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Free room at any radisson tonight. I have a free night that expires tonight if anyone can use it.
August 31, 2016, 05:52:40 PM
Amazon: $8.91 Osem Bamba Snack, Peanut, 1 Ounce (Pack of 24)
January 04, 2017, 02:43:46 PM
Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
Good to know. Sandwich is what if not patty?

Pulled (brisket? corned beef? whatever it is, can't remember now), cole slaw, onions, and sauces, all on a burger bun.

Very tasty, but not filling IME.

The burger is all that plus an incredibly delicious (and thick) patty.

January 04, 2017, 11:45:10 PM
Re: External hard drive Wow! 6TB for $100
January 06, 2017, 01:03:52 AM
Re: FIJI Natural Artesian Water, 16.9-Ounce Bottles (24-Pack) $11.57 (0.48c Bottle)
Mazal Tov!

but so anticlimactic....Water??
Water is life.

January 06, 2017, 10:19:22 AM
Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Any eta?

Hoping to have the next segment out pretty soon. My TR backlog is getting ridiculous, it's time I got going :D.

March 06, 2017, 04:35:38 PM
Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Hoping to have the next segment out pretty soon. My TR backlog is getting ridiculous, it's time I got going :D.

Two more segments pretty much done, just waiting on some small changes. Should hopefully be posted pretty soon.

April 07, 2017, 12:38:01 AM
Re: Hat Tip Leaderboard So I just opened the most amazingly mind-blowing and, simply put, thirst quenching (from something not so simple!) UPS package.  :D :D :D
(And there's even something to make the wife really really happy :))

Thank you Dan!!!!

April 07, 2017, 05:45:07 PM
Re: TERRA Blues, Sea Salt, 5 Ounce (Pack of 12) $10.70 (Amazon)
Thought I had read somewhere that they nickel and dimed you and had poor CS. I'll have to revise that mental note I guess.
The exact opposite is true.

April 20, 2017, 05:14:09 PM
Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Some important notes:

- As with the last segment, this one is split it into two parts, with the second half coming tomorrow.

- Due to the amount of pictures, let your browser fully load before you begin.

- All the pictures are by me, except where indicated otherwise.

[Something Fishy] After a good night's sleep, we were out and about before sunrise to watch Havana wake up.

We headed down Paseo de Marti, the main boulevard that runs from the Capitol and the National Theater to the ocean, and is bisected by a pedestrian walkway:

Turning into a side street, we came across a commentary on the revolution graffitied on a wall:

The sky beginning to brighten:

Early to rise:

Photo by whYME:

Setting up shop, under the ever-watchful eye of Fidel:

Photo by whYME:

In Cuba, does Dora teach kids English?

After a some side-street wanderings, we wanted to head to the Malecon to watch sunrise, but we had gotten disoriented. We were back on Paseo de Marti, but we couldn't figure out if we needed to turn right or left (even though the ocean was very near, the boulevard curved on both ends so we couldn't see very far). A pair of security guards were nearby, so we stepped over to them.

Me, pointing first in one direction, then in the other: "Malecon?"
Guard 1, completely clueless: "Malecon??"
Me: "Malecon!"
Guard 2, looking around hopelessly: "Malecon?"
Me: "Si, Malecon!"

Again, only stares. It's as if these two had never heard of the most famous place in their town, and which is literally three streets away from them.

CITH finally takes out his phone and writes it down for them.

Guard 1: "AH! MaleCON, not MALecon!! Malecon, there!"

Imagine you stop a cop in the middle of Seventh Avenue and ask him which way to Teems Square, but he has no clue what you mean because you didn't say Times Square. Yes, that's the level of genius displayed by these two nincompoops.

Five minutes later, we were at the Malecon MaleCON.

Morro Castle in the pre-dawn light:

First light over Vedado:

And on Old Havana:

Photo by whYME:

The tide was low, so we watched both human and animal getting breakfast.


Great white egrets:

Humans. Photo by whYME:

Good catch:

Having some Photoshop fun with early morning traffic:

Havana in a nutshell, photo by whYME:

I remember taking this picture for a specific reason, but for the life of me I can't recall just what that reason was. Let's just assume it was something really profound, and keep it at that :D:

A recently collapsed building:

This crane was just backing in to begin the cleanup. Between the Cyrillic on the boom and the Lada taxi passing by, the whole scene had a very Soviet feel:

Early morning cleanup:

Pretty building, way past its prime:

This guy clearly missed the memo that he should be howling at the moon, not the sunrise:

Not everything has an explanation, sorry. Sometime you just need to accept things in life, such as this farm tractor pulling a... circus? Persian carpet display? A something, though the city:

Sunrise over, we crossed the MaleCON and went back to wandering random alleys.

For some uncanny reason, everyone and everything to come through this alley seemed to match the color scheme perfectly:

Except for this guy, which clashed horribly and made my OCD flare up:

Now that it was properly morning, I had one goal: find a new belt. My pants were still slipping and sliding after last night's wardrobe malfunction on the Malecon, and it was driving me crazy. It wasn't long and we found a couple of stalls selling trinkets to tourists, and lo, one had some belts. It was definitely used and had seen better days, but it fit me and had a working buckle. What more can one ask for?

[whYME] One thing that was very different here than other tourist trinket markets I've been to, it seems the things here were actually locally made, not just the same junk imported from China.

Brightly colored necklaces. Photo by whYME:

Bracelets. Photo by whYME:

Nothing goes to waste in Cuba... Have some old cutlery? Make weird bracelets for the tourists!

Another stall sold hats, where I bought a classic Fidel cap, a Che beret, and a seriously ridiculous-looking fedora, and wore all three since I needed my hands to operate the camera (priorities!).

Photo by whYME:

[whYME] In a way this trip was very different from any other I'd been with Something Fishy. In all the other trips, with the primary focus being landscapes, we pretty much came back with pictures of the same things. Other than differences in composition and such, things were pretty similar. Here in Cuba was another story altogether, as there were many many times when we standing right next to each other but got completely different pictures of completely different subjects. 

For example, after Something Fishy bought his Fidel hat and was busy giving his old cap to a local...

...I got one of my favorite pictures of the trip, a kid sitting nearby and pondering life:

Some lovely colors:

Another crumbling interior:

"Mural CDR #8". CDR is the Cuban secret police, Comités de Defensa de la Revolución. This mural depicts the heros of the revolution: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos, along with the yacht Granma that brought the revolutionaries over from Mexico in 1956 to jump start the revolution:

Lovely colors and patinas on some buildings:

Photo by whYME:

A pharmacy:

Pineapples, anyone?

Back on Paseo de Marti, beautiful birds were up for sale:

Big changes are afoot, no doubt. A year earlier this would have been absolutely unthinkable:

We watched the traffic for a while:

Avocados for sale, photo by whYME:

Quite the random decal:

A local playground, in true Havana fashion, locked and deserted. Photo by whYME:

Photo by whYME:

After that it was off to a shop to stock up on more water, and back to the apartment for shachris and breakfast.

Duly fed and watered, we went back outside on a quest: find a taxi to take us to Vinales. As I've mentioned in the introduction, we were hoping to take a day trip to the beautiful Vinales Valley, around two hours from Havana. The plan was - hopefully - to arrive in the area a few hours before sunrise, shoot some astrophotography, sunrise, and early morning activity before heading back to Havana.

So the search was on for a driver who knew the way, was familiar with the valley, had an air-conditioned car (preferably a classic, of course), and was crazy enough to pick us up at 1 in the morning, all for a decent price. Shouldn't be too hard, eh?

We noticed a lovely-looking 1953 Dodge and hung around to take some pictures of it:

[Cat In The Hat] One of SF's many, yet unadvertised, talents is tripping over his own feet ;D. I managed to catch him in mid-air as he was getting up from shooting the back of the car:

As we were shooting, the car's owner walked over to shmooze and find out if we were looking for a taxi. Well whaddya know, we actually are:

"Si! To Vinales!"

Yes, of course, he knows Vinales. Let's go now!

In our terrible mixture of English and broken Spanish, we tried to impress on him that while we did want to go to Vinales, we want to leave at 1 AM, and we need to discuss a price first. After a lot of back and forth negotiations (which included getting into the car to test the air conditioning
[whYME] And that air condtioner was working great, it was like stepping into a freezer.), [Something Fishy] we had a deal: for 120 CUC, he'll pick us up at the apartment at 1 AM, drive and guide us in Vinales, and have us back home at 1 PM.

Or at least we thought that's what we arranged. We had no idea if we were all on the same page, and it wasn't helped by the fact that he clearly couldn't fathom why we'd want to go in the middle of the night.

So there we were, all standing around awkwardly, neither side being quite sure if they understood the other, when suddenly...

"?וואס טוט א איד און קובה"


This was last thing we expected to hear in Cuba, and with a flawless, hiemisha accent no less. We wheeled around to see an elderly Cuban, wearing a black yarmulka and a huge smile on his face.

"!נא? שלום עליכם"

It was like an angel had been sent from Heaven. Five seconds worth of translating from Yiddish to Spanish and the arrangements with the driver were concluded, and we sent him away to go take a long nap while we stayed to schmooze with our new friend, Lazer Shklar.

(I warned you about that hat ;D!)

He was born in Poland, where the Nazis murdered his entire family in the Holocaust. He came to Cuba as a refugee right after the war, all alone in the world, and had stayed on for the last 75 years. He would like to come to New York, but doesn't think it'll ever happen. He did ask for my address and phone number, just in case... He was as religious as possible under the circumstances, and was very upset about the state of the local Jewish community, which far from being religious, is mostly not even Jewish at all due to intermarriage.

He took out his wallet and showed us a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that he carries everywhere, and which he says reminds him that he'll see his family once again when Moshiach comes.

On that sad note he bid us goodbye, shook hands once more, and slowly walked off.

May 02, 2017, 10:58:49 AM
Re: New Like feature I'm all for it, I wish more people gave more likes, makes DDF seem like a nicer place :P
May 03, 2017, 09:58:54 AM
Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH [Something Fishy] Ah, Cuba. The national Capitol, an arguably beautiful building, has been closed for years due to danger of collapse. The Gran Teatro, home of the National Theater and the world-famous Cuban Ballet, is in the same state. Both are set on the main boulevard in Havana, and are themselves surrounded by crumbling buildings.

The Capitol and its environs:

On one side of the street, the Gran Teatro on the left and fancy hotels on the right:

On the other side of the same street, this:

Photo by whYME:


The Capitolio itself:

Photo by whYME:

If the building seems familiar, you're right: the Capitolio is a near-perfect copy of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, but was purposely built twelve feet taller (not that they're bitter, or anything):

We hung around in front of the Capitol for a good while doing some people- and car-watching... Can't get enough of that here.

Photo by whYME:

Cool taxi:


"Kid Chocolate" ice cream:

Photo by whYME:

Chillin'. Photo by whYME:

Some more cool cars:

Selling drinks:

No idea how this got here:

The construction barrier around the Capitol was decorated with old film scenes. This "Brooklyn" one caught my eye:

Photo by CITH:

Photo by CITH:

Photo by CITH:

Photo by whYME:

Popcorn vendor:

Photo by CITH:

Photo by CITH:

We struck up a conversation with a truck driver and some pedicab owners:

Photo by CITH:

They were fascinated by my large shoes; they'd never seen something like this. We were actually attracting a small crowd, everyone wanting to take a picture:

Photo by whYME:

By and by we meandered over to the big taxi area. This is the place where those who own classic American cars in good condition all gather to give tourists a tour of the city (but as mentioned in an earlier segment, rather flag one down on the Malecon and you'd get a far better price).

(There will be lots of classic car pictures here. You have been warned )

Photo by whYME:

A stunning 1958 Edsel Pacer, one of the most beautiful cars ever produced:

Edsel interior:

1952 Chevy Special Deluxe. This car illustrates a very common fact about these cars: while the outside may be meticulously maintained, the interiors are usually an entirely different story - note the loose wires, the cobbled-on tachometer, the zip ties holding the steering column in place, and the beach chair and hat covering a large hole in the seat :D:

Photo by whYME:

Old Ford:

1958 DeSoto. This particular specimen is a mashup of two different models, the Sportsman and the Firesweep (my best guess is that it was a Sportsman originally). For good measure, the steering wheel was cannibalized off a Mercedes:

Photo by whYME:

The driver insisted on climbing in and posing for a picture:

Late-1950's Ford Fairlane:

Some cute Chevys:

Photo by whYME:

This guy seemed to be running the entire taxi operation:

Discussing something with the DeSoto Sportsman slash Firesweep slash Mercedes driver:

A statue of Jose Marti in the park next to all the cars. Photo by whYME:

Rat on dog. Don't ask:

Photo by whYME:

Having seen enough cars for the day (finally!), we made or way to our sunset location.

I remember the exact moment that I decided I need to go and see Cuba: it was around 2010, and I came across a wonderful picture showing the Cuban Capitol at dusk, from a high vantage point, and the street in front lined with classic cars in all colors of the rainbow. It was as I was staring at that picture that I know that I must go and see that for myself.

So when after many years the trip to Cuba was a reality, I set out to find the vantage point whence that picture was taken, and figure out how to get up there myself. It took many weeks of searching and reading before I had the spot pinned down: Hotel Parque Central. The problem was that rooms here were north of $500 a night, let alone a room on one of the higher floors, which I'd need for this shOot. No way I am shelling that out.

But it didn't take long and I hit paydirt: Their rooftop bar should provide me with the vantage point I need. So long as we act like we belong, we should be able to get onto the roof without anyone asking any questions.

So this how we found ourselves now, sneaking into the rooftop pool and bar of the most expensive hotel in all of Cuba.

We marched into the hotel, and were hit with a literal wall of cold air, and a figurative wall of opulence. For all we know, we could be in the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Poor, crumbling, Cuba was on that side of the door; here is only luxury and comfort for politicians and rich westerners:

We took the elevators to the highest floor, and from there the stairs to the roof. We sat down at a table by the bar, where a smartly-dressed waited appeared instantly and took our orders - two beers and a coke. Needless to say, these were by far the most expensive drinks we had bought in Cuba, but it was absolutely worth it: we now belonged, officially.

CITH and his beer. Photo by whYME:

Fiddler on the roof. Photo by CITH:

And indeed, the view from the top was exceptional.

Parque Central (Central Park) below us, with the Capitolio and Gran Teatro to the right and the Museo de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) on the left:


Museo de Bellas Artes:

The sun setting over Old Havana:


Blue hour:

Car trouble down below. Photo by whYME:

Looking down into the open-air atrium from above. Photo by whYME:

...and through the skylight into the main lobby. Photo by whYME:

Once it got dark we headed back down and attempted something even more daunting: obtaining an internet card so we can contact the outside world for the first time in three days. Internet access is strictly for guests only, so it took a lot of sweet talking by whYME to get the agent to sell us a 10 CUC card. Eventually she gave in, but clearly stated that she can't guarantee that we would be able to log in, since we weren't guests.

Worth a shot (click for a larger version):

Lo and behold, out of our three phones, we were able to get two connected, and one was even able to make Whatsapp calls. We spent a few minutes in the lobby catching up with news back home, as well as reassuring our very worried wives that we have so far managed to evade arrest (little did we know what would happen that very night ...).

Heading back home, and stopping at a hole-in-the-wall pizza shop (seriously, check out that ceiling) for some cold drinks:

Interesting menu:

And so another day came to a close. We were off to bed early; at 1 o'clock Elvis and his 1953 Dodge are picking us up for a trip to Vinales.


May 03, 2017, 12:58:19 PM
Re: Elite Member Groups! Congrats to Yaalili!
You are now from the 10 top posters on DDF!!

May 03, 2017, 11:02:20 PM
Re: Anyone famous here? Cameo appearance on DDMS

May 14, 2017, 09:55:09 PM
Please Say Tehillim ASAP For A Fellow DDF'er Guys please say tehilim for Yehoshua Meir Ben Leah sarah. He is in unresponsive in the hospital. Don't know details.

Fellow DDF'er...

May 24, 2017, 12:16:02 PM
Re: Project Fi Freebies at some US Airports
#FlyWithFi next time you travel abroad

We’ve got you covered in more ways than one. Next time you’re at one of the airports below, you may see one of our Travel Trolleys. Each trolley is stocked with free travel gifts such as playing cards, USB cables, eye masks, and more.
Burbank Bob Hope (BUR)
Chicago Midway (MDW)
Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
Mineta San Jose (SJC)
Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP)
Philadelphia (PHL)
Seattle-Tacoma (SEA)
Sacramento (SMF)
St. Louis Lambert (STL)

You can get a free travel item from the Project Fi Travel Trolley vending machine at the following airports:

BUR - Terminal A, Gate A3
MDW - Terminal 1, between Gate A5 & A3
MSP - Terminal 1, Concourse G
ORD - Terminal 3, between Concourse K and H
PHL - Right before the first gate
SEA - Concourse C, across from Gate C10
SJC -  Terminal B, across from Gate 25
SMF - Terminal B, across from Gate 12
STL - Terminal 2

Details etc

Whohoo!! this post got me my first HT!

May 24, 2017, 08:13:23 PM
Re: Toronto Master Thread
MoKo has pop up restaurants every so often (like today), and their food is very good. A new favorite is Aish Tanoor

July 13, 2017, 09:14:41 AM
Re: Los Angeles Master Thread Are there any orthodox shuls within walking distance of the sls Beverly hills?
July 19, 2017, 06:35:12 AM
Re: KSML (Kosher Airline Meals) Master Thread
OK. Let's hope this works. Here are my BA F food photos. All Hermolis from LHR.
If only they didn't have YQ and had a better hard product...

July 27, 2017, 11:37:50 AM
Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
Meat or Dairy?
Meat. Supposed to be RC style.

August 10, 2017, 03:19:39 PM
Re: Groupon Master Thread
Congrats on #10k & the green stars.


Keep up the awesome stuff and thanks for making an awesome community here!

August 22, 2017, 09:55:36 AM
Re: 2017 Eclipse and Crazy Road Trip TR Wow a TR without blurred out faces!  :o

Thanks for sharing! Did you guys fly out of Nebraska?

August 25, 2017, 02:30:55 PM
Re: Free IHG stay up to $100 by 8/31 in certain areas Closed, thanks all
August 29, 2017, 09:05:45 PM
Re: Next Vacation - Ideas
I'm thinking of flying straight into SIN on Mon morning, spending two days there, flying to HKG on Wed, spending a day in Macau, then Thu-Sun in HKG and then back to SIN on Sun to catch SQ back home.
take Cathay home why do you need to go back to sin?

September 13, 2017, 09:38:22 PM
Re: What Are You Eating?
my neck hurts.

October 02, 2017, 07:47:33 PM
Re: Will the LY Dreamliner have a First Class cabin? (a little hint) JFK service starting Jun 29. Departing TLV 10:40am flight returning 6pm from JFK. Second JFK flight (4pm from TLV) switches over to 787-9 Sep 16.
As of now, LY 1 will be the last NYC flight to switch over (so far not on schedule for the upcoming 12 months)

October 17, 2017, 02:37:45 AM
Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
Awesome trip report!!!

You can add the KSML details to this thread as a DP -

Good idea, done.

October 22, 2017, 11:04:00 PM
Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH [Something Fishy] There were a couple of pictures that I wanted to include in the TR, but either they didn't really fit or they seemed too redundant. Here's a dump of those pictures, in no particular order. Enjoy.

The following are by me:

The following are by whYME:

October 26, 2017, 10:31:40 AM
Re: Free Marriott Rewards for fb / twitter liking Today's answer is "10 feet"  #RewardsPoints
October 29, 2017, 01:01:08 PM
Re: Free Marriott Rewards for fb / twitter liking Today's answer is "15 minutes"  #RewardsPoints
November 05, 2017, 01:00:25 PM
Re: Aurora, Storms, and Snowpants: An Icelandic Saga by Something Fishy, whYME, and ChAiM'l My OCD is so happy right now.

November 12, 2017, 07:05:04 PM
Re: Free Marriott Rewards for fb / twitter liking Today's answer is " 16 games" #RewardsPoints
November 19, 2017, 01:00:43 PM
Re: DJI Spark Quadcopter (Alpine White) $339.15 and more (B&H) give a yid business :)
November 27, 2017, 11:23:01 AM
Re: Free Jetblue RT Flight When You Buy $20 Board Game. Goes Live 12PM ET Well
December 20, 2017, 11:05:31 AM
Re: The funny/strange/interesting/random pictures thread
January 12, 2018, 02:44:31 PM
Re: Chasing the Aurora - Aaaron on a mission I'm going to skip shabbos and go straight to Saturday night.  Shabbos isn't easy, so make sure to consult your LOR.  Originally I was thinking about being farther north, but everyone I spoke to said it's too complicated if there's no sunrise/sunset.  It's complicated where I was too, because sunrise and sunset both take a really long time.  But I digress.

I had made a pretty last minute booking to take a dogsled trip out to hunt for the aurora.  There are loads of companies that run these tours, as well as snowmobile tours, and they all seem to be well-rated.  I chose the first one I called that had availability, and they picked me up promptly from my hotel and drove me out to their kennel.

They treat their dogs like family, and I was able to help get them harnessed, etc.  They use Alaskan Huskies, which are much smaller than their Siberian cousins.

IT WAS COLD.  They provided a warm jumpsuit, balaclava, mittens, boots, etc., and I was already REALLY layered up, but you still feel it.  You eyes tear and when you blink they freeze shut.  Quite the experience. 


We got out to a pitch black frozen lake, where the guides lit a fire in their teepee, and made tea/coffee and these little pastry things.  It was foggy when we arrived, so low hopes of seeing any activity.  I was sitting inside chatting with one of the guides since everyone else on the tour only spoke Chinese, when the other guide came in and asked if anyone had a decent camera.  My phone had froze, literally, but I had my mirrorless and tripod and we went out.  The fog had cleared and there was a faint glow in the shape of an edge of a sphere, as if the particles were hitting the atmosphere and illuminating.  It was gorgeous, and started to get brighter and brighter, moving and changing as it brightened.  It was much brighter than my first night, and I was legitimately in awe again.  I cannot believe that seeing the lights will ever get old.


January 15, 2018, 06:37:24 PM
Re: Chasing the Aurora - Aaaron on a mission Now for the main event, my original hospitality goal, the ICEHOTEL.  People say it's in Kiruna, but it's actually about 20 minutes away in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.  I couldn't pronounce it, but I was told it means "the meeting place by the river/lake."

This was the most I ever spent on a hotel room, but you're not paying for the room, you're paying for the experience.  They have a few different kinds of rooms: 3 or so types of warm rooms, and 4 or so types of cold rooms.  They recommend only one night in a cold room, either your first or last night in the area.  I had to do my last night, just due to logistics and not spending shabbos there.  Also, I chose not to spend any additional nights there as even a warm room costs about $300/night.  The hotel I stayed in Friday night was pretty nice and $100.

I decided on the "cheapest" cold room, I thought it would be a barren and spartan room, but they actually made it pretty nice.  It doesn't compare to the art rooms or the art suites, but I wasn't planning on staying awake to admire the art.

A year or two ago they build another facility next door, called the 365.  As the name implies, it stays open all year.  The main hotel where I stayed melts and gets rebuilt each year.  All the rooms in 365 have doors with locks, while all the rooms in the main hotel have curtains.  I was given a stall at check-in to store all my stuff, change, etc.  The stall is located in the lodge right next door to the hotel, along with a large shower/bathroom/locker room/ sauna facility, and what they call the living room.  Pretty much, you live in the lodge except to sleep.

Shortly after I arrived there was a tour/lesson on how to "sleep cold."  The two main takeaways were don't wear a lot of layers, one is fine.  And don't pee in the room.  They can tell.  After that, I walked around both buildings to take pictures of the suites.  The artists they brings in do an INCREDIBLE job with the detail and themes.  The quality was much higher than the SnowVillage.  Here are a few pics, I have a ton more if people want to see.  Also, my pics truly don't do this place justice.

The main hotel on the right, and 365 on the left:

The ice chapel in the main hotel:

The main hallway:

Some of the art rooms and suites:

And this is outside each of the art rooms:

And my room, by contrast:

I still loved it and will discuss my actual experience in a bit.

January 16, 2018, 09:02:26 AM
Re: Chasing the Aurora - Aaaron on a mission Those pics of the ice hotel are insane.
January 16, 2018, 11:10:12 AM
Re: Free Private Jets? Sign Me Up! A JetSmarting Summer by Something Fishy Flight 1

Route: Teterboro, NJ - Lebanon, NH (TEB-LEB)
Aircraft: Bombardier Challenger 300
Operator: XOJET
Flight type: JetDeal
Return: One-way car rental
Went with: Co-worker friend

My first flight was just a few days after getting my membership. A JetDeal to Lebanon, NH was posted, and I grabbed it right away. I had never been to New Hampshire, so that was part of the draw for me. A cheap one-way car rental was procured, and I roped in a friend for company ("Want to fly in a private jet? For free?" was enough to convince him in ten seconds flat ;D).

We met at Teterboro, where the private jet experience began right away. No shuttles, parking shenanigans, or taxis - we just drove up to the terminal as if we owned the place. A woman at the desk welcomed us warmly, asked for the tail number of our plane, and directed us towards the sitting area. No crowds, no lines, no overly intimate TSA patdowns - nothing. Just drive up, walk in, and that's that.

A few minutes later our pilot walks up to us to introduce himself, and - completely nonchalantly - tells us that "your jet is ready, but if you prefer, we could give it a few minutes A/C to get going before your board". If that statement didn't make me feel like a spoiled billionaire I don't know what will.

The pilot was back before long, and, ignoring our protestations, grabbed our bags and let us across the apron to... our very own freaking jet:

The only way to fly:

My friend discovering the cordless phone:

Climb out from TEB:


Snack bar:

My friend insisted on wearing something Lebanon-appropriate:

(Yes, yes, I know that's Moroccan ;D.)

Fancy bathroom, whose toilet seat doubles an an extra passenger seat:

Final approach was quite pretty, with nothing but dense forest all around. The airport itself was a tiny affair, and they happily let us hang around on the apron for some pictures:

We had reserved a car at Enterprise, but it was an off-airport location. No worries - the lady at the airport desk had a couple of Enterprise forms laying around, so we filled that in while she called Enterprise to deliver our car.

While waiting, we had a fascinating discussion with our pilots about the differences between flying for an airline vs. private. Unlike airlines, they don't bid on trips, nor have separate Captain and FO seniority lists. Instead, they have one list, so that more experienced pilots could move to the left seat if they wish. The biggest advantage of being a Captain is that you can choose the better of the two available schedules, and thus get most holidays off. They are also typically current for more than one aircraft and switch between them constantly. Our Captain flew both the Challenger and Citation X; he loved the sportiness of the X but prefered the Challenger due to its roomier cockpit.

After a bit they needed to get back to their aircraft, and our car had arrived, so we said our goodbyes and headed our different ways.

For the first time flying private, I could not have worked out better. Wonderful airport experience at both ends, a large and luxurious aircraft just for ourselves, and some great conversations. From the five JetSmarter aircraft I ended up flying, the Challenger remains my favorite.

Now that we were in New Hampshire, it made sense to do or see something local before heading for home. We weren't much interested in anything normal, so before we left I had pulled up Atlas Obscura's wonderful map tool to see if there's anything weird along our route. Right away I discovered the Main Street Museum, which seemed to be essentially crazy town.

And so it was... "This is the Place":

There was no one around when we walked in, so we went into the main museum space, calling out if anyone is there. Still nothing. I heard a dog bark and looked through a window onto a side porch, and spotted a man trying his best to put a shirt on while simultaneously shoving a half-empty bottle of scotch under a bench.

He finally managed to dress himself, and came through the door only slightly unsteadily. "Welcome to the Main Street Museum!"

This was the perfect introduction to the place, which was basically one long acid trip. The guy was the owner, curator, and today, our personal guide. He led us through the exhibits, and didn't stop speaking for one second. We never know when he was being serious, fibbing, or just crazy.

The place was packed to the rafters with all manner of who knows what. Some things were organized by type, and some just a big jumble of stuff. More than once he would stop at something, say "I have no idea what that is or how it got here", and move on.

The main space:

A real, live, taxidermized Jackalope:

"A sea monster that my friend pulled out of the Connecticut River. He might have been drunk when he did it":

Art made out of human hair, meant to be worn on the forehead:

"Bugs Eating Bugs":

"The Happy Family":

There's a theory:

Chinese tea brick:

Nightmare fuel:


A llama in a tiara, because of course:

Ah, yes. For when you want to whet your appetite:

I think this telephone is to be used if this thing tries to eat you or something:

No idea if this is an informational sign, or the exhibit itself:

Seems legit:


A jar in a jar, a mailman's uniform, and a preserved alien. Sounds like the opening to a bad joke:

"Tiny Shoes and More Tiny Shoes":

Spot the odd one out:

There it is - if you've always wanted to see John Denver's breath, you've come to the right place. Hand gathered in Aspen, CO in 1979:

No such thing as Gold or Silver donors here; in this place, it's Seraphim and Cherubim:


All in all, we had a great time and I honestly can't recommend the place enough if you're ever in the area. It's a truly unique and entertaining place. And best of all, it's free ;D.

So we headed south again and after a few hours figured it's a good time to stretch our legs, so somewhere in western Massachusetts we made a detour to see the Bridge of Flowers. It seemed to be the biggest attraction in the area, and I figured I may at least get some nice pictures.

It ended up being a complete waste of time, and not even particularly pretty. No need to go even five minutes out of your way for this:

A few hours later we were back at Teterboro, picked up one of the cars, dropped off the rental at the local Enterprise, and went back to the airport for the second car. Got home, had dinner, and went back to refreshing the JetSmarter app waiting for the next great flight to appear.

January 17, 2018, 12:25:30 AM
Re: The funny/strange/interesting/random pictures thread Invalid Tweet ID
January 22, 2018, 04:24:38 PM
Re: Rare Award Space Master Thread (No discussion, alerts only!) Someone needs to teach TPG how to limit searches to AA only.

If you search to cities in Europe other than London there's tons of availability in BA F
There's always plenty of BA space.

January 23, 2018, 12:31:53 PM
Re: Most cities to Auckland new Zealand $340 RT Great deal, but too long of a flight in economy  :)
January 23, 2018, 03:42:15 PM
Re: Colossal Chillul Hashem on Southwest Flight to Newark
But in this case it was obvious that there weren't enough seats available (based on story as described). So #2 makes no sense, but then again, many times people make no sense.
Maybe they were embarrassed to raise their hands at that point?
Or maybe they still hoped their would be enough for their kid if the crew asked others?

January 24, 2018, 04:47:25 PM
Re: What Award Itinerary Did You Just Book/Hold? Just finished the last booking, so the craziness is all locked down now:

SWF-DUB on Norwegian Y+: $169
- Day in Dublin -
DUB-CPH-OSL on SAS Y+: 15k UA + $37
- Overnight in Oslo -
OSL-TOS-LYR on SAS Y+: included in above
- 4 nights in Svalbard -
LYR-OSL-BRU-VIE-PRG on SAS Y+, Brussels Y, and Austrian Y: 15k UA + $68
- Shabbos in Prague -
PRG-VIE-LJU-TGD on Austrian Y and Adria Y/Y+: 15k UA + $55
- 2 nights in Croatia -
ZAG-FRA-EWR on Croatian fake J and Lufthansa F (B748): 85k LH + $351
- Sleep for a week -

January 31, 2018, 11:00:19 PM
Re: Dating in the jewish world while disabled
I'm an introvert by nature, and growing up with 5 brothers I had exactly zero social interaction with girls before shidduch dating.
Was awkward with the first few girls I dated, but eventually I found my footing.

Super annoying to fly across the country and be dumped after a single date, but c'est la vie.
that couldn't be the annoying part for you ;D

February 15, 2018, 12:38:54 PM
Re: The funny/strange/interesting/random pictures thread
February 18, 2018, 04:58:33 PM
Re: Where Are You Posting From Now? SWF

I think that the real magic tonight was checking in 70lb worth of overweight baggage and Norwegian not charging me a penny.

March 10, 2018, 09:00:20 PM
Re: YWN Toronto Airport Agent Takes Apart Jewish Traveler’s Tefillin What a complete waste of 2 minutes.

Nothing to see here.

March 11, 2018, 01:34:44 AM
Re: Where Are You Posting From Now? Bosnia (the other B&H)
March 19, 2018, 10:41:35 AM
Re: AJK's Trip/Route Planning Thread
We are talking about ROR.
And you edited your post to change ROR to RAR, so you know that already...

March 28, 2018, 02:05:35 PM