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30 May 2018

2018 Stanley Cup, Game 1

It never occurred to me that I would ever attend a Stanley Cup game, let alone our own Las Vegas team. And its very first year. Indeed the last hockey game I attended was 60 years ago watching the Seattle Americans headed by Guyle Fielder. 

 

It seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was, indeed. You could feel the electricity in the air and it was greatly enhanced by us having our 10 person extended family all together with great seats. 

 

For you trivia fans, the Seattle Metropolitans were the first U.S. based team to win the Stanley Cup. That was in 1917. 

 

Nobody in our group will ever forget this exciting evening. 

 








22 May 2018

Las Vegas, May 2018

 

I have not written a blog since coming home because JetSetWay is a travel blog and I am not traveling.
However, home, Las Vegas is a tourist destination and we have patronized some fabulous restaurants recently. 
It's always fun to have dinner with Jessica and her posse. Dinner was at Elia, clearly the best Greek restaurant in town and is extremely affordable.
 
Allyn always insists on deboning her own fish.
 
Michael took me out to see Mel Brooks at The Wynn for my birthday. That was a nice treat. But the real treat was dinner at Wing Lei. Suffice it to say it was the first Chinese restaurant in the United States to rate a Michelin Star. They even have chairs for the ladies' purses.
Michael then took Allyn and me out for Sunday brunch at Andiron in Summerlin. We go there often for dinner, but brunch was a new experience. It was an elegant affair. It seems that fried chicken waffles are a big deal these days.
We love avocado toast.
For them to call this breakfast treat a grilled cheese sandwich is for sure downplaying it.
Elisha and Jack Effel joined us at the elegant Michael's Gourmet Room located at South Point Casino. The food, service, and ambiance (as well as prices) are out of this world.
Happy and I had a great lunch at EATT Gourmet Bistro on West Sahara. In their own words "EATT brings a Michelin Star Chef touch to healthy food to offer delicious and beautiful recipes in a relaxing atmosphere."
Finally the entire family had yet another great dinner at Ohlala French Bistro in the Northwest. I'm generally not a great fan of French food, but this food tasted excellent. However, I must say that I think their brie burger may be the best thing on the menu.
 








02 Apr 2018

Shanghai, China 2018

Sadly our 2018 winter trip comes to an end with its final blog being written on the plane back to Los Angeles.

Shanghai history, particularly Shanghai Jewish history is fascinating. My 140 word synopsis: 

1842 – Britain wins the First Opium War and forces China to import its opium (from British India). Because it lost Shanghai was then opened to British free trade and was given Hong Kong for 150 years.

1845 - Britain established its “concession” where they were not subject to Chinese law. The US and others followed shortly.

Mid 1800s - Sephardic Jews from Bagdad and Bombay started immigrating  because of commerce opportunities.

1920s - Poor Russian Jews came in the 1920s to escape the pogroms.

1933 -1941 Shanghai was unconditionally open to visa-less European Jews (primarily German and Austria).

1941 - The foreign concessions were occupied by Japan and Jews ghettoized in terrible conditions (as a favor to the Nazis)

1945 – Japan surrenders. China takes over and Jews left in droves to Israel, USA, Australia, and Hong Kong to escape Communism

Check out these photos taken just 26 years apart; the first taken in 1987. Shanghai was the fastest growing city in the world at the turn of the century and is now has about 25 million people projected to be 50 million by 2050.  This is essentially the view from our room across the Huanpu River looking at the financial center. (I did not take these photos).

 

Our last night started with a cocktail at Pop Bar, having basically the same view as above and then a wonderful Cantonese dinner two floors down at at Canton Table. We were kindly attended to by the General Manager himself, Alan Chan, who was there eating with friends. 

I had never seen two sets of chopsticks at one place setting. I learned that the light ones are used as serving utensils for common plates and the black was for us eating individually. That way we don't dunk our eating chopsticks into the commn food.

A final nightcap was enjoyed at the jazz bar in the Waldorf Astoria.

Jessica was absolutely giddy with her first business class flight and was sorry it ended after only 15 hours. Allyn slept; I wrote.

It was a great trip. We already miss our cruise friends – old and new, and loved having so much time with Jessica. Believe it or not, the impetus to bring Jessica out for the final two weeks was to crystalize details of a business that the three of us have been working on. More on that later.

 

 

 

 

 









30 Mar 2018

Bangkok, Thailand 2018

 

Even though our wonderful 2018 winter cruise has ended, the fun goes on. We popped over to Bangkok for two exciting days. It is sensory overload at its best.

We stayed in the fabulous Mandarin Oriental which is the flagship hotel of the chain. It is also the first hotel built in Thailand (1876) and never have I had such amazing service.

Why go out to breakfast when I can just view the Chao Phraya River from the suite.

 

Lunch was on the street allowing us to take it all in before having three great massages.

 

We ate at the hotel's deluxe Thai restaurant right on the water, a five minute shuttle crossing to the other side. The beautiful setting, evening, and food was only topped by the company.

 

Speaking of beautiful, the Skybar, a block away, is the highest in Thailand (with matching prices).

 

We had heard of a famous jazz bar, The Bamboo Bar, and it ended up being in our hotel. We had nightcaps there both evenings. Very relaxing.

 

We love taking a leisurely long tail boat ride to view the river and local khlongs (canals).

The number of wats (Buddhist Temples) in Thailand is staggering and they range from simple to staggeringly ornate. In fact there are about 40,000 of them with 30,000 actually being used. They are the center of almost all family activity in Thailand.

I was interested to learn that every young Thai Buddhist who reaches age of 20 must go to Temple to become a monk for at least 15 days before they are allowed to get married. Some stay much longer.

What Pho is quite famous for its huge reclining Buddha.

Not all is beautiful though. However, many do so much when they have so little to work with.

 

 









23 Mar 2018

Da Nang to Hoi An Bike Ride 2018

 

Guest blog by Allyn Shulman - One of the great days of my life was spent with my daughter Jess bike riding from Da Nang to the beautiful quaint UNESCO designated city of Hoi An. It is such a treat being able to spend significant travel time unemcumbered with an adult child.

We began our excitement leaving the pier in Hon Gai by motor coach  which drove us to Da Nang.  On the way, our expert guide explained honestly about the Vietnamese regime and about how a revolution will come.  Young people are now more educated and understand that a one -party government can never work.  Corruption is rampant and the new generation cannot accept it.  Change WILL come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We reached Da Nang, got bikes and helmets and 22 of us began our 17 mile journey to Hoi An. The country side was lush with rice fields, water buffalo and even a cow blocking our path!!  Thanks to our sweet, very  athletic friend, Howard Slechinger, he biked way past us and then stopped and took pictures of us on our way.

 

 

We passed Vegetable Village were beautiful vegetation grew in every garden.  Then we stopped at a chilling site.  Their cemetery was full with many interesting tombstones, none the same, but among them was an area  designated for all the little tiny babies who clung to life but died before their lives really began. 

 

 

After 17 miles, we were starving and stopped for a delicious Vietnamese meal, before entering the magical city of Hoi An, with it’s signature colorful lanterns.  In the 15th Century Hoi An was the country’s largest, most important trading center where merchant ships from the world over would come to buy silk, pottery, tea and other goods.  The moss covered walls are reminiscent of days gone by.  The shops are filled to the brim with clothes, jewelry, coffees, teas and anything else you may want.

We were hesitant to get coffee as their famous Kopi Luwak coffee is made from cat feces.  Its not really as bad as it sounds, although sadly, at the time, I opted not to try it.  There is a tree that produces coffee cherries which the Asian palm civet cat eats but they cannot digest the seeds so they defecate and the farmers rush to pick up the feces, which are cleaned, processed and made into famous coffee.  As a matter of fact Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world after Brazil.