 2 years after their first infection, then obviously you have to wait two months or 6 months or 1 year or 2 years to get your answer.   There are two ways to study this:

1. Experimental:  Take a group of people who have recovered from Covid-19, infect them with the virus, and watch them over the next two weeks to see whether or not they get sick with Covid-19 a second time.

This kind of deliberate infection research has been done in the past, most famously when Nazi doctors infected people with tuberculosis or typhoid, and took careful scientific notes as they watched the infected people get sicker and sicker and finally die.  The post-war trial that disclosed this research horrified the world, not because it was worse than other Nazi atrocities, but because it was conducted by doctors who had taken an oath to use their skills in healing.  In response, international and national guidelines were composed that now regulate research on human health. 

To do this sort of experiment today, researchers would first need to decide on the exact details of the protocol they will use, including:
What people will you test?  Males, females, or both?  Young, old, or both?  Those who had severe symptoms, mild symptoms, no symptoms, or all of these?  Those who were treated with particular medications?  Those who had tested positive for the virus only, for the antibody only, or both? Etc.
How will you infect them?  Inject them with the virus, or spray it on their face with a sneeze-machine?
Which virus will you use?  Several mutated versions are known to exist already. 
What dose of the virus will you use?  If nobody gets sick, you won't know whether that's because they're immune, or whether you used too small of a dose to cause disease.  If you use too large a dose, and people are not sufficiently immune, you might cause an especially severe disease response.
If people DO get sick after this second infection, how will you treat them?  There are ethical issues in infecting someone with a potentially fatal disease before we have clearly effective treatments.
How will you obtain informed consent?  This means that anyone who participates in the experiment has to agree that they are doing so voluntarily, and have been informed of what might happen to them as a result of this participation.  For example, they might have a slight reaction at the site of the injection, but not get sick beyond that.  That of course is what we're hoping for, and it certainly would be great if that's the result. It's also possible that immunity does not develop, and the people will develop Covid-19 a second time. That would be annoying to go through that again, but at least people know what they're getting into.  But there's a third possibility, which is that following the second infection they will have a worse reaction than the first time.  Perhaps their immune system was partially weakened the first time, and now they are less able to cope and develop a more severe case.  Perhaps they had slight unnoticeable changes to the blood vessels the first time, and with the second infection, they are more likely to develop clotting disorders.  As far as I know, these last possibilities just exist in my imagination, but the point is that the researchers would have to consider all the things that might go wrong, and notify the participants in the experiment of these in advance.

After the researchers have figured out all these and other details, they would have to send this protocol to a review board, which would discuss whether the experiment, as proposed, is ethical and whether it is likely to lead to significant findings.  They might ask for changes, or they might turn it down entirely.  Or they might approve it, at which time the researchers would start looking for people willing to be subjects in the experiment. 

There are probably researchers considering this sort of experiment, but the process above could take weeks or months, so the rest of us won't hear about it until they announce that they're looking for subjects. 

2. Observational.  The second way to determine immunity is to simply wait for people who've recovered from Covid-19 to leave home and lead more normal lives, during which time some of them will inevitable come in contact with the virus again.  People who get sick with Covid-19 will be asked about their previous infections and previous positive tests for the virus or antibodies, and researchers will be able to analyze how many, if any, of the new Covid-19 cases are in people who had an earlier confirmed Covid-19 infection.  If no new infections occur in those who've had confirmed Covid-19 in the past, then we can assume that a first infection causes immunity. 

Again, if those with previous infections don't get sick for two months, we'll only know that immunity lasts two months.  It will take longer to find out whether this immunity is longer-lasting.

This study will take longer than the previous one, because you have to wait for people to incidentally meet up with a virus somewhere, rather than infecting them deliberately all at once, but it can be started more quickly.  In fact, it's started already.  We've heard of a few cases in China and South Korea that suggested that a recovered patient had gotten sick a second time, and researchers there are trying to figure out exactly what that means. Is this really a second infection, or a continuation of the first?  Was the first infection really the flu? There will undoubtedly be more such cases in the US as people increase their social activity.


May 18, 2020, 07:19:59 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
fair enough :)
Just triple check the number before you hit dial.

May 19, 2020, 03:30:51 PM
1
Re: Stocks
youre asking me?? what the heck do I know? UAL has the biggest upside I would think. Please do not invest because I posted something on DDF. LOL

Wait, what?? Dammit

May 20, 2020, 12:16:41 PM
1
Re: SBA PPP and EIDL Small Business Loans (some money is forgivable)
So? What is she doing to earn that money?

Executive chef?

May 20, 2020, 10:07:49 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
I'd say for 85%+ payments get released as you certify (the backpay is a separate issue).
Then there are a few lucky guys like @AsherO who are stuck in limbo...

Thanks for the shout out.

I got a letter in the mail today asking me to certify for a week during mid-March. If they included a time-machine I’d happily oblige...

May 21, 2020, 11:06:18 AM
1
Re: SBA PPP and EIDL Small Business Loans (some money is forgivable) BREAKING NEWS!
DIME FUNDED MY ACCOUNT :-*

May 22, 2020, 03:18:02 AM
1
Re: Pandemic EBT Assistance (Extra Food Stams) mod please fix title
stams >= stamps

May 24, 2020, 11:45:32 AM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
Thanks! I'll try it out and report back if I succeed.

dont hold your breath. appeals in nj take approximately forever

June 05, 2020, 04:50:16 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
@mgarfin looks like there are a few insurance carriers that offer PFL in NY, so you'd need to have a look at your companies policy to determine if a rehire does or doesn't reset the clock.

I found this from Gaurdian where it looks like they don't require another 26 weeks of employment for eligibility.
http://htcorp.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/FAQs.pdf

Here it looks like up to 28 days doesn't require a 26-week wait
https://www.rfsuny.org/media/RFSUNY/Forms/nys_pfl_faq.pdf

I emailed Shelter Point to see what they say.

June 07, 2020, 01:31:54 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
Sorry... total hypocrite here ::)
NY.
I modified the post.

Totally disagree, you were so not being a hypocrite.
To anyone reading even 1 or 2 posts directly before that one it was obvious which state you meant.
You've been calling out ppl that start a new q missing basic info of which state.

Unfortunetly, it seems the one calling you out was just trying to do a gotcha post, which I don't think you deserve after all the help you've graciously provided on this thread.

June 10, 2020, 05:09:06 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
My other suggestion would be to call again- might have better luck with a different specialist.

Big thanks to @cgr This time I got through to a real tier-2 specialist who was able to address both issues and tells me to expect the payments to arrive within a few days.

Oddly, the specialist mentioned that for some unknown reason one of the week’s payment was clawed back. Maybe because I had an outstanding request to send in ID verification, but I’m pretty sure I had provided that before the deadline, maybe they had a processing delay.

June 15, 2020, 02:50:56 PM
1
Re: Optimum internet
Go straight to the retention team. Mention Covid if needed...
I got the same offer for 53.99 or 53.49 for 200mbps/12months. Although they didn't offer the autopay discount or give me a credit for this past month.

June 15, 2020, 03:02:06 PM
1
Re: SBA PPP and EIDL Small Business Loans (some money is forgivable)
Helping someone with an EIDL. He just received his loan docs and his loan amount is 25k.
His 2019 revenue was 250k+, no COGS. He entered 26k as "Lost Rent" disaster effect.
Any way to get his loan increased to 150k? Can agents increase loans?

Definitely worth trying to get them to recognize the higher number.

June 16, 2020, 01:07:24 PM
1
Re: SBA PPP and EIDL Small Business Loans (some money is forgivable)
Helping someone with an EIDL. He just received his loan docs and his loan amount is 25k.
His 2019 revenue was 250k+, no COGS. He entered 26k as "Lost Rent" disaster effect.
Any way to get his loan increased to 150k? Can agents increase loans?
Additionally, you may request a loan increase for additional disaster-related damages as soon as the need for additional funds is discovered. However, the SBA will not consider a request for a loan increase received more than two years from the date of loan approval unless, “there are extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances beyond the control of the borrower.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianthompson1/2020/05/20/sba-approving-economic-injury-disaster-loans-eidls-what-you-need-to-know/#3bf1dac36120

June 16, 2020, 02:46:13 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
Not sure if it’s been posted here, but I’ve heard Trumps thinking about replacing the 600 a week with some type of incentive to go to work. Is it happening? Are there any details? I’m wondering when it would happen and how much the incentive would be and if there would be income limits.

It’s all up in the air until one of these becomes a bill that passes on one of the houses of Congress, even then it’s potentially meaningless until it passes in the other (perhaps in whatever modified form) and the mechanics of our legislature work themselves out and it ultimately becomes law.

Basically, what will happen is anyone’s guess and at the whims of the Great American Political Machine.

June 18, 2020, 12:09:55 AM
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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite? Just gonna leave this here for now :P.








June 18, 2020, 02:21:37 PM
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Re: Unemployment Help
Has anyone SE in NJ received a WBR other than the minimum?

I have helped over 100 people with NJ unemployment claims, most of them self employed, and I have only seen the $231

June 22, 2020, 09:08:49 PM
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Re: SBA PPP and EIDL Small Business Loans (some money is forgivable)
Definitely will.
Done.

June 23, 2020, 10:58:50 AM
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Re: Proposed $4,000 tax credit for travel
If I didn't have antibodies this would be a good discrimination case to take up. Those immune will have an easier time psychologically spending this than those worried about getting infected.

Try as they may. This isn't generating growth or inflation. We are in a serious deflationary situation, and a big portion of the money is simply used to improve personal balance sheets, rather than being spent.

Maybe it's time to bring back Helicopter Ben and actually try his recipe.

And those antibodies aren't helping me spend even when I want to, as the Israelis won't recognize them to avoid or shorten quarantine.

June 23, 2020, 11:59:04 PM
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